COACH: David Lawson, 2nd year
LAST SEASON: 1-8 overall; sixth place in Foothill League, --------.
THE PLAYERS TO WATCH: Alhambra is loaded with seniors, and Lawson is counting on their experience to lift the team. Bryan Camacho, who was a second-team all-league receiver last season, has been moved to quarterback. Split end Al Flores will be Camacho’s main target. If Flores gets too much attention from the defense, tight end Tom Teichman will become the primary receiver for Alhambra. Mike Duran, Scott Morze and Chris Aparicio are the running backs and offer the Moors a triple threat out of the I-slot offense. Aparicio was a second-team all-league selection last season. The defense’s strength is its linebacking corps, which includes Jerry DiMaggio, Robert De La Torre, Cary Inouye and Morze. The defensive front is led by returning end Martin Tolley. He will lead the rush as well as the line, which is made up of three first-year varsity seniors: George Aldrete, Steve Jones and Teichman. The secondary is made up of one returnee, Gil Ruedaflores, and juniors Jason Perales and Andres Cavazos.
OUTLOOK: “We have some good people at the skill positions,” Lawson said. “We have got to find out if our guys are going to block.” Look for the Moors to improve this season under Lawson, who played high school football at El Rancho High in the late 60s. “The Ranch” was then a nationally ranked football power. Opposing coaches give the Moors a fair chance to contend this season.
COACH: Dave Carson, 3rd year
LAST SEASON: 7-4 overall; second place in Foothill League, x-----x.
THE PLAYERS TO WATCH: The Bulldogs lost 26 players from last year’s team, yet were rated ninth in the 34-school Coastal Conference in a preseason poll of Southern Section coaches. The reason: running back Frank Valdivia (5-10, 160 pounds), who was an all-league selection last year as a junior. The Bulldog offense is designed to get the ball to Valdivia as often as possible. Quarterback Sal Velasco (5-10, 160) will run an offense that in the past few years has emphasized the pass. If that becomes the trend again this season, Velasco will be looking for a trio of receivers that includes Robert Jarrin (5-10, 170), Brandon Beckner (6-0, 190) and Ted Fukumoto (5-9, 160). Early in the season, Carson expects the defense to be the team’s strong point. Linebackers Carlos Quinteros (5-10, 170), Mike Serrao (5-11, 170) and Chris Silva (5-10, 175) are standouts. The defensive line is made up of Orlando Mena (5-10, 175), Keith Pusl (6-0, 200), Jim Russell (5-11, 180) and Beckner.
OUTLOOK: The Bulldogs open their season against Claremont, the top-ranked team in the Eastern Conference, then play Crespi. “We traditionally start a little slow and that may happen again this season given our early schedule,” Carson said. “But, we also traditionally finish strong and when it comes to league competition.” Opposing coaches expect Burbank to contend with Hart for the league championship.
COACH: George Rosales, 6th year
LAST SEASON: 4-5-1 overall; fourth place in Foothill League, 4-1
THE PLAYERS TO WATCH: Burroughs missed the playoffs by one game last season, and Rosales is counting on a combination of experience and youth to get his team back into postseason competition. Guy Fashano (6-2, 230) and Jeff Smith (5-11, 200) are returning all-league linemen. Fashano will play tackle on both offense and defense. Smith will play guard and inside linebacker. The offense will be led by quarterbacks Finnbarr Geary (5-11, 160) or Jeff Barrett (6-1, 175). Burroughs runs the majority of its plays out of the I-formation, with tailback Terrapat Karchai (5-8, 160) and fullback Andy Iacenda (6-0, 220) doing most of the ball carrying. The Indians’ defense could prove to be the heart of the team. Along with Fashano and Smith, Rosales expects good things from linebacker Josh Castillo (5-9, 185) and defensive ends Pancho Delgado (5-10, 165) and Mike Herron (6-2, 200). The secondary is anchored by Bob Bowne (6-0, 180) and Frank Marsola (5-10, 150), both of whom are beginning their third season with the varsity. Asuncion Sanchez (5-8, 150) and Todd Pam (5-10, 165) are the cornerbacks.
OUTLOOK: “We’ll have a better-than-average team,” Rosales said. “You never know what can happen when you have a young team. We could turn into a very good football team.” Most of the league coaches have echoed Rosales’ appraisal of his team, picking the Indians to finish in the middle of the standings.
