VALLEY PREVIEW : FOOTBALL ’88 : THE HIGH SCHOOLS : SAN FERNANDO VALLEY LEAGUE
COACH: Rich Lawson, 2nd year
LAST SEASON: 11-3; 1st in league, 6-0
PLAYERS TO WATCH: In their first year under Lawson, last season’s Times All-Valley Coach of the Year, the Eagles came within one play of a conference championship, losing to Woodbridge, 13-10, on a last-second pass. Continued success will be more difficult, considering Chaminade has only 28 players. “But we’ve got 28 good kids,” Lawson said. “We’re going to be the Great 28.” Senior two-way tackle Steve Rosen (6-3, 240) receives Lawson’s greatest praise. “He’s our best Division I prospect,” he said. Senior quarterback Greg Baumgartner (6-0, 175) passed for 478 yards and 4 touchdowns in part-time duty last year. Senior tailback Tony Collatos (5-10, 175, 473 yards rushing) is the only other returning back. Senior Brady Mitchell (5-11, 155), the top receiver, is sidelined indefinitely because of a broken shoulder blade. Four juniors--all-league nose guard Brian Consiglio (5-10, 220), defensive back Colin Havert (5-10, 190), middle linebacker Justin Stark (6-0, 210) and hard-hitting free safety Felix Goodson (6-1, 165)--lead the defense.
OUTLOOK: The Eagles were head and shoulders above league competition last season. This year, the gap should close appreciably, especially with the addition of Notre Dame to the newly formed league. “We’re solid,” Lawson said. “But if we get hurt, we don’t have anybody.” Several players will play both ways, making the threat of injury even more perilous. The Eagles’ strength is the trio of Baumgartner, Collatos and Mitchell, three offensive leaders who have played in a championship game.
COACH: Kevin Rooney, 9th year
LAST SEASON: 5-5; 3rd in league, 2-3
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Everyone is talking about senior quarterback Bobby Hughes (6-3, 200). Rarely has a backup who threw only 7 passes last year attracted as much attention. “He’s a tremendous talent,” Rooney said. “He throws hard and accurate.” Hughes, however, may miss the Knights’ first few games while recovering from an appendectomy. The backup is junior Greg Andrachick (5-11, 170). A new backfield consists of junior tailback Errol Small (6-2, 190), and fullbacks Jeremy Harrison (5-10, 180; Sr.) and Kevin Milligan (5-10, 190, Jr.). Seniors Mike Rimkunas and Reggie Dominique are returning wide receivers. Senior tight end Ryan Waldrip moves into a starting role. Seniors Bill Moore (6-0, 210), Ed Howard (6-2, 215), Gerardo Troncoso (5-11, 190) and Sean Terry (5-11, 200) all return as starters on the offensive line. Junior two-way tackle Owen Taylor (6-1, 240), a transfer from Virginia, is the team’s strongest player. The defense’s strength is in the secondary where Dominique and Rimkunas return as starters. Junior linebackers Matt Henry (6-2, 180) and Tim Elliott (6-1, 190) led the sophomore team last year. Senior lineman Vince Olin (6-0, 230) is a returning starter.
OUTLOOK: Moving from the Division I Del Rey League improves Notre Dame from a .500 team to one that should challenge for the league title. “We’ll be a little stronger on defense this year,” Rooney said. Losing Del Rey teams Crespi and Loyola from the schedule will help, but Rooney isn’t counting on dominating the new league. “It will be competitive,” he said. “And interesting.”
