COACH: Charley Mack, 2nd season
LAST SEASON: 3-6; 3rd in league, 3-4
PLAYERS TO WATCH: When Mack took over the varsity in 1989, his goal was to instill a team concept in which no player would stand out from the rest. He said he has attained that goal while turning around the attitude of the program 180 degrees. “Based on the current attitude and improvement of the team, I think we are looking for a playoff position,” Mack said. Helping in the Dons’ quest to secure a playoff berth will be senior wide receivers Joe Letscher (5-foot-7, 150), Tim Fagan (6-2, 180), and Brian Burdett (6-0, 175). Fagan, who also starts in the secondary, picked off five passes last season. Senior Noel Alvarado (5-8, 170) will start at quarterback despite having no previous experience at the position. “We are sure Noel will do a fine job for us. We just haven’t been able to find a 10th- or even an 11th-grader who we could play and have gain experience,” Mack said. Moving the ball on the ground will be juniors Justin Jamison (5-8, 160), who will start at tailback, and Justin Van Fleet (5-9, 180). Eric McDonagh (6-2, 220) and Robert Rodriguez (5-10, 200) will anchor the line on offense and defense.
OUTLOOK: Verdugo Hills was outscored, 245-92, last season, so a playoff berth this season is certainly a lofty goal. “We have more speed than we have had in the past, but that’s not saying much for Verdugo Hills,” Mack said. “But we are a smaller, quicker team all the way through.”