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The High Schools : Secondary’s Loss a Gain for Birmingham Offense

Birmingham Coach Chick Epstein is not one to rant and rave about his players, but he can’t say enough good things about junior Danny Larson, an All-Sunset League second-team defensive back as a sophomore.

“He’s big and he’s strong,” Epstein said. “He’s the hardest hitter on our team. By the time he graduates, he’ll definitely have the potential to be a first-rate Pacific 10 defensive back.”

Though Epstein compared Larson favorably to Birmingham products Lyle Pickens (formerly of the Denver Broncos) and Harold Hicks (drafted by the Washington Redskins this year), Larson may spend little time roaming the defensive backfield for the Braves. He’ll be too busy playing quarterback.

In fact, Larson is their only quarterback.

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“We can’t afford to lose him to an injury,” Epstein said. “If we do, we’re in big trouble.”

Add Birmingham: Myron Settle, another All-Sunset League second-team defensive back, and Darnell Stringer have regained their eligibility after improving their grades this summer.

“That was a big relief,” Epstein said. “We’re not loaded with talent like some schools. The loss of those two guys really would have hurt us.”

Settle and Stringer were placed on academic probation last semester.

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However, Eric Mills, a third all-league second-team defensive back, will miss the season because of academic ineligibility.

Out of business: First Lutheran football Coach Ken Roupe planned to spend this week preparing for his team’s opener against Campbell Hall in an 8-man nonleague game. Instead, the second-year coach has spent the week canceling the 1988 season because he lacks enough players to field a team.

“We had only five or six guys there last week,” he said. “I’m really disappointed because this will be my first year since the seventh grade without football.”

First Lutheran, a 6-year-old private school in Sylmar, has a high school enrollment of 70 boys and girls. Last year, a nine-player team posted a 1-5-2 record. Despite the setback, Roupe expects the program to resume next year.

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Tough road losses: Crespi, a team that is not blessed with the deepest roster in town, last month lost two varsity players in separate auto accidents. Raasan Hall, a 6-foot, 4-inch, 200-pound sophomore receiver, sustained internal injuries when the convertible in which he was traveling hit another car. He is not expected to play for the rest of the season, Coach Bill Redell said.

Senior lineman Geoff Harms, a returning letterman, suffered serious facial cuts when he was involved in an accident a few days later. Harms (6-0, 190) is expected back by the second or third game, Redell said.

Staff writers Steve Elling, John Lynch and John Ortega contributed to this notebook.

FOOTBALL TOP 10 Preseason Selected by sportswriters of The Times

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Rk Team League 1987 Record 1 Crespi Del Rey 10-2-1 2 Canyon Golden 10-3 3 Hart Foothill 11-2 4 San Fernando League 1 7-2-1 5 Channel Islands Marmonte 11-3 6 Thousand Oaks Marmonte 12-1-1 7 Taft League 2 8-3 8 Notre Dame S.F. Valley 5-5 9 St. Francis Del Rey 4-7 10 Reseda Mid-Valley 10-1


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