Football: No. 20 Chaminade

Expectations are seemingly at an all-time high at West Hills Chaminade. Rightfully so, considering the Eagles return several key players on offense from a season ago. Also worth mentioning is they have a handful of individuals coming back on defense.

For the San Fernando Valley school to live up to the hype, Terrell Newby must prove the breakout effort in his varsity debut was no fluke. Duplicating the nearly 1,500 yards of total offense he amassed as a wide-eyed sophomore running back appears to be attainable goal for the 5-foot-9, 175-plus pound junior.

An experienced line up front figures to help Newby excel once again, and also, put Logan Scott in a position to succeed. The junior quarterback has a pair of reliable targets in Brenden McKinney and Kevin Lewallyn. Bottom line: Chaminade is a balanced unit, particularly on offense, a fact which bodes well for the future.

Here is a closer look at the Eagles:

Team: West Hills Chaminade

Coach: Ed Croson, third year.

2010 Record: 11-2, lost in the CIF Southern Section Western Division semifinals.

Returning starters: 16 total. Ten on offense. Six on offense.

Key players on offense: RB Terrell Newby, RB Devon Lee, QB Logan Scott, WR Brenden McKinney, WR Kevin Lewallyn, OL Taylor Hindy, OL Andrew Chin, OL Eli Sirbian, OL PJ Herrera.

Key players on defense: S Jacob Bowman , LB Aderemi Adeyemo, DL Howard Lynch-Balani.

Difference maker: Newby might have been a newbie last year, no pun intended. Well, maybe a little. This season, however, he will be a marked man after rushing for 1,372 yards and 18 touchdowns. Rest assured, opposing defenses will be a keeping a close eye on him. The same thing can be said about Division I college coaches and scouts, alike. Newby has already received varied levels of recruiting interest. Another productive season could do wonders for his aspirations of reaching the next level.

Newcomers: RB Donovan Lee, LB Ricky Gamboa, DL Sam Hardy, a transfer from Woodland Hills Taft.

Not to be missed: vs. Venice, Friday Sept. 9. Nonleague games don't get much bigger than this one, the season opener against the Gondoliers, traditionally a formidable opponent in the Los Angeles City Section. Moreover, the Eagles plan to unveil their new surroundings at home. Synthetic blue turf, ala Boise State of college football fame, was installed during the summer. The anticipation for on-the-field action has been building ever since, of course. Festivities begin at 6:30 p.m. and kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. Get there early, the place figures to be packed with fans.

Coach’s comment: “With Newby, and the rest of our experienced kids, we think we're capable of doing some good things. The goal is to win our last game, and by that we mean, winning in the playoffs. We want to go all the way and are working hard to make that happen. You can't become a champion by talking about it. You can't just turn on the switch. You have to live it everyday.''

Final analysis: The schedule is brutal for Chaminade, about as competitive as any team in the Southland. Newby & Co. will be tested early and often. If they can weather the proverbial storm during the nonleague portion of things, this group could be poised to make some noise in the Western Division where traditional power Gardena Serra, No. 25 in the ESPNLosAngeles.com rankings, looms large. A run during postseason play beyond that appears to be a distinct possibility for the Eagles.

Sean Ceglinsky covers preps for ESPNLosAngeles.com. Follow him on Twitter.