Fairfax, the Westside’s outstanding team, dominated selections for The Times’ 1990 Westside All-Star High School Football Team.
The Lions, who bounced back from a 3-6-1 season last year to finish 11-1, have six players on the 23-man team chosen primarily in a poll of coaches. Fairfax didn’t make its comeback with depth; the team had nine two-way starters on a 29-man roster.
Other schools with more than two selections were Westchester and Beverly Hills. Each landed three players on the first team.
Westchester (8-3) provided Fairfax with its chief competition in the Coastal Conference of the City Section 3-A Division. Beverly Hills (6-6), the only Westside team to advance past the first round of the Southern Section playoffs, gave opponents fits with its superior passing game.
The order in which a coach nominated his players for all-star consideration was an important factor, but not necessarily a decisive one. If a player was not nominated by his coach, he was not considered.
Some players are out of position because The Times attempted to select the best athletes, regardless of position.
The first team offense includes receivers Darren Smith and David Saraf of Beverly Hills, tight end De-Milo Bynum of Fairfax and linemen Manny Nieto of St. Monica, Brin Morimoto of Venice, Chris Ziegler of Santa Monica and Avetis Avetisyan of Hollywood.
The quarterbacks are Rahim Muhammad of Fairfax and Ziv Gottlieb of Beverly Hills, and the running backs are Walter Grissam of Westchester and Mario Mattison of Fairfax. The kicker is Rick Heineman of Culver City.
On defense, the linemen are Wes Smith of Westchester, Eric Gronemeyer of Brentwood, Mark Hochberg of Culver City and Eduardo Payan of Fairfax. The linebackers are Cosie Bridwell of Westchester, Mark Walker of Venice and Lee Brothers of Fairfax.
Defensive backs are Keith Walk-Green of St. Monica, Tharen Todd of Fairfax, Jesse Elkins of Hollywood and Jim Ramming of Santa Monica.
There are no repeaters from last year. Mattison was named to the 1988 first team and the 1989 second team. Other second-team selections last year were Grissam, Heineman, Wes Smith and Walk-Green.
The outstanding back, lineman and coach of the year from each of the 12 Times circulation areas--whose names have yet to be announced--will be honored at a breakfast and awards ceremony at 8:30 a.m. Sunday at the Anaheim Hilton Hotel & Towers, 777 Convention Way.
The invitational event, sponsored by the Los Angeles Times Fund, is only for the 36 winners of the highest awards from 12 Times circulation areas: Westside, Central Los Angeles, Orange County, San Gabriel Valley, Southeast, South Coast, Glendale, Centinela-South Bay, San Fernando Valley, San Diego County, Inland Empire (Riverside and San Bernardino counties) and Ventura County.
Darren Smith was a big-play man for Beverly Hills. He had 40 catches for 903 yards (an average of 22.6 yards a reception) and five touchdowns. His coach, Carter Paysinger, called him the fastest player in the Bay League and a strong candidate to play NCAA Division I football.
The sure-handed Saraf, the top possession receiver for Beverly Hills, had 53 receptions for 969 yards and nine touchdowns in 12 games. He averaged 18.3 yards a catch.
Bynum played flanker and cornerback at Fairfax and excelled at both positions. He had 39 catches for 630 yards and eight touchdowns. A hard-hitting tackler, he also returned a blocked field goal 99 yards for a touchdown.
An offensive guard and the long snapper for St. Monica, Nieto was also an excellent linebacker. A three-year starter, he had 80 tackles and 20 assists this season.
A Venice team captain, Morimoto put his great strength and quickness to good use as a blocker. He holds every school weightlifting record, including a 400-pound bench press.
Ziegler was quick on his feet and blocked consistently well. A two-year starter, he carried on a family custom of furnishing top offensive linemen for Santa Monica. His brother, John, was named to the 1988 All-Westside team.
An offensive tackle, defensive end and team captain for Hollywood, Avetisyan was all-league as a sophomore and as a senior. On defense, he had 112 tackles and 12 sacks and blocked four kicks.
A profuse, yet proficient passer, Gottlieb was one of the best in the Southern Section. He completed 168 of 326 passes (51.5%) for 2,639 yards and 20 touchdowns and set several school records.
Muhammad was the force that drove Fairfax, whether running, passing or making big plays. He was the Coastal Conference and Metro League player of the year. As a runner, he had 106 carries for 842 yards and 11 touchdowns. As a passer, he completed 78 of 134 attempts for 1,146 yards and 11 touchdowns.
Grissam gained 1,525 yards in 220 carries (an average of 6.9 yards a carry) and scored 11 touchdowns on runs and one on a pass reception. He was Westchester’s top scorer this year and last. He scored 82 points in 1990, including five two-point conversions.
Mattison missed three games because of injury and illness, but in only eight games, he rushed for 975 yards in 168 carries (a 5.8-yard average) and eight touchdowns. He was also a top defensive back and never came off the field, playing also on special teams.
Heineman stood out as a tight end and a linebacker, and he filled in capably at quarterback when the starter was injured. He was one of the Southern Section’s leading punters with an average of 39.6 yards a kick. His longest punt carried 55 yards.
Wes Smith, a two-way lineman and special teams player, and Westchester teammate Grissam were chosen Western League players of the year. Smith was his team’s leading tackler with 31 solos and 84 assists and also topped the Comets with 13 1/2 sacks.
