Expectations are high in Compton, given the amount of experience Dominguez has coming back. The team returns both lines in full and eight starters from a defense that, on average, gave up less than 12 points per game last season.
Headlining that defense are seniors Brandon Beaver and Alphonso Marsh, arguably the best cornerback duo in the state. Beaver is the 20th-ranked corner nationally, according to ESPNU recruiting. Marsh isn't far behind at No. 34. Opponents will find it hard to throw the ball against the Dons.
"They're two lock-down corners," coach Keith Donerson said. "We've had a lot of corners that have gone on to the Pac-10 and played Division I. Brandon and Alphonso fall right into the same category. Those guys can shut down the outside receivers and that allows you to commit eight or nine guys to stopping the run."
Here is a closer look at the Dons:
Coach: Keith Donerson, 23rd season.
2010 Record: 10-2, lost in second round of CIF Southern Section Western Division playoffs.
Returning starters: 15 total. Seven on offense, eight on defense.
Key players on offense: OL Lacy Westbrook, OL Dejon Allen (Arizona State commit), RB Daveyon Monette
Key players on defense: CB Brandon Beaver, CB Alphonso Marsh, SS Lavell Sanders, DE Damion Turpin
Difference maker: Replacing tailback Will Gregory (Hawaii) should be facilitated by the return of linemen Westbrook and Allen, and Donerson expects Monette to shoulder a heavier load this year. In a game which Gregory missed last season because of injury, Monette rushed for 153 yards and two scores in 17 carries.
Newcomers: RB Michael Garrison (transfer from Morningside), FS Kalan Montgomery (transfer from Lakewood), RB Eric Black (up from junior varsity)
Not to be missed: vs. Gahr, Friday, Oct. 28. The Dons captured the San Gabriel Valley League title last year for the first time since 2007. Gahr, meanwhile, figures to be the biggest threat to a Dominguez repeat.
Coach’s comment: "We're expecting to win a CIF [Western Division] championship just like we expected to last year. The expectation hasn't changed."
Final analysis: Dominguez only lost one regular season game last season -- to Bishop Amat by a score of 21-15. The senior-led Dons should build off of that and, with nearby powerhouse Gardena Serra in somewhat of a rebuilding year, are a favorite in the race for the Western Division crown. If the old adage about defense leading to championships is true, then great things are on the horizon for this talented bunch.
Blair Angulo covers ESPNLosAngeles.com. Follow him on Twitter.