1. Poly--About the only thing that’s changed is that Jim Barnett has left to coach Trabuco Hills and the Jackrabbits now have two head coaches--Thomas Whiting, who will handle the offense, and Jerry Jaso, who will guide the defense. The talent is as impressive as ever and should carry Poly (10-2 in ’84) to yet another league title. The defense is solid with returning tackles Gilbert Moxley and Stacey Elliot, both 6-3 and 240, and linebackers Brian Tuliau (6-1, 215) and David Riley (6-4, 205). And defensive back Mark Carrier (6-2, 180) made The Times’ All-South Coast team last year as a junior. On offense, senior Michael Herring, a safety last year, replaces graduated Nick Riesgo at quarterback. Herring has outstanding receivers in Chris Roscoe (6-2, 180) and Eric Morgan (5-11, 170). All-league Michael Vaughn (6-3, 215) is the tight end. “The offensive line will be the key to our club,” Whiting said.
2. Wilson--Highly recruited quarterback Bobby San Jose (6-2, 180), who threw for more than 1,000 yards last season, is ready for what should be an outstanding senior season. He is one of the school’s best athletes. He will throw to his younger brother, junior wingback Jeff San Jose, and to junior split end Sonny Reynolds, who runs 100 yards in 9.9 seconds. Senior tailback Culverson Taylor, a strong, fluid runner, takes over for graduated star William Amelong at tailback, but Coach Al Taylor hasn’t found anyone to replace Amelong at linebacker. The Bruins will be strong and fast on the defensive line, led by end Steve Hauser.
3. Lakewood--The Lancers are expected to make opponents pay for their 1-8 season in ’84. Key players are back, joined by members of the undefeated sophomore and JV teams. Rick Wildt (6-2, 190, strong-armed and competitive) is one of the area’s best quarterbacks. Top seniors are tight end-linebacker Darren Wood (6-2, 185), two-way tackle Brian Kane (6-3, 260), fullback-linebacker Scott Ewart (5-11, 185), defensive tackle Tom Byrd (6-2, 210) and nose guard Tim Erno (6-2, 185). “We look pretty good,” said Coach Gene Melvin. “This is the fastest group of kids we’ve had in a while.”
4. Millikan--The Rams are a team of extremes--from huge Tony Alvarez (6-7, 320), a national karate champion trying to become a tackle, to little Cliff Mosley (5-7, 145), an all-league quarterback known for his speed and his passes that Coach Dave Radford describes as “kind of like mortars--they come out of nowhere.” Radford, who takes over after eight years as a Millikan assistant, likes his team’s enthusiasm, hustle and “desire not to be average.” The team was 5-5 in ’84 and has 11 starters back. Mosley’s top receiver will be Ed Robinson (6-0, 175), whom Radford says ranks with the class of the league. Dan Hampton, a 6-2, 220-pound tackle, leads the defense.
6. Compton--"We have a lot of talent and think we can play with anybody,” says Coach Tom McCutcheon. Much of the talent is in the offense backfield with runners Rory Dairy, George Williamson, John Marshall, Reggie Thomas, Ted Citizen and sophomore Okeni Moe. A big offensive line features juniors David Muliatilo (6-2, 275) and Jessie Wise (6-2, 250). Rafael Avila, a junior, will start at quarterback, but is being pressed by senior Lamont Speed.
6. Jordan--New coach Mike Ono has his best athletes on defense. Two of the best in the area--if not the country--are Dennis Brown and Charles Burnham. The dominating Brown is 6-4, 285, can run and plays nose guard with enthusiasm. One national magazine picked him as an All-American and he has been All-South Coast two straight years. Burnham is a 6-4, 225-pound inside linebacker whom Ono calls a Division I-type player. Overall, however, Ono said his team is young and inexperienced.