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HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL : The Top 10

<i> Selected by Times staff writers </i>

1 GRANADA HILLS

1988 Record: 8-3

League: North Valley

Coaches: D. Stroh, T. Harp

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Based on their statistics of a year ago, the Highlanders have one of the best returning skill-position packages in Southern California in receivers William Moringlane and Jermaine Love, running backs Leon Glasgow and Brett Washington, and senior quarterback Chris Gadomski. Bryan Martin, a junior transfer from Illinois, may unseat the incumbent Gadomski. Granada Hills (33-9-1 from 1985-88) seems certain to win eight games or more.

2 CANYON

1988 Record: 11-3

League: Golden

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Coach: Harry Welch

Last December, Canyon was almost single-handedly beaten by Antelope Valley’s Tommie Smith, who scored four touchdowns in the Southern Section Division II final. It may now be powerful tailback Chris Peery’s turn to be a one-man wrecking crew for the Cowboys if he recovers from surgery to his groin area that he underwent Tuesday. Clint Beauer, a three-year letterman, could be the Valley-area’s best receiver. This is a money team: Canyon has played in a divisional championship game four times in six years.

3 SAN FERNANDO

1988 Record: 8-4

League: North Valley

Coach: Tom Hernandez

Judging by his preseason clippings, All-City Section selection Michael Wynn may be the team’s most skilled quarterback since Anthony Davis (1968-70). Tailback Maurice McFarland, a three-year letterman, heads an explosive running game. But can the Tigers weather three Southern Section Division I teams (Fontana, Crespi and St. Paul) on the road in nonleague play? San Fernando plays only three home games and visits league-rival Granada Hills on Nov. 9.

4 THOUSAND OAKS

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1988 Record: 6-4-1

League: Marmonte

Coach: Bob Richards

With eight starters returning on defense, the Lancers should be the class of the Marmonte League, even if the offense is as sporadic as it was in 1988. If the backfield situation is satisfactorily resolved--juniors Scott Peterson and David Watts are in a dead heat at quarterback and tailback Mike Lindsay is recovering from knee surgery--the Lancers could emerge as a contender for the Division II title. But defense, once again, will be T.O.'s primary M.O. Who needs finesse?

5 HART

1988 Record: 6-5

League: Foothill

Coach: Mike Herrington

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Senior quarterback Rob Westervelt leads all returning Valley-area passers in yardage (2,130) and under the tutelage of the newly hired Herrington--whose game plan will closely resemble that of pass-happy mentor Rick Scott, a former Hart coach--the Indians should be burning up the airwaves at an ever greater pace. Howard Blackwell gives Hart balance and speed in the tailback position.

6 ALEMANY

1988 Record: 4-6

League: Del Rey

Coach: Pat Blackburn

Three-year starter Joey Rosselli is the dean of Valley quarterbacks and possesses the best credentials among returning Del Rey League passers (1,559 yards in ’88). Receivers Scott Goldsmith, Billy Markowitz and Mark Dannemiller also return. Sophomore running back Terry Barnum is a barn-burner. If the defense holds up, a playoff berth seems realistic. Key games are with league foes Crespi and Loyola, which combined to thump Alemany, 84-0, last year and 44-14 the year before.

7 NOTRE DAME

1988 Record: 8-3

League: San Fernando Valley

Coach: Kevin Rooney

Thirteen starters are back from last season’s league championship team and the Knights are ranked No. 2 in the Southern Section Division VII preseason poll. Returning starters include Greg Andrachick, who took over at quarterback in midseason, and running back Errol Small. The team’s toughest test may be in finding enough regular-season competition to prepare for postseason play: After a 4-0 league season in ’88, Notre Dame was bounced out of the playoffs in the first round.

8 CHANNEL ISLANDS

1988 Record: 8-3

League: Marmonte

Coach: Joel Gershon

The two-time defending Marmonte League champions, who typically hammer opponents with a punishing ground attack, may air it out more often. Quarterback Mark Contreras, a three-year letterman, returns along with receiver Shawn Young, who led the team in receptions. It may come down to yet another race with defense-minded Thousand Oaks. Looking for suspense? Look elsewhere. Thousand Oaks and Channel Islands play in the league opener Sept. 29.

9 MONTCLAIR PREP

1988 Record: 6-5

League: Alpha

Coach: George Giannini

Thank goodness for transfers, and the Mounties have more of them that an RTD driver. Running back Derek Sparks and quarterback Leland Sparks--they are cousins--transferred to the school earlier this year and give the Mounties the most potent backfield in the area. Senior tailback Michael Jones, who gained 1,514 yards last season at Montclair Prep, is a bona fide Division I prospect. The Mounties are ranked No. 1 in the Division IX preseason poll.

10 ANTELOPE VALLEY

1988 Record: 12-2

League: Golden

Coach: B. Newcomb

The Antelopes are 83-28-1 in the 1980s and have won two Southern Section Division II titles, including last season’s 28-22 win over league-rival Canyon. Yet Tommie Smith, perhaps the school’s best player ever, graduated. The sophomore team has won one game in two seasons. Newcomb may have a hard time maintaining the Antelopes’ recent high-desert high, but his program nonetheless remains one of the area’s best.


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