Carpinteria Set to Make Run at Yet Another Title

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It’s hard to argue with success and the Carpinteria High football team has experienced a lot of it in recent years.

The Warriors have won four of the last six Tri-Valley League titles and are the preseason pick to run away with the 1996 crown as well.

That’s run, as in the Warriors’ ground game, a well-executed option attack that last season ground up defenses en route to a berth in the Southern Section Division IX championship game.


“We should be able to rush the ball again,” said Carpinteria Coach Ben Hallock, whose team was 11-3 overall and 4-0 in league last season. “I think we’re gonna win the league.”

Bishop Diego should finish a close second, as it did last year when its only league setback was a 9-7 loss to Carpinteria.

St. Bonaventure has dibs on the league’s third and final berth in the Southern Section Division X playoffs (the divisions were realigned this year) while Fillmore and Oak Park simply try to build competitive teams.

At Carpinteria, where the roster features 17 seniors and the junior varsity teams have not lost a league game the past two years, the top offensive players are seniors--tailback Douglas Burrell 6-foot-1, 220 pounds) and quarterback Wel-Jara Johnson (6-4, 205).

Burrell, a second-year starter and a second team all-league pick last season, rushed for 988 yards and 13 touchdowns.

Johnson started at outside linebacker last season and was the second-string quarterback. But he, like many of the Warriors’ substitutes, received plenty of playing time during a 14-game season filled with lopsided victories.


On defense, lineman Israel Evangelista (5-10, 218) was an all-league pick while recording 85 tackles and five sacks.

The big news at Bishop Diego is senior transfer Rand Holdren (6-3, 195), a quarterback from San Marcos High, where he threw for 1,153 yards and 11 touchdowns last season while leading the Royals into the playoffs.

Strong-armed and a dangerous scrambler, Holdren fills the Cardinals’ biggest need. And Bishop Diego Coach Norris Fletcher isn’t about to waste his passing talents, shifting the offense from a two-back set to one featuring a lone tailback and a flanker.

Senior Ruben Gomez (5-8, 180), an all-league pick last season, will see time at both those positions. The league’s best all-around player, Gomez also starts at safety and is on each of the Cardinals’ special teams.

St. Bonaventure’s program is on the rise but pockets of inexperience will likely strand the Seraphs in third place for a second consecutive year.

On defense the only weakness is at cornerback but on offense the entire running attack is questionable. Senior tailback Andre Pinedo (5-9, 173), junior tackle Andrew Jones (6-4, 237), sophomore tackle Robert Winson (6-3, 224) and senior center Eric Purdue (5-10, 174) are all first-year starters.


But the passing attack should shine if the protection holds up. Senior quarterback Teohua Sanchez (6-feet, 177) was an all-league pick last year after throwing for 1,926 yards and 13 touchdowns. Receiver Pepe Villasenor (5-7, 153) made 66 catches for 661 yards and tight end Joe Byrum had 35 catches for 521 yards.

Seraph defensive tackle David Bernal (6-1, 300) was the 1995 Ventura County small schools defensive player of the year after registering 14 sacks and 90 tackles.

Fillmore has a highlyqualified leader, first-year Coach Norm Andersen, but not much else.

Andersen, a longtime assistant at UCLA and Iowa State, inherits a program that hasn’t reached the Southern Section playoffs since 1991 and has won only three of 16 league games the past four seasons. Nonetheless, he’s upbeat.

“Other teams may be bigger, stronger, faster and have a nicer stadium but we’ll show up and see if we’re tougher,” Andersen said.

The Flashes will lean heavily on senior Tim Pillado (5-7, 150), a two-way starter at safety and tailback. Junior quarterback Martin Morales (6-0, 170) is an inexperienced left-hander with good skills and junior tight end-linebacker Ricky Hinojosa (6-2, 180) is touted by Andersen as a college prospect.

There have been few such prospects the past two years at Oak Park, where the Eagles return five starters and are again small and slow.


Quarterback Marques Massengale (6-1, 196) is a junior transfer from Calabasas who figures to take a beating. Massengale is also a likely starter at free safety.

Senior fullback-linebacker Dan Wasserman (6-0, 195), a 1995 second team all-league pick, is Oak Park’s top player. Other standouts are senior Kevin Howard (5-11, 205), a starter at offensive and defensive tackle, senior defensive end Teddy Chang (5-10, 170) and senior defensive tackle Eugene Holdgrafer (6-0, 200).



* THE PROVEN: Bishop Diego utility man Ruben Gomez is the league’s best all-around player. The 5-foot-8, 180-pound senior will line up at tailback, flanker and safety, plus return punts and kickoffs. Carpinteria’s top returning players are senior tailback Doug Burrell, who gained 870 yards and scored 14 touchdowns last year, and defensive lineman Israel Evangelista, an all-league selection last season. St. Bonaventure has the dangerous passing tandem of quarterback Teohua Sanchez (1,926 yards, 13 touchdowns) and receiver Pepe Villasenor (66 catches, 661 yards). Senior lineman David Bernal, whose 90 tackles included 14 sacks, was Ventura County small schools defensive player of the year in 1995.

* THE PROMISING: Three new quarterbacks could affect the league standings. Bishop Diego senior Rand Holden (6-foot-3, 195 pounds) transferred from San Marcos, where he passed for 1,153 yards and 11 touchdowns last year. Carpinteria senior Wel-Jara Johnson (6-4, 215) will take over the the Warriors’ option attack. Oak Park junior Marques Massengale transferred from Calabasas, where he was a junior varsity standout.

* FAST FACT: Bishop Diego Coach Norris Fletcher said he plans to retire after this, his eighth season. His departure will leave a three-way tie for league coaching seniority between Ben Hallock of Carpinteria, Jon Mack of St. Bonaventure and Dick Billingsley of Oak Park, each entering his seventh season.


Tri-Valley League Schedules


Sept. 13--at Nordhoff

Sept. 20--at Frazier Mtn.

Sept. 27--at El Segundo

Oct. 4--L.A. Baptist

Oct.12--Maranatha at San Marino High

Oct. 18--*Carpinteria

Oct. 26--*St. Bonaventure at Ventura High 1:30 p.m.

Nov. 1--*Oak Park

Nov. 9--*Bishop Diego at Santa Barbara College

Nov. 15--Santa Paula

Home Site

Fillmore High

Oak Park

Sept. 12--at El Segundo

Sept. 20--Calabasas

Sept. 28--Mary Star at Daniels Field

Oct. 4--at Nordhoff

Oct.11--at Moorpark

Oct. 18--Santa Clara

Oct. 26--*Bishop Diego at Santa Barbara City College

Nov. 1--*at Fillmore

Nov. 8--*Carpinteria

Nov. 15--*St. Bonaventure

Home Site

Oak Park High

St. Bonaventure

Sept. 13--Paraclete

Sept. 20--Bell-Jeff at Burroughs High

Sept. 28--Nordhoff, 1:30 p.m.

Oct. 4--at Santa Maria St. Joseph

Oct. 10--Harvard-Westlake, 1 p.m.

Oct. 17--*Bishop Diego

Oct. 26--Fillmore, 1:30 p.m.

Nov. 1--*at Carpinteria

Nov. 8--at Calabasas

Nov. 15--*at Oak Park

Home Site

Ventura High