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Football: Bishop Amat seeks role players

Bishop Amat coach Steve Hagerty, right, will have plenty of experienced players at his disposal this season, including quarterback Rio Ruiz. Alex Gallardo for ESPNLA.com

LA PUENTE -- With seven returning starters on each side of the ball, Bishop Amat is one of the most experienced teams in the Southland. In other words, there shouldn't be many surprises when the Lancers take the field Friday night against Garfield. By now, there's plenty of film floating around for Amat's opponents to dissect.

So, when it comes to filling the vacancies on the roster, coach Steve Hagerty is not looking for a dramatic game changer. Or, maybe, he's keeping hush on potential sleepers.

"I hope some kids are going to make contributions, but we don't quite know," said Hagerty, who enters his fourth season at the helm. "We have a lot of healthy competition going on right now and that's a good thing for us because high school kids, when they get complacent, they feel like things are theirs. We have a good culture here of making sure that kids earn theirs. Nothing is handed out."

Last season, quarterback Rio Ruiz threw for 2,000 yards and tailback Jalen Moore ran for 1,634 and 23 touchdowns. Zachary Shay accumulated 907 yards of total offense in five games before suffering a season-ending ankle injury. Bishop Amat's junior varsity team went 7-3.

"I know a lot about the kids that played on JV last year and we're hoping that they'll make a splash, but we're pretty much an experience-oriented team," Hagerty said. "The experienced players are going to be the playmakers and the ones that carry us through the year."

The Lancers went 9-0 to start the 2010 season but lost to Alemany in the Serra League title game and then to Tesoro in the first round of the Pac-5 Division playoffs. Amat is No. 7 in ESPNLA.com's preseason rankings.

Blair Angulo covers preps for ESPNLosAngeles.com. Follow him on Twitter.