Brentwood Coach Pat Brown called Gronemeyer, who played linebacker, “one of the most dominating players” in eight-man football. He averaged 10.5 tackles a game and often had two blockers assigned to him.
A fierce pass rusher, Hochberg was the heart of the defensive line for Culver City Coach Lou Lichtl. Small for a lineman at 5-foot-10 and 180 pounds, he nevertheless averaged 2.5 sacks a game.
Ron Price, Fairfax co-coach with Earl Smith, called defensive end Payan “one of the best outside pressure players I’ve ever coached.” He had 20 sacks, recovered two fumbles, forced three fumbles and returned an interception 55 yards for a touchdown. He also played tight end.
Bridwell moved from strong safety as a junior to linebacker this year without a drop in efficiency. He averaged more than 7 1/2 tackles a game, recovered a fumble and had three interceptions.
A defensive back and running back, Walker also returned punts and kickoffs for Venice and was a team captain. On defense, he had 42 tackles and 33 assists; on offense, he rushed for 754 yards in 154 carries and seven touchdowns.
Brothers, a dominating middle linebacker, averaged more than 14 tackles and nearly one sack a game for Fairfax. “Lightning-quick and hits like a freight train” was Coach Price’s assessment of him. He also played fullback.
Walk-Green was the best all-around player that St. Monica Coach Angelo Jackson had, playing free safety, fullback, linebacker and wide receiver and returning kickoffs. He had a 94-yard kickoff return. At safety, he had 98 tackles, five interceptions and forced four fumbles.
A free safety and wingback, Todd missed the first two playoff games with a sprained toe, but he was the leader of a Fairfax secondary that permitted only four touchdown passes in the regular season. In nine games, he averaged seven tackles and had five interceptions and two fumble recoveries. He was also a capable runner, receiver and scorer.
Elkins was a good quarterback and punted and kicked well for Hollywood Coach Dave Loera. But he probably was at his best as a safety, where he had 82 tackles, six interceptions and three fumble recoveries.
A team captain for Santa Monica Coach Tebb Kusserow, Ramming was a two-year starter. He had great quickness and a nose for the football. The defensive back had six sacks.
1990 PREP FOOTBALL ALL-STARS
FIRST TEAM OFFENSE
Name School Position Height Weight Year Darren Smith Beverly Hills WR 5-11 175 12 David Saraf Beverly Hills WR 5-10 160 11 De-Milo Bynum Fairfax TE 5-10 165 12 Manny Nieto St. Monica OL 6-0 215 12 Brin Morimoto Venice OL 5-7 265 12 Chris Ziegler Santa Monica OL 6-2 235 12 Avetis Avetisyan Hollywood OL 6-3 225 12 Ziv Gottlieb Beverly Hills QB 6-3 180 11 Rahim Muhammad Fairfax QB 5-10 173 11 Walter Grissam Westchester RB 5-7 165 12 Mario Mattison Fairfax RB 5-10 170 12 Rick Heineman Culver City K 6-3 190 12
FIRST TEAM DEFENSE
Name School Position Height Weight Year Wes Smith Westchester DL 6-0 190 12 Eric Gronemeyer Brentwood DL 6-5 215 12 Mark Hochberg Culver City DL 5-10 180 12 Eduardo Payan Fairfax DL 6-3 195 12 Cosie Bridwell Westchester LB 5-7 170 12 Mark Walker Venice LB 5-9 155 12 Lee Brothers Fairfax LB 6-1 210 12 Keith Walk-Green St. Monica DB 6-0 175 12 Tharen Todd Fairfax DB 5-10 156 12 Jesse Elkins Hollywood DB 5-9 160 12 Jim Ramming Santa Monica DB 6-1 175 12
SECOND TEAM OFFENSE
Name School Position Height Weight Year Moriba Camara Hollywood WR 5-10 170 12 Chris Johnston Culver City WR 6-0 165 12 Albert Jones Westchester TE 6-2 190 12 Glenn Vargas Fairfax OL 5-11 215 12 Ernesto Carillo St. Monica OL 6-3 260 12 Nigel Edwards Venice OL 5-10 250 12 Arash Feydzjou Beverly Hills OL 5-11 215 12 Dion Bergeron St. Monica QB 6-0 195 12 Larry Elmer University QB 6-2 185 11 Greg Holmes Beverly Hills RB 5-8 160 12 Nail Benjamin St. Monica RB 6-0 175 11 Dan Pena Venice K 6-0 175 11
SECOND TEAM DEFENSE
Name School Position Height Weight Year Brandon Bilderrain Santa Monica DL 6-0 212 12 Ryan Watson Fairfax DL 6-0 220 12 Delroy Bernard Westchester DL 5-11 180 12 Bryan Lockridge Palisades DL 5-11 185 12 David Shin Daniel Murphy LB 5-9 180 12 Robert Hughes University LB 5-10 185 12 Chris Wade Culver City LB 6-1 185 11 Tim Kusserow Santa Monica DB 5-11 147 11 Charles Gillum Fairfax DB 6-0 197 11 Alvin Cooley Venice DB 5-6 145 11 Matt Stringfellow Brentwood DB 5-11 185 12