COACH: Rick Scott, 2nd year
LAST SEASON: 8-2-1 overall; first place in Foothill League, 5-0
THE PLAYERS TO WATCH: The Indians, who return 16 lettermen and seven starters from last season’s league championship team, are hoping to recapture the form that drove them to the Coastal Conference championship in 1983. Two returning all-league selections, Cedric Ingram and Charlie Drake, will lead the Indians. Drake (6-2, 230 pounds), a third-year varsity offensive tackle, was listed in Street & Smith’s Official 1985 College Football Yearbook as a “senior to watch.” Ingram, who played defensive back last season, will also start at wide receiver. Quarterback Jim Bonds replaces Brent Spurlin, who transferred to Granada Hills. Last season, Bonds passed for 1,695 yards and 20 touchdowns in leading the sophomore team to an undefeated season. Brian Baie, a transfer from Bella Vista High in Sacramento, will start for the Indians at fullback. John Libby, a transfer from Alemany, will start at tight end and joins a strong linebacker corps that includes Jack McKeon, Mike Holden and Tim McLean. Other players who should have an impact on the Indians success this season: defensive back Steve Sandusky, center David LaMarre, guard Greg Felan and kicker Jay Spake.
OUTLOOK: “The key to our success will be how well and how fast our junior class comes along,” Scott said. “We have a lot of quality players. Hopefully, by the time league starts, we’ll be ready to roll.” Scott won’t have too much time to wait for his players to mature. The Indians, ranked first in the Coastal Conference, open their season against Canyon, the top-ranked team in the Northwestern Conference.
COACH: Terry Cox, 1st year
LAST SEASON: 6-5 overall. Third place in Foothill League, x------x.
THE PLAYERS TO WATCH: Cox, who coached last season at Needles High, takes over a senior-dominated team that could go a long way if its front-line players stay healthy. San Gabriel’s strength is in its offensive line, which includes two returning all-league guards and linebackers: Harold Sanin (5-10, 175) and Jamie Peters (6-0, 200). The best of the bunch, however, may be tackle/linebacker Jim Hasboun (6-1, 200), who gives the Matadors added quickness on offense and combines with Sanin and Peters to form an impressive trio on defense. Quarterback Matt Lujan (6-0, 235) will direct a multiple-threat attack out of the Delaware wing-T. Mark Coronado (5-11, 185) and Roman Apodaca (5-11, 165) are the wide receivers and John Perry is the tight end. Tailback Mike Lucero (5-6, 175) and fullback Paul Guttierez (5-8, 185) give the Matadors a backfield that can run for long gains and catch the ball in a crowd. The defensive line consists of four experienced seniors: Joe Avila (6-0, 180), Mike Bono (6-0, 186), Don McLaren (5-7, 190) and Albert Ledezma (5-11, 235).
OUTLOOK: “We have a lot of talent, but we lack depth,” Cox said. “We have a lot of seniors who must be able to take a beating, both mentally and physically. Our kids are used to winning, but we want to take it a step further. We could be tough.”
COACH: Ken Davis, 14th year
LAST SEASON: 3-7 overall. Fifth place in Foothill League, 1-4
THE PLAYERS TO WATCH: Last season, the Spartans missed the playoffs for the first time in 10 years. Davis is hoping the team can recapture the spirit that helped it win the Foothill League title in 1982 and a share of the title in 1983. Davis has a knack for turning undersized teams into winners, and this season should be no different. The offensive line will feature tackle Robert Rodriguez (6-2, 230) playing alongside guard Varden Amloyan (5-5, 165). Quarterback Eric Rubalcava (5-8, 160 pounds) will lead an offense that features fullback Miguel Gomez (5-8, 170) and running back Gerald Leal (5-8, 150). Rubalcava will be throwing to an experienced group of receivers that includes tight end John Brown (5-9, 160), split end Hubert Turner (6-2, 185) and flanker Mike Padilla (5-10, 160). Padilla was an all-league cornerback last season. Schurr should once again have a swarming defense. It will be led by linebackers Oscar Chacon (6-2, 205) and Mark Chung (5-6, 150). The defensive line includes tackles Gus Covarrubias (5-9, 160) and Alfred O’Neil (5-9,185); ends Greg Baez (5-11, 170) and Joe Lira (5-6, 160), and nose guard Armando Hernandez (5-8, 155).
OUTLOOK: “We’re looking forward to a better year,” Davis said. “We’re counting heavily on certain individuals. If they stay healthy and come through for us--we’ll be good. If not . . .” Opposing coaches are especially wary of Schurr after last season’s uncharacteristic finish. They picked the Spartans to be one of the top contenders for the title.
Football previews were compiled by Dave Desmond, Mike Hiserman, David Keck, Gary Klein, David Morgan, Jeanmarie Murphy, Derek Raser and Johannes Tesselaar.