Huntington Beach High quarterback Kai Ross throws a pass during practice on Monday. (SCOTT SMELTZER, HB Independent / August 21, 2012)

A year ago, the Huntington Beach High football program was about to embark on one of its more successful campaigns in history. It was a season that included a strong run toward the Sunset League title, which ended in a second-place finish, and a win in the CIF Southern Section Pac-5 Division playoffs.

This fall, the Oilers are aiming for more.

Huntington ventures into the 2012 season missing several potent playmakers off a 9-3 team, one that came within a game of capturing a league title and defeated Loyola in postseason play. Eric Lo begins his sixth year as head coach with a returning cast that includes three starters on both sides of the ball.

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The Team

League: Sunset

CIF Division: Southwest

Head coach: Eric Lo (sixth year; 32-23)

Coaching Staff: Brett Brown, Jeff Anger, Diego Segura, Matt White, Greg Olquin, Kaz Bilinski, Drew Sarachman, Jim Houston, Justin Howe, Dean Eddy, John Thoma, Matt Zeller, Alex Alagata.

2011 record: 9-3

2011 league finish: Second (4-1)

2011 CIF results: Reached second round of Pac-5 playoffs

Returning starters: 3 offense/3 defense

Type of offense: Spread

Type of defense: 3-3-5

Players returning with honors: Jeff Wiederkehr (MLB, second team all-league, Sr.); Sebastian DeMartini (T, second team all-league, Sr.); John Vis (DE, second team all-league, Sr.); Beau Blackwell (T, second team all-league, Sr.).

Players to watch: Kai Ross (QB/CB, Jr.); Lee Durant (RB, Jr.); Wyatt Marlow (WR, Sr.); Maurice Barber (WR, Jr.); Matt Tavakoli (LB, Jr.); Jacob Smith (LB, Jr.); Trevor Jackson (WR/CB, Sr.).

Coach's outlook: "Looking forward to a great year," Lo said. "We are young, but we have some good football players. I'm very excited about seeing how we compete."

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The Schedule