COACH: Gary Thran, 15th year
LAST SEASON: 6-5, 3rd in league, 4-2
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Whenvever it seems the Saracens need a running back, they look to the school’s rugby field to find one. Last season, Santa Fe League Back of the Year Marty Holly (5-11, 195), who rushed for 1,284 yards, emerged from the scrum to guide Harvard’s old-fashioned single-wing offense. Fullback Grant Marston (5-11, 185), who also impressed Thran while playing rugby, joins Holly in Harvard’s new I-formation attack. Junior Scott Collins (5-10, 160) has won the quarterback job, and senior Jung Yi (5-8, 140) returns as the most experienced receiver. Junior Adam Rowins (5-10, 150) was the top receiver for last year’s sophomore team. With offensive linemen David Eagle (6-4, 241), Juancho Ramirez (5-10, 190), Mike Chumo (5-10, 185), Ed Shin (5-11, 195), and all-league tight end Barry Burch (5-11, 180) all returning as starters, Harvard’s ground game “will be our real strength,” Thran said. Thran also boasts about backup tight end Mike Wolfe (6-2, 195), a junior. The defense will consist of many two-way players, including linebackers Holly, Marston, Burch and Chumo. Returning placekicker Sam Cooper (6-1, 170) may be the league’s best.
OUTLOOK: Harvard ran the ball down everybody’s throat last year but “just couldn’t stop people from running at us,” Thran said. He insists that necessary defensive improvements have been made. “We’ve filled some holes,” he said. Clipping the single wing in favor of a diversified offense should aid the defense because Holly won’t be as battered from running the football almost exclusively. Still, Thran plans to run, run, run. “Holly is still our big gun,” he said. “And we’re going to shoot it.”
COACH: Kevin Kane, 1st year
LAST SEASON: 6-5; 2nd in league, 5-1
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Kane, an assistant for two years under former Coach Lindon Crow, is enthusiastic about the Valiants’ new Delaware wing-T offense, which relies on deception and nifty ballhandling. “I’m going to use it every year I’m at St. Genevieve,” he said. Seniors Roland De La Maza and Leo Cortez are battling for the quarterback position. “We have a quarterback controversy to a minor degree,” Kane said. Returning halfbacks Doug Vlaming (276 yards) and Chris Andrews (243) add to an experienced backfield. Senior tight end Marc Colon (6-2, 215) had a team-high 18 receptions last year. Senior wide receiver Carlos Gonzalez (5-11, 165) was injured most of last year but caught 6 passes. Offensive tackle James Cordola (6-2, 235) and Ron Nielson (6-5, 230) are returning seniors. Six returning starters--defensive backs De La Maza, Paul Zamora (5-10, 155) and Dan Diaz (6-1, 170); linebackers Vlaming and John Gallagher (6-1, 185); and tackle Setima Malieitulua (5-11, 250)--anchor the defense. Senior defensive tackle Victor Hanna (6-1, 190), who grew up playing rugby in Australia, has finally taken to football. “He had a couple of sacks toward the end of last season,” Kane said.
OUTLOOK: As the wing T goes, so go the Valiants. Execution is the key. “It requires a lot of ballhandling and faking,” Kane said. “You never know how that stuff is going to work.” With experienced ballhandlers and the amount of hours invested in practice, St. Genevieve should make the wing fit to a T. The only noticeable weakness may be an undersized defensive line. But Kane, who was the line coach last season, knows how to deal with the problem. “The kids are in the best condition they’ve been in,” he said.
COACH: Doug Woodlief, 4th year
LAST SEASON: 5-4-1; 5th in league, 2-4
PLAYERS TO WATCH: With only 33 players, many of the Guards will play both ways. Senior fullback Mike Cesta (5-10, 195), who may switch to quarterback, rushed for 138 yards last season. Senior Richard Coles, whose only pass last season was intercepted, will start at quarterback. David Bowan, a special-teams player last year, is the top wide receiver. Bell-Jeff’s strength is on the offensive line where guards Robert Dourisboure (6-2, 205) and Dan Buffo (5-10, 190), and center Joe Rodney (5-8, 235) return as seniors. Placekicker Mike Lattanzio is the only other returning starter. Defensively, the names basically are the same as on offense. Cesta and Buffo play linebacker. Coles and Bowan are in the secondary. Scott Mellon and Max Ligot both move up to starting roles in the secondary.
OUTLOOK: Bell-Jeff will miss playing in the Santa Fe League, which included non-powerhouses Salesian, Pater Noster and Cathedral. The Guards might play the role of doormat in their new league. Woodlief is taking refuge in the future. “We’re all seniors,” he said. “But we’ve got a lot of frosh-soph players and a decent freshman class.”