“We want to have a new look to the offense, throw more, get more offense in,” Smolin said. “Last year we had a lot of new players. This year, we have more experience.” The increase in participation numbers is a positive for the program. “Last season we had 20 players on the varsity,” Smolin said. “This year we have 40. We also have a lot of incoming talent and enough players to add a freshman team to our program.” Both quarterbacks, Mike Toledo — a 5-foot-10, 155-pound senior –and Pedro Olivares — a 5-10, 210-pound sophomore — are back. Toledo was the starter last season. Olivares started at linebacker as a freshman. Olivares, who figures to be the early starter this year, took about 25 percent of the snaps under center a year ago. Smolin says he is an “excellent passer who reads defenses well, has good footwork and shows a lot of poise.” Smolin says Toledo “is more of a go-getter, but a bit more unorthodox. He’ll try to make something happen, a Michael Vick-type. A good athlete who will try to do anything to get the job done.” Other key returners among the 15 lettermen include team MVP Tommy Aldama (senior, WR/DB, 6-0, 170), Steve Palencia (senior, O/DL, 6-0, 230), Nathan Juarez (senior, FB/LB, 5-10, 200), David Nam (senior, C/DL, 5-10, 240), Willie Gonzalez (junior, MLB, 5-10, 190), Ralph Weissenberger (sophomore, TE, 6-1, 200, started at WR last year), Gus Leon (senior, LB, 5-8, 170), Victor Munoz (junior, O/DL, 5-8, 185) and Joe Aguilos (senior, LB/TB), 5-10, 180). Top newcomers cited by Smolin include Kevin Day (junior, RB, 6-0, 195, a transfer from Mayfair), Deonta Woodard (sophomore, DL, 5-9, 230, a transfer from Long Beach Jordan), Jeffrey Taylor (freshman, DB, 5-11, 155), Harold Cleitt (sophomore, DL, 6-0, 220, transfer from Eisenhower), Andre Flores (junior, DB, 6-0, 180, transfer from El Rancho), Nick Gonzales (senior, WR, 6-0, 140, a track athlete in his first year of football), and Michael Medina (junior, OLB, 5-8, 165, transfer from Bishop Amat). — Roger Murray can be reached at (562) 698-0955, Ext. 3046, or by e-mail at [email protected] 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! After back-to-back unbeaten league championship seasons in 2002-03, Cantwell finished second last season with a 3-1 league record. The Cardinals were 3-8 overall. It was Smolin’s first season at the helm. He was a late hire, making his job more difficult. “This year we’ve had more time to prepare,” Smolin said. “We’ve had a competitive, intense off-season. All the players who were not in baseball or on the track team were involved in a strength program. “We don’t have to install new stuff this year. We’re just adding to it and fine tuning. A big difference this year is that we have size, speed and an intensity we lacked last year.” Cantwell also has a new offensive coordinator, Kim Taylor, who is beefing up the passing game. MONTEBELLO — The initial reaction might be to pound his chest and shout, Yeah!,’ but Cantwell Sacred Heart football coach Pete Smolin chooses to remain cautious when evaluating the Cardinals’ prospects. “We’ve got a lot of young people, and you never know …” Smolin said. Cantwell also has seven returning All-Santa Fe League players, including four of five starters on the line and five transfers from strong programs. And for good measure, the Cardinals are coming off a successful summer of workouts.