For fans of Westside 11-man CIF football teams who put a lot of credence in pre-season polls, things look bleak for this fall.
Only Santa Monica is mentioned as a top-10 team in its conference in a CIF poll. Beverly Hills, Culver City, Murphy, St. Bernard and St. Monica are expected to be also-rans.
Santa Monica (6-4 overall and 5-1 in the Bay League last year) is tabbed as seventh-best in the Southern Conference. But the Vikings are without Pat O’Hara, their all-everything quarterback who is now at USC, and Coach Tebb Kusserow is relying on someone who has thrown but three passes, Randy Bongard.
Beverly Hills, St. Bernard and St. Monica have similar woes.
The Normans (6-4, 3-2 in the Ocean League) are forced into converting Larry Borlenghi, tight end last year, into a quarterback, while Coach Duke Dulgarian at St. Bernard (7-4, 6-1 in the Camino Real League) is torn among three possible starters.
At St. Monica (3-5-1, 2-4-1 in the Camino Real League), Coach Dan Escalera is counting on having a seasoned veteran in Steve Haynes, who quarterbacked the team two years ago and returns after a season at Trinity Academy in Addison, Tex., where he was a wide receiver.
Frank Dolce returns at Culver City (4-5-1, 2-3 in the Ocean League), but the senior quarterback injures his left shoulder (he’s right-handed) about as frequently as Joe Namath used to injure his knees.
At Murphy (2-8, 2-3 in the Santa Fe League) quarterback Renato Velasquez threw for 1,300 yards last year, but an inexperienced line may impede his production.
If these quarterbacks can put up good statistics, these six teams may surprise some opponents, pollsters and fans.
Here is a scouting report on each of the Westside’s 11-man CIF teams:
Co-coaches: Bill Stansbury, Dick Billingsley.
1985 record: 6-4 overall; 3-2, 3rd in league.
Offense: Pro formation. Defense: Split 6.
Key returnees: OFFENSE: Luis Neve, FB, 5-10, 190, Sr.; Willie Crawford, RB, 6-1, 185, Jr.; Chris Harding, WR, 5-10, 155, Sr.; Erez Gottlieb, T, 6-3, 225, Jr.; Alan Glazer, P, 5-10, 180, Sr. DEFENSE: Chad Nellis, DE, 6-0, 165, Sr.; Scott Freedman, DT, 6-1, 190, Sr.; Nemo Kahn, LB, 5-10, 180, Sr.; Neve, LB; Crawford, LB; Max Goranilk, DB, 5-9, 170, Sr.; Virgil Romero, DB, 5-8, 150, Sr.
For three years, Beverly Hills relied on one quarterback, Eric Mueller. But Mueller is at El Camino College and co-Coaches Bill Stansbury and Dick Billingsley didn’t think they had anyone in the wings to take over.
So they took their best athlete and essentially said, “All right, now you’re a quarterback.”
Larry Borlenghi, a 6-3, 185-pound senior, played numerous positions last year, including tight end, wide receiver and safety, but he has never thrown the football.
Although Stansbury said Borlenghi did well during spring practice and the summer passing league, the coach said the Normans will not throw as often as in the past. Mueller passed about 30 times a game last year.
Stansbury said he’ll rely more on his running game, spearheaded by Luis Neve, a 5-10, 190-pound fullback, and Willie Crawford, a 6-1, 195-pound tailback. Both started the final three games last season.
Alan Glazer is the other big offensive weapon. The 5-10 punter was first-team All-Northwestern Conference last year with a 43.3 average.
Up front, Beverly Hills is small, averaging about 210 pounds, a turnaround from the days when its offensive linemen weighed closer to 250. But Stansbury said all are fast and strong.
Erez Gottlieb, a 6-3, 225-pound junior tackle, can bench-press about 300 pounds, the coach said.
