Really, St. John Bosco's 2010 season might not have been as bad as it looked on paper. The mediocre 5-5 record didn't tell the whole story and neither did the Braves' failure to make the postseason. Cracking the Trinity League top three is no easy task, after all.
Still, general consensus was that the Braves were really good but, maybe, just not good enough. They were athletic and explosive but, perhaps, unable to get over the proverbial hump due to unripened talent. Those same excuses won't do in 2011 because Bosco is expected to be even better, slightly more athletic and ... ready.
Many of the same faces -- including must-see receiver Bryce Treggs -- return this fall. Mix in a handful of impact transfers and you've got what looks to be a recipe for redemption.
Here is a closer look at the Braves:
Team: St. John Bosco.
Coach: Jason Negro, second season.
2010 Record: 5-5, did not make playoffs.
Returning starters: 11 total. Six on offense, five on defense.
Key players on offense: WR Bryce Treggs (California commit), WR Justin Johnson, OL Beau Boyster (Arizona commit), QB Rene Medina
Key players on defense: DB Dalis Bruce, DB Royce Moore, DB Shane Bauman
Difference maker: Treggs, the nation's No. 21-ranked receiver according to ESPNU, might be the most explosive player in the area. He's shifty and elusive, and has the capacity to line up in the slot or on the outside. The Cal commit made 56 receptions for 1,010 yards and 12 touchdowns to go along with 37 tackles and four interceptions last season.
Newcomers: DB Dalis Bruce (transfer from Danville Monte Vista), RB DaVonte Young (transfer from Irvine and Tustin)
Not to be missed: vs. Servite, Friday, Oct. 28. The Braves played Servite tough last season at Cerritos College, at one point holding a lead before losing to the eventual state runner-up by eight. Mighty Friars beware: a change of scenery might be exactly what Bosco needs to pull off the upset.
Final analysis: With a number of quality players returning, it'd be completely shocking if St. John Bosco didn't at least crack the Trinity League top three this fall. Sure, the Braves were an ugly 1-4 in one of the country's most difficult leagues last year, but, in the eternal optimist's view, their largest margin of defeat was 11 points (to Mater Dei). If Medina shows even slight improvement at quarterback, and Negro gets similar production from Treggs and Co., it could be a special season in Bellflower.
Blair Angulo covers preps for ESPNLosAngeles.com. Follow him on Twitter.