Teams appear in order of finish predicted by Times staff writers. Faith Baptist
COACH: Harry Morgan, eighth year
LAST SEASON: 11-1; first in league, 2-0
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Even at the eight-man level, the Contenders are among the Who’s Who of Southern Section football powers. Their loss to Templeton in the championship game last season snapped a 23-game winning streak, which was second only to Canyon’s 38-game string. But this season, Faith Baptist will have to make do without the services of five All-Southern Section players and Fernando McLean, who was removed from the team last season for disciplinary reasons. McLean, who had scored 28 touchdowns in only seven games at the time of his dismissal, was not named to the All-Southern Section team. The Contenders, ranked third in the Southern Section eight-man preseason poll, will field a young team and have only three seniors in the starting lineup. Morgan will depend on senior tailback Randy Lutz, an all-league selection in 1985, to provide the Contenders with leadership and offense. Todd Stadig, an all-league tight end last season, has moved to fullback. Junior Richard Leon will be the starting quarterback. Another junior who could be a factor is defensive tackle Troy Prehmus (6-1, 205 pounds), an all-league selection last season. Morgan also has high hopes for sophomore defensive back David Hairston (5-10, 175). Wide receiver Sean Ynez, one of the three seniors who will start, has looked impressive in practice in this, his first year on the team.
OUTLOOK: “I feel very positive about this season,” Morgan said. “But if we don’t lose three games this year, I’ll be very happy and surprised. We look very good at the skill positions, but we don’t have the size.”
COACH: Pat Brown, sixth year
LAST SEASON: 6-3; second in league, 2-1
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Brown believes that this is the best team in the school’s history. But with Faith Baptist in the league, that still may get the Eagles no better than second place. One of the team’s best players is sophomore linebacker Oscar Mazzola, 15. He will team with another underclassman, junior Tommy Burr, at linebacker. Senior tailback Matt Lublin gained more than 700 yards last year, including 140 yards against Chadwick in the Eagles’ first-round playoff loss. Junior quarterback Ian Dalsemer, who started in the playoffs after being called up from the junior varsity, will have a full season to prove himself. Linebacker/tight end Seth Jacobson and defensive back/wide receiver David Vacarro both return after all-league seasons as juniors. Nick Karno, who started as a sophomore two years ago and transferred to Palisades last season, is back to start at guard. He will be joined on the offensive line by returning starter Marc Rubinroit, a senior.
OUTLOOK: “We’ll be a lot better this year than we were last year,” Brown said. “In fact, I think this team is better than any team we’ve ever had at Brentwood. Our line is about as good as it’s ever been. Our depth isn’t what I’d like it to be at certain spots, but we’re still a little deeper than in the past.”
COACH: Chris Schultz, second year.
LAST SEASON: 1-9; fourth in league, 0-3
PLAYERS TO WATCH: The Griffins went to the eight-man semifinals in 1984. Last year, however, turned into mush and they may struggle again this season. Schultz has a young team. It became even younger with the loss of tailback Darren Goldberg, who transferred to Taft after rushing for more than 1,000 yards last season as a sophomore. Schultz is left with an entire backfield and several other key positions being manned by sophomores. The most talented of the young group is quarterback Luka Pecel. Behind Pecel in the backfield will be sophomores Matt Ochacher and Jon Christian Soul-Payne. Justin Brown, a 6-2, 180-pound sophomore will play tight end. Split end/defensive end Dereck Brown is also a sophomore. The only player with more than one year’s experience in organized football is senior guard Jack Eskanazi (6-4, 200). Senior defensive end Eddie Huh is only 5-4 and 140 pounds, but his quickness enabled him to lead the team in sacks last year. Viken Ohanesian, a 16-year-old senior, will play linebacker and guard. Ohanesian (5-10, 180), a returning starter, is described by Schultz as the team’s “strongest player, pound for pound.”
OUTLOOK: “Our whole key this year will be Luka Pecel,” Schultz said. “He’s a good athlete and is best suited for tailback, but we didn’t have anyone for quarterback. We’re going to be a run-and-shoot team and go outside a lot.”