The Nixon-Smiley High School football comes out of the gate with a home opener against the Blooming Bobcats at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Aug. 28.
The Bobcats dropped to 2A-1 for this season after a 3A-2 campaign in which they went 2-8 overall, and missed the playoff cut.
The Mustangs (4-7) made the playoffs last year. The senior-laden team is pushing for a return to the postseason with nine returning starters on each side of the ball, including quarterback Xavier Arias, full back Jesse Riojas, receivers Dario Jantes and Mario Ponce, free safety Bradyn Martinez, and offensive/defensive linemen Josiah Montoya, Jeremy Van Gundy, Zacary Perez, and Austin McMain.
The Bobcats return seven lettermen and have five starters back on offense and six on defense.
Quarterback Isaiah Solis threw for 897 yards and 11 touchdowns last season. Linebacker John Garcia recorded 74 tackles last season, and also rushed for 330 yards.