Western State Conference teams failed to win a postseason bowl game last season, going 0-4-1, yet it is difficult to find a more powerful conference in Southern California this year than the WSC.
The 12-team conference had six representatives (No. 3 Bakersfield College, No. 5 Moorpark, No. 7 L. A. Southwest, No. 11 Ventura, No. 14 Santa Barbara and No. 15 Glendale) among the top 15 in the JC Athletic Bureau’s final Southern California poll last year and could post comparable numbers this season.
“We should be a better team this year than we were last year,” 11th-year Valley Coach Chuck Ferrero said, “but . . . so are most of the other teams in our conference.”
Moorpark (9-2, 8-1 in WSC play) and Bakersfield (8-1-2, 7-0-2) are favored to defend their Northern and Southern division titles, but there are plenty of challengers.
Here is a look at Valley-area teams in the WSC and Antelope Valley of the Foothill Conference.
Glendale: If the Vaqueros are to regain their position among the WSC’s elite, they will have to improve on defense. Coming off a 10-2 season in 1988, Glendale dropped to 5-4-1 (5-3-1 in conference play) in ’89, surrendering 26.8 points a game. The offense, which averaged 32.5 points a game last year, should again be potent. Marco Arcipreste and Cole Speer, a transfer from Antelope Valley, will battle at quarterback. Cotie McMahon (5-foot-10, 160 pounds) leads the receivers. Fullback Wes Bender (5-10, 235), who gained 471 yards and scored 14 touchdowns, returns for second-year Coach John Cicuto. Free safety Keith Franklin (6-2, 215), an All-Northern Division second-team pick, leads a defense that lacks experience on the line.
Moorpark: Freddie Bradley (6-1, 187), a second-team All-American who rushed for 1,266 yards and scored a nation-leading 23 touchdowns in the regular season, will lead the Raiders, who are looking for their third consecutive bowl appearance under 12th-year Coach Jim Bittner. Jamal Anderson (5-11, 205), who gained 1,153 yards for El Camino Real High last year, and former Oxnard High teammates Bryant Taylor (6-3, 215) and Johnel Turner (6-0, 200) are highly regarded freshmen. Anderson was a Times All-Valley selection at linebacker but likely will play running back. Turner, the quarterback in Oxnard’s wishbone attack, will move to running back. Taylor, who rushed for 1,436 yards and 15 touchdowns last season at Oxnard, has missed early workouts because of high blood pressure. Del Marine (5-11, 190), Kris Dutra (6-0, 187) and Chris Gadomski (6-0, 157) are competing at quarterback. The defense is led by linebackers Randy Spitzer (5-10, 205) and Matt Pearson (6-0, 208) and defensive backs Kenny Doll (5-11, 158) and Mack Humphrey (6-0, 205).
Pierce: The Brahmas (4-6, 3-6) should be vastly improved entering their third season after a two-year hiatus. Quarterback Jamie Grossman, tailback Louis Vann and wide receiver Shannon Culver return for third-year Coach Bob Enger. Grossman, an All-Southern Division first-team pick, passed for 1,825 yards and 11 touchdowns in nine games last season. Vann rushed for 510 yards and four touchdowns, and second-team pick Culver had 35 receptions for 556 yards and four touchdowns. All-Southern Division first-team defensive tackle David Walker (6-3, 280) and second-team linebacker Anania Hufanga (6-1, 230) anchor the defense.
Valley: The Southern Division’s player of the year on offense (Trendell Williams) and defense (Sam Edwards) return for the Monarchs (5-5-1, 5-4). Williams, who threw for 1,107 yards and four touchdowns during the regular season, will set up behind a talented offensive line whose starters average 6-2 3/4 and 263 pounds. The secondary should be outstanding, led by Edwards (6-3, 200), the WSC interception leader (eight) during the regular season, and Lamark Allen (5-11, 186), who picked off three passes.
Ventura: Dick James, who coached Ventura from 1970-79, returns for a second term as the Pirates’ coach. One of his first tasks will be to break in Tim Albrent (6-2, 205), last year’s starting punter, at quarterback. The Pirates (7-4, 6-3) have three returning standouts in offensive lineman Carl Brewer (6-0, 280), kick returner Chris Thomas (6-2, 175) and defensive back Al Sanderson (6-0, 196), who had five interceptions during the regular season.
Antelope Valley: After posting a combined 16-4-1 mark in the previous two seasons, the Marauders fell to 3-6-1 (2-5-1) last year, but Coach Brent Carder, entering his 21st season, expects an improved product. Quarterback Marty Washington (a former Grambling State redshirt) and wide receiver-defensive back Johnny Johnson of Palmdale High are promising newcomers.