The strength defensively will be linebackers Nemo Kahn, a 5-10, 180-pound senior, Neve and Crawford. But as with the offensive line, the defensive line lacks size. Scott Freedman, the starting tackle, is only 6-1, 190.
SCHEDULE (* denotes conference game):
S 12 at North Torrance
S 20 at Harvard 3 p.m.
S 26 Torrance 3 p.m.
O 2 Palisades 3 p.m.
O 11 Agoura 3 p.m.
* O 17 Hawthorne 3 p.m.
* O 24 at Mira Costa
* O 31 at Inglewood
* N 7 Santa Monica 2:30 p.m.
* N 14 at Culver City
Home games at Beverly Hills High.
Coach: Fred Fuller.
1985 record: 4-5-1 overall; 2-3, 4th in league.
Offense: Run and shoot. Defense: Split 4.
Key returnees: OFFENSE: Frank Dolce, QB, 6-1, 200, Sr.; Kayton Carter, WR, 6-0, 180, Sr.; Karlos Carter, WR, 6-0, 180, Sr.; Bob Delarossa, T, 5-11, 230, Sr.; Adrain Applewhite, T, 6-2, 245, Sr. DEFENSE: Kayton Carter, DE; Karlos Carter, DE; Jay Gould, LB, 5-9, 170, Sr.; Hoon Hahn, DB, 5-8, 160, Sr.; Kenny Ware, DB, 5-9, 175, Sr.
Fred Fuller, entering his eighth year as head coach, said this team will be better than his 1985 squad that finished 4-5-1 and 2-3 in Ocean League play. But he has only six lettermen to back up the prediction.
Of course, when your team is pass-oriented, it certainly is a huge plus to return your starting quarterback and wide receivers.
Frank Dolce, a 6-1, 200-pound senior, spent summer in football camps at Bakersfield and Irvine to improve his passing. And Fuller said the experience has helped.
“I can see the difference in the way he throws the football,” Fuller said. “His passes are tighter and he’s rotating his hand much better.”
Even without the camps, Fuller said Dolce is the “best quarterback I’ve ever coached.” But Fuller is concerned about Dolce’s oft-injured left shoulder, even though he passes right-handed. Dolce has a history of dislocating the shoulder and wears a protective harness.
“We’ll definitely have to protect him a little better than we did last year,” Fuller said.
That burden will fall on the rather large shoulders of senior tackles Adrian Applewhite, 6-2, 245, and Bob Delarossa, 5-11, 230, who slimmed down from 250.
If Dolce can stay healthy and has time to throw, the Carter twins, Kayton and Karlos, will be busy. While neither has outstanding speed, both have good moves and good hands, Fuller said.
Experience is a concern defensively, where Fuller will probably have only two returning starters playing the positions they played in 1985: senior defensive backs Hoon Hahn, 5-8, 160, who also is the place-kicker, and Kenny Ware, 5-9, 175.
The Carters were the starting defensive ends last year, but Fuller said one or both may be moved to linebacker, the pivotal position in his split-four defensive scheme. Fuller is also counting on senior Jay Gould, 5-9, 170, who didn’t play football the last two years, opting instead for baseball, to help out at linebacker.
But health is the key to the season.
“Last year we lost our two starting inside linebackers after the second game,” Fuller said. “We won those first two games and tied our third, but without them in there, we never recovered and went downhill.”
S 12 at St. Bernard
S 19 at Blair
S 26 Palos Verdes
O 3 Leuzinger
O 10 at Torrance
* O 17 Mira Costa
* O 24 at Santa Monica
* O 31 at Hawthorne
* N 7 Inglewood
* N 14 Beverly Hills
Home games at Culver City High.
League: Camino Real.
Coach: John Finn.
1985 record: 2-8 overall; 2-3, 4th in Santa Fe League.
Offense: Run and shoot. Defense: Multiple.
