Over the past few years, Montclair Prep has developed a winning tradition. Although the Mounties were defeated in the Inland Conference championship game last season, they are ranked No. 1 in this year’s Southern Section preseason poll.
Village Christian and Western Christian appear to have the best chances of pulling off an upset of the Mounties.
“We’d like to get back to establishing a winning tradition,” Village Christian Coach Mike Plaisance said. Beating Montclair Prep would help that cause.
With quarterback Chris Johnson and a corps of talented receivers returning, Village Christian will have one of the Alpha League’s best offensive teams.
Johnson’s top receivers are Rick Oehler and Victor Tyler. Village Christian will have more firepower in the backfield with running backs Scott Phillips and Craig Hudspeth.
Although Montclair Prep’s Mike Broussard and Tyler Robuck are a promising pair of sophomore running backs, Western Christian Coach Tim Kistler is convinced he’s got the league’s premiere back in Torrey Pearson.
“They’re really good players,” Kistler said of the Mountie duo. “But I see a lack of experience. Torrey’s experience is the difference between the three runners.”
Pearson rushed for 130 yards against Silver Valley last season but will miss the season opener with a fractured thumb.
“When he played against our junior varsity, he really devastated us,” L.A. Lutheran Coach Stan Dobler said. “Now he’s had a year of varsity experience.”
Said Plaisance: “Pearson is developing, but, physically he’s still growing. He’s getting a mind set for the game. The experience we have on the line should open holes for him to run.”
Much of Montclair Prep’s offensive unit is returning. Back are quarterback Frank Charles and wide receivers Anthony Pack and John DeRouen. Last season, Pack had 16 receptions for 263 yards while DeRouen caught 30 passes for 417 yards. Robbie Briggs, who caught 26 passes for 462 yards last season, will be the starting tight end.
L.A. Baptist returns quarterback Mike MacDonald. “One of the unusual things about MacDonald is that we have him playing safety also,” L.A. Baptist Coach Mike Boshers said. “Mike throws the ball real well and he runs the 40 in 4.7. He’s quick and he’ll be able to cover a lot of ground.”
MacDonald moved into the quarterback spot when Jeremy Leach transferred to Granada Hills. Dan Mader has made the move to tight end from the interior line.
“He’s a much better athlete than some people thought,” Boshers said. “We worked on his hands. He’s very teachable.”
L.A. Lutheran expects more from quarterback Jeff Young, who threw for only 436 yards last season. “We didn’t throw the ball a whole lot last year,” Dobler said. Other key players for the Lions include wide receiver Mark Tietjen, kicker Eric Ranck and running back Greg Rozsa. Ranck was an All-Alpha League punter, averaging 34.3 yards per kick.