COACH: Jim Nottoli, 1st season
LAST SEASON: 2-8; 6th in league, 0-5
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Nottoli has his work cut out for him as he inherits a team that finished last in league play and posted overall records of 2-8 in each of the past three seasons. A lack of stability over the past four seasons also has hurt the Spirits, says Nottoli, the fourth coach in as many years. But Nottoli is looking for immediate results from the skill positions to compensate for the Spirits’ lack of depth in the trenches. Tailback George Ordaz (5-10, 200) returns with all-league credentials and could be the Spirits’ best offensive weapon. “He’s got good speed and he’s very powerful,” said Nottoli, an All-Southern Section wide receiver at Paraclete in 1980. “He was our strongest guy this year in our weight program.” Ordaz has bench-pressed 325 pounds, Nottoli said. Chris Cherioli and junior Drew Loringer will compete for the quarterback job, but Cherioli will have the edge because of his varsity experience. Junior Chris Anderson (6-6, 230) is a valuable asset at tight end. Wide receiver Ed Joyce (6-2, 175) should figure prominently. Linebackers Frank Stanley, Mike Pokorney, Nathan Betz and Ordaz will make up the backbone of the defense.
OUTLOOK: With only 26 players on the team, many starters will play both ways, particularly the linemen. A solid backfield and a strong secondary should help the Spirits move out of the league basement. “I told the kids to write down their goals for the season and most of them were set on winning the league title,” Nottoli said. With 1989 Division IX runner-up Tehachapi and semifinalist Bishop also competing for league honors, a rags-to-riches journey might be too much to ask.