Key returnees: OFFENSE: Renato Velasquez, QB, 5-7, 155, Sr.; Billy Christen, WR, 5-7, 160, Sr.; Jimmy Marmalejo, T, 6-2, 250, Sr.; Antoine Durreasau, T, 6-1, 210, Sr.; Craig Robinson, G, 6-1, 185, Sr.; James Ervin, G, 6-3, 180, Sr. DEFENSE: Marmalejo, NG; Durreasau, DT; Rahmin Botshekan, LB, 5-8, 170, Sr.; Christen, DB.
The good news at Murphy is that 16 starters are returning. The bad news is that Murphy finished 2-8 overall and 2-3 in the Santa Fe League.
And the Nobles now are in the tougher Camino Real League.
“Our record doesn’t merit it, but they moved us up anyway,” said John Finn, in his second year as head coach. “The Camino Real League has better players and better coaches, so it’s going to be difficult for us.”
Still, Finn said his team needed last year to learn the intricacies of the run-and-shoot offense he installed last season. He said the Nobles moved the football down the field but self-destructed near the goal.
Against Salesian, Finn said, the Nobles moved to the one-yard line three times and failed to score.
“The run and shoot is difficult to pick up,” he said. “That’s why we expected a lot of mistakes. This year the kids know the system. Our offense will definitely score more than the seven points a game it averaged last year.”
Finn is counting on senior quarterback Renato Velasquez to surpass his 1,300 passing yards this year. And if he does, it will probably be good news for Billy Christen, a 5-7, 160-pound wide receiver who won first-team all-league honors last year.
If the offense stops firing blanks, Murphy could be a .500 team. After all, seven defensive starters return from a unit that kept the Nobles in several games, such as a 3-0 loss to Village Christian and a 14-3 loss to St. Monica.
“Our strength defensively is our quickness,” Finn said. “At times our defense was very good and at other times it was better than average. It allowed less than 17 points a game and that’s including some blowouts in games we were overmatched in.”
The defense lives and dies with seniors Rahmin Botshekan, a 5-7, 170-pound linebacker who was named first-team All-Santa Fe League in 1985; Jimmy Marmalejo, a 6-2, 250-pound nose guard who doubles as an offensive tackle, and Antoine Durreasau, a 6-1, 210-pounder who plays tackle on both sides of the line.
Joining that trio is a strong group of underclassmen, including sophomore Douglas Toles, a 5-10, 175 linebacker, and juniors Mark Johnson, a 6-3, 225-pound lineman; Galo Medina, a 6-2, 215-pound lineman, and Wayne Taylor, a 5-8, 170-pound defensive back.
S 12 at Duarte
S 19 Salesian
S 26 Village Christian
* O 3 St. Monica
* O 10 at Cantwell
* O 17 Mary Star
* O 24 at Verbum Dei
* O 31 Pius X
* N 7 at St. Anthony
* N 14 Serra
Home games at L. A. City College.
Conference: Big 5.
Coach: Duke Dulgarian.
1985 record: 7-4 overall; 6-1, 2nd in Camino Real League.
Offense: Split back. Defense: Multiple front.
Key returnees: OFFENSE: Kevin Bayonne, RB, 6-0, 203, Sr.; Eric Nelson, WR, 6-5, 177, Jr.; Marlon McBride, TE, 6-1, 197, Jr.; David Banuelos, T, 6-2, 251, Jr.; Lauro Prieto, C, 6-1, 221, Jr.; Rommell Hill, T, 6-1, 221, Sr. DEFENSE: Shawn Pogue, DE, 6-1, 231, Jr.; Prieto, DE; Brett Hayes, LB, 5-11, 206, Sr.; Bayonne, LB; Paul Simmonds, LB, 5-10, 177, Sr.; Chris Stafford, DB, 5-9, 160, Sr.
If the Raiders or Rams think they have a quarterback controversy, they should stop by St. Bernard’s practice field.
Second-year Coach Duke Dulgarian is undecided among three possible starters: senior John Pawinski and juniors Calvin Maspero and Gary Brown. Pawinski probably will get the nod in the opener.
