Football: No. 9 Carson

Talking about last season's shortcomings opens up healed wounds, so Carson coach Elijah Asante would rather keep those thoughts in the past. The Colts, Asante says, will carry nothing over from last year's 45-7 drubbing at the hands of Crenshaw in the City Section Division 1 title game at the Memorial Coliseum. It's just a terrible memory now, one that he doesn't even want to use as motivation.

"It doesn't give us any extra anything," Asante says. "It was a game we lost. Crenshaw out-coached us and outplayed us. But that was last year."

With that being said, this year is this year and these Colts aren't shying away from anyone, setting up inter-sectional duels against Mater Dei, Long Beach Poly, Santa Margarita and Mission Viejo to open up the season. "People are giving the teams we'll play more credit than they're giving us," Asante says. "People aren't looking at Carson like it's a tough game for [other teams]."

Here is a closer look at the Colts:

Team: Carson

Coach: Elijah Asante, second season.

2010 Record: 11-3, lost in the CIF City Section Division I championship game.

Returning starters: 12 total. Six on offense, six on defense.

Key players on offense: WR Darreus Rodgers (USC commit), QB Kevin McMahon, RB Kendell Sparks, RB Kameron Walker

Key players on defense: DB Jerrod Moton, DB Jordan Lasley, DL Pu'e Togia

Difference maker: Rogers caught 45 passes for 1,347 yards (29.9 average) and eight touchdowns last season, earning first-team All-City honors as a junior. And that came on a team that generally ran more than it threw. He's the leading receiver among all returning players in Los Angeles.

Newcomers: QB Kevin McMahon (transfer from South Torrance)

Not to be missed: vs. Mater Dei, Friday, Sept. 2. Arguably the area's most intriguing opener, Carson has a chance to build momentum heading into its next three doozies. Perhaps Asante put it best: "Mater Dei is not trying to lose this game. They're whole reputation is at stake. They can't lose to Carson three years in a row. They can't ... under any circumstances."

Coach’s comment: "We set up a really tough schedule and we expect to win every single one of those games. That's our expectation."

Final analysis: Sure, Carson wants to win its third consecutive Marine League championship. That's always the first goal -- win league and get into the postseason. But make no mistake about the Colts' aspirations: anything short of a City Section Division 1 title would be classified as disappointing. Things have set up nicely for Asante's offense, with the addition of McMahon, who he has pegged as "The Cannon." The Colts hope that a multidimensional attack, coupled with some defensive improvement, has them leaving the Memorial Coliseum with hardware at season's end.

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