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After failing to reach the section semifinals for the first time in six seasons last year, La Costa Canyon is looking to return to form in 2011. The Mavericks believe they are talented enough to compete for the Division II title.

“We expect to win every game and have a lot better season than last year; we have a good chance of doing that,” said LCC senior lineman Erik Magnuson.

No member of the La Costa Canyon team gained more experience last season than head coach Sean Sovacool, who made his debut as a varsity coach in 2010. Sovacool said last season was a big learning experience.

“It’s all the extracurricular stuff that I have to do – no one can really prepare you for that,” Sovacool said. “You’re not just the football coach anymore and you have to wear a lot of hats. You can’t just wear a whistle.”

On the field, Sovacool said the biggest difference so far during camp has been how quickly plays have been installed. He said the learning curve at all three levels of the Mavericks’ program has drastically shortened this year.

“We’ve got so much more in than we did this time last year,” Sovacool said. “Our installation is now what it was at the end of the year.”

As La Costa Canyon players have become more comfortable with Sovacool’s methods, team chemistry has also improved. Magnuson said that gives the team a more positive feel headed into the season.

“He tried to bring that in last year, but he came in kind of late, kids didn’t really buy into it right away and we kind of had bad team chemistry,” Magnuson said. “Everybody is starting to get the hang of it and we’re looking good.”

Junior Jake Sesti begins the season as La Costa Canyon’s starting quarterback. Sesti saw limited action as a sophomore on varsity last season.

“He had a couple varsity snaps last year, so he is pretty green to it,” Sovacool said. “But he has done well and he’s got some weapons.”

The Mavericks’ offensive weapons include senior running back Isaac Maquet and senior receivers C.J. Dimry and Frankie Wims. Sovacool said offensive depth at the skill positions is one of La Costa Canyon’s strengths this season.

“We don’t put a lot of emphasis on who has the ball, it’s moving the ball,” Sovacool said. “When you have so many talented guys, they’re going to be happy if the ball moves.”

Up front, Magnuson anchors La Costa Canyon on offense and defense. The six-foot-seven-inch, 280 lb. three-year varsity starter who has committed to Michigan thinks this is the most talented Mavericks team he has played on.

“There’s not one position where we’re lacking in skill or talent or depth,” Magnuson said. “I’ve been on teams with great players and big name players, but this year we have good talent at every position.”

On defense that talent includes linebackers Jake Jackson (Sr.) and Shayne Davern (Jr.), defensive linemen Scott Quessenberry (Jr.) and Evan Denworth (Sr.) and safety Mike Arkans (Sr.). Dimry and Wims also star in the defensive backfield.

“We’ve got some boys that can play,” Sovacool said.

La Costa Canyon opens the season at home against Huntington Beach Marina on Friday. The Mavericks host Poway on Sept. 9 and travel out of section to play San Clemente and Redlands before wrapping up their preseason slate at home against Fallbrook on Sept. 30.

“These guys have high expectations, but it’s extremely justified,” Sovacool said. “We just have to stay healthy and stay together.”

In a loaded Division II that includes Oceanside, Helix, Torrey Pines, Mission Hills and Steele Canyon, LCC believes they can contend this season. The Mavericks’ goal is to capture a section crown.

“I think we’re the best team in San Diego and the only team that can beat us is us,” Magnuson said.

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