Regardless of who starts, he’ll be handing off to Kevin Bayonne a lot. Bayonne, a 6-0, 203-pound senior tailback, has reportedly run a 4.39 40-yard dash.
But Bayonne injured his right knee in last year’s finale against Verbum Dei and may not be ready for the first game.
Even without Bayonne, the Vikings have plenty of offensive weapons. Tight end Marlon McBride, a 6-1, 197-pound junior and the only returning offensive starter, had 16 receptions for 572 yards and seven touchdowns in 1985. And Dulgarian said wide receiver Eric Nelson, a 6-5, 177-pound junior, “is going to be a major-college prospect.”
The Vikings, however, lack an experienced offensive line. The five starters graduated, but Dulgarian has some big, talented juniors, including David Banuelos, a 6-2, 251-pound tackle; Rommell Hill, a 6-1, 221-pound tackle, and Lauro Prieto, a 6-1, 221-pound center.
Defensively St. Bernard returns six starters, including linebackers Brett Hayes and Bayonne, the team’s leading tacklers last year. Dulgarian said the only problem is depth.
“We have only 38 kids, so we have to stay healthy,” he said. He’ll need more than health if St. Bernard, 7-4 overall and 6-1 in the Camino Real League last year, hopes to challenge Bishop Amat, Mater Dei and Servite for the Angelus League title.
“Everyone’s telling me we’re not going to do well,” he said. “But we have some talented kids and I think we’re going to surprise a lot of people and be right in the thick of things.”
S 12 Culver City
S 19 at El Segundo
S 26 at Jefferson
O 3 Quartz Hill
O 10 Notre Dame
* O 17 Mater Dei
* O 24 at Servite
* O 31 St. Paul
* N 7 Bishop Amat
* N 14 at Bishop Montgomery
Home games at St. Bernard High.
League: Camino Real.
Coach: Dan Escalera.
1985 record: 3-5-1 overall; 2-4-1, 6th in league.
Offense: Multiple. Defense: 52.
Key returnees: OFFENSE: Steve Haynes, QB, 6-0, 175, Sr.; Eugene Jackson, WR, 5-11, 158, Sr.; Kai Kaluna, G, 5-11, 235, Jr.; Jesus Moreno, T, 6-3, 235, Soph.; Lalo Diaz, C, 5-11, 220, Jr. DEFENSE: Kevin Mott, DE, 6-0, 180, Sr.; Mike Banbrick, DT, 6-4, 225, SR.
Coach Dan Escalera, looking to improve upon last season’s 3-5-1 finish, has lots of questions and can only hope his team can supply the answers.
Last year fullback Ernie Camp, a 5-10, 180-pound junior, was essentially a one-man show in the backfield. But Escalera said Camp didn’t have a good off-season and he is looking to junior Daniel Bernard, a 6-0, 170-pounder, for help there.
Escalera thought the solution to his fullback troubles was to rely on his tailback. But two tailbacks were declared academically ineligible and Escalera has been forced to experiment with converting senior Daniel Ganboa, a wide receiver last year, into a tailback.
The biggest question mark on offense, however, is at quarterback, where Steve Haynes returns after one season at Trinity Christian Academy in Addison, Tex. Haynes, a 6-0, 175-pound senior, was St. Monica’s starting quarterback for about the half of the season as a sophomore and received all-league honors as a wide receiver in Texas last fall.
“Steve had good form as a sophomore and he hasn’t lost it,” Escalera said. “He’s intelligent, works hard and is a real thrower.”
Defensively, Escalera is scratching his head trying to figure out how to replace safeties Darrin Jackson and Sean Monroe. Jackson led the Mariners with eight interceptions and was an All-Bay selection. Monroe was an all-league pick.
“They were a great tandem for us,” Escalera said. “We’re trying to replace those two guys, but it’s not going to be easy.”
