Carotid artery pulsating.
More often than not last fall, Jeff Engilman looked every bit the sideline bulldog, the raging coach with the underbite to match. His raspy voice was all bark and all bite.
A picture of Engilman recently appeared along with a newspaper feature story on the colorful Sylmar High football coach. As usual, his jaw jutted forward and his eyes looked like laser beams. He looked like a guy in the electric chair.
“The picture was great,” said Sylmar Principal Linda Ambro, who regularly views games from the sidelines and admits that watching Engilman is every bit as entertaining as watching his teams.
“We’re thinking about having it made into a T-shirt.”
Engilman’s players sure did cotton to his motivational tactics. The local silk-screening company can expect an upturn in business, because it’s a safe assumption that Sylmar also will order shirts that read: “1992 City Section 4-A Champs.”
Behind the fiery Engilman, 42, Sylmar upset Carson, 17-0, in the 4-A final to earn the school’s first football championship. Carson had not been shut out in 157 games dating to 1980.
For his efforts, Engilman has been selected The Times’ Valley coach of the year.
Sylmar finished 13-1 after falling to Bishop Amat, 31-10, in the inaugural CIF/Reebok Bowl game at Anaheim Stadium. Not bad for a team playing its second season at the 4-A level. Sylmar was the first Valley team to be seeded No. 1 in the City large-division playoffs since the storied San Fernando teams of the 1970s.
In Engilman’s six-year tenure, Sylmar is 51-15-1. The Spartans are 33-4 over the past three seasons.
In fact, area coaches soon might be forced to amend a long-standing reference to the Valley’s City football powers. City coaches from the area typically answer, “The Big Three,” when asked which Valley teams are the strongest, a reference to the successful programs at San Fernando, Granada Hills and Kennedy.
Times might be changing. The talent-thin trio combined to land only one player on the 1992 Times All-Valley first team. Sylmar is represented by Art Larrea, George Brazil, Tyrone Pierce and Tyrone Crenshaw. Each earned All-City 4-A honors and Crenshaw, a junior, was selected the division’s player of the year.
Located just a few miles north of Sylmar is the football-crazed Santa Clarita Valley, which produced both The Times’ Valley lineman and back of the year.
Senior running back Deriek Charles of Hart was the most productive player on the region’s most spectacular offense. Saugus Coach Jack Bowman, whose team was beaten by Hart, 42-13, called Charles “the best back I’ve seen since Russell White.”
Charles excelled in Hart’s up-tempo, run-and-shoot scheme and generated numbers that just as easily could have qualified him as an All-Valley receiver--which he was as a junior. He caught 44 passes for 757 yards and eight touchdowns this season.
When Hart decided to run, Charles also was a game-breaker. He carried 104 times for 1,133 yards and 15 touchdowns. Overall, he averaged 12.8 yards every time he caught or carried the ball.
Saugus center Shawn Stuart, of course, can’t stand around comparing his statistics to those of Charles. Linemen rarely carry the ball. The pair do have something in common, though, which underscores Stuart’s value: They shared Foothill League player-of-the-year honors.
Stuart, considered one of the best major-college lineman prospects in the state, is being recruited by several Pacific 10 Conference teams.
LINEMAN OF THE YEAR
Shawn Stuart, Saugus: Many good teams have a solid building block at center. For Saugus, Stuart was a monolith and the centerpiece of the team’s wing T offense.
BACK OF THE YEAR
Deriek Charles, Hart: Was the focal point of the region’s most spectacular offense. Had 1,890 total yards and 23 touchdowns.
COACH OF THE YEAR
Jeff Engilman, Sylmar: Won a City Section title in second year of 4-A Division play.
1992 PREP FOOTBALL ALL-STARS
Name: Tim Cronk Position: Kicker School: Hart Height: 6-0 Weight: 165 Year: Senior
Name: Jerry Brown Position: Running Back School: Taft Height: 5-11 Weight: 176 Year: Sophomore
Name: Davis Delmatoff Position: Quarterback School: Hart Height: 6-0 Weight: 200 Year: Senior
Name: Eliel Swinton Position: Running Back School: Montclair Prep Height: 5-10 Weight: 185 Year: Senior
Name: Scott Mitchell Position: Running Back School: Agoura Height: 6-0 Weight: 175 Year: Senior
Name: Deriek Charles Position: Running Back School: Hart Height: 5-9 Weight: 165 Year: Senior
Name: Jason Rempel Position: Lineman School: Calabasas Height: 6-4 Weight: 245 Year: Junior
Name: David Pratchard Position: Lineman School: Canyon Height: 6-5 Weight: 260 Year: Junior
Name: Lonny Neuhaus Position: Lineman School: Poly Height: 6-6 Weight: 290 Year: Senior
Name: Jabarha Henry Position: Lineman School: Monroe Height: 6-7 Weight: 268 Year: Senior
Name: Shawn Stuart Position: Lineman School: Saugus Height: 6-4 Weight: 280 Year: Senior
Name: Jared Halverson Position: Wide Receiver School: Hart Height: 6-1 Weight: 180 Year: Senior
Name: Art Larrea Position: Lineman School: Sylmar Height: 6-4 Weight: 305 Year: Senior
Name: Paul Sauter Position: Lineman School: Alemany Height: 6-0 Weight: 245 Year: Senior
Name: Faio Emelio Position: Lineman School: Granada Hills Height: 6-3 Weight: 250 Year: Senior
Name: Tyrone Pierce Position: Linebacker School: Sylmar Height: 6-3 Weight: 225 Year: Senior
Name: Heath Renfro Position: Linebacker School: Antelope Valley Height: 6-1 Weight: 195 Year: Senior
Name: George Brazil Position: Linebacker School: Sylmar Height: 6-3 Weight: 225 Year: Senior
Name: Brian Powers Position: Linebacker School: Chaminade Height: 6-0 Weight: 210 Year: Senior
Name: Tyrone Crenshaw Position: Back School: Sylmar Height: 5-11 Weight: 180 Year: Junior
Name: John McLaughlin Position: Back School: Hart Height: 6-4 Weight: 217 Year: Junior
Name: Jibri Hodge Position: Back School: Saugus Height: 5-10 Weight: 150 Year: Senior
Name: Bobby Cowan Position: Back School: Saugus Height: 6-1 Weight: 185 Year: Senior