La Salle High is doing everything it can to bounce back from a 0-10 season a year ago.
Fourth-year head coach Antoine Peterson has brought a new group of assistant coaches that have stellar resumes.
Joining the Lancers this season will be two-time Super Bowl champion and four-time Pro Bowl selection Dwight Hicks, who played at the University of Michigan and for the San Francisco 49ers. He will coach the secondary.
The new running backs coach is former USC tailback Shawn Walters, who most recently coached at Pasadena Poly and Maranatha High.
Elic Mahone, who played at USC and Muir High, has been brought in to coach the defensive linemen.
Peterson relieved himself of the defensive coordinator duties and has hired Marcus Greene, Muir’s defensive coordinator the past six seasons, to handle that role.
Anthony Harris, , will be the offensive coordinator.
The Lancers lost defensive end Kishon Sanders, , to graduation. Sanders missed seven games due to injury last season.
“We had eight seniors, but we had to start nine sophomores,” Peterson said of last season. “We were a young team and not very deep up front. We didn’t score enough points. The defense was on the field a lot. We made young mistakes with a young team. We’re seasoned now. We’ve got some experience. We have 19 guys coming back and there is a lot of excitement around here.”
Part of Peterson’s excitement comes from the advancement of his junior varsity players.
“They won back-to-back league championships,” Peterson said. “Fifteen of those guys are coming up and they know how to win.”
Another reason for excitement came from success at a recent passing league tournament at San Diego State University.
“We actually won the championship in our bracket,” Peterson said. “We came back a different team. It was a great experience. We had a chance to bond. It was a better team coming back than going down.”
The Lancers are still young and expect to rely on many juniors to play key roles.
Junior running back Israel Lacy is slated to be the main ball carrier.
At linebacker there is junior Bobby LaSalle, whose name makes him a perfect fit for the school.
Senior Josh Hall, who will be a receiver and defensive back, is a college prospect according to Peterson.
Senior Michael Novell and junior Austin Wallace figure to battle for playing time at quarterback.
Peterson said his team is anxious to get the season started.
“We were ready to go in December,” he said. “We made sure we changed the mindset of the players. That’s where games are won and lost. Once the mentality started to change, it became contagious. The lower division guys coming up already know how to win. They’re coming up with a whole different mindset. Those nine sophomores who moved up last year, they went through the fire. These guys are (now) seasoned.”