Despite the unanswered questions, Escalera is “guardedly optimistic.” The big reason is a sizable offensive line anchored by Jesus Moreno, a 6-3, 235-pound tackle; Kai Kaluna, a 5-11, 235 guard, and Lalo Diaz, a 5-11, 220 center.
“Our line has no nickname, which I kind of like, but all get off the ball real well,” the coach said. “And if our line gets going the way I think they will, we’re going to be able to do something offensively for the first time in three years.”
But that’s another big question for the Mariners to answer.
SCHEDULE: (all games 7:30 p.m. unless otherwise noted)
S 19 at Palisades 8 p.m.
S 27 Brethren
* O 3 at Murphy
* O 11 St. Anthony
* O 17 at Cantwell
* O 25 Pius X
* N 1 Verbum Dei
* N 7 at Serra
* N 15 at Mary Star
Home games at Palisades High.
Coach: Tebb Kusserow.
1985 record: 6-4 overall; 5-1, 2nd in Bay League.
Offense: Pro-I. Defense: 52.
Key returnees: OFFENSE: Mark Jackson, RB, 5-10, 175, Sr.; Mario Mitchell, RB, 5-10, 183, Sr.; Dominic Holland, WR, 6-2, 180, Sr.; Frank Longo, WR, 5- 11, 175, Sr.; Sean Taylor, WR, 5-11, 175, Sr.; Pete Haynes, G, 5-10, 215, Sr.; Ramone DeCastillo, T, 6-2, 220, Sr. DEFENSE: Chris Hastings, DT, 6-4, 220, Sr.; Glen Heinrich, DT, 6-4, 230, Sr.; Jamar Davis, NG, 5-11, 210, Sr.; Eric Davis, LB, 6-1, 218, Sr.; Holland, DB; Tate Nelson, DB, 6-2, 185, Jr.
Is there life after Pat O’Hara?
O’Hara, one of the most highly recruited quarterbacks in the state last year, threw for a total of 3,687 yards and 44 touchdowns as a junior and senior.
But O’Hara is at USC and senior Randy Bongard, who has thrown all of three passes in his varsity career, takes over for the Vikings, who are now in the Ocean League.
“If you’re looking at the quarterback position, then there’s no question that Randy Bongard has a lot to prove on the field,” said Coach Tebb Kusserow. “But he throws extremely well.”
Two of Bongard’s attempts went for touchdowns and Kusserow said the other pass was a sure touchdown but was dropped.
“If you look at Pat going into his senior year, Randy actually has more tools around him,” Kusserow said. “Pat’s receivers were mainly possession receivers; they couldn’t go deep, which was unfortunate for Pat. He wasn’t allowed to come out and do all the things he could do.”
But Bongard has receivers who can get deep and “stretch the defense vertically,” Kusserow said.
Frank Longo, a 5-11, 175-pound senior, was one of the top sprinters in the Bay League last year, and Sean Taylor, a 5-11, 175-pound senior, is about as quick. Joining the speedsters is Dominic Holland, a possession receiver who caught 50 passes in 1985.
Kusserow said he has a talented pack of running backs to balance the attack, including seniors Mark Jackson, 5-10, 175, who was a Bay League pick last year; Mario Mitchell, 5-10, 183, and Corwin Bailey, 6-2, 218, who runs a 4.6 40-yard dash.
Eric Davis, a 6-1, 218-pound senior who was a two-year starter at fullback and doubled as linebacker last year, may see action in the backfield, but Kusserow said Davis will probably play exclusively on defense.
Holland and Tate Nelson, a 6-2, 185-pound junior who was the Bay League high-hurdle champ last year, give Santa Monica a strong pair of safeties.
“The key, of course, is how Randy does,” Kusserow said.
S 20 at Loyola
S 26 at Palisades
O 3 Rowland
O 10 at Edison
* O 17 at Inglewood
* O 24 Culver City
* O 31 at Mira Costa
* N 7 at Beverly Hills
* N 14 Hawthorne
Home games at Santa Monica College.