1996 RECORD: 4-7 overall, 3-2 in league
COACH: Manny Saiz (4-7 at school)
RETURNING STARTERS: 8 on offense, 9 on defense
Tony Alonzo, QB, 5-11, 180, Sr.; Bud Feigel, OL, 6-3, 300, Sr.; Roberto Gutierrez, RB/FB, 5-11, 210, Sr.; Brian McDonald, RB, 5-11, 205, Sr.; Jabari Phillips, TE/LB, 5-11, 190, Sr.; Gilbert Ramos, DL, 5-11, 205, Sr.; Tyrone Wimberly, DL, 6-3, 270, Sr.
Call it the Fullerton plan. Two years ago Buena Park put its sophomores on the field and took it on the chin, going 0-11. Last year, after being promoted from defensive coordinator to head coach, Saiz had two goals for his juniors; end the losing streak (which they did in the season opener) and make the playoffs. Both goals were met. This year, with a batch of first- or second-team all-league selections among the 20 returning players, Saiz believes he has the talent to win a league title. This is the path Fullerton took to the league championship in 1995. Saiz will take another part of the Fullerton formula, revolve the offense around premiere back McDonald (1,477 yards, 21 touchdowns). Rival league coaches say McDonald has (college) Division I ability. With a nonleague schedule that includes stops at Brea Olinda and Kennedy, McDonald well have to run well and often to give Alonzo a chance to get comfortable as the starting quarterback. Feigel and Gutierrez will make sure McDonald has space to operate. The defense, which gave up 30 or more points in six of the 11 games, won't rival that of Sunny Hills but should not be as porous this season. How much of a passing game Buena Park develops could ultimately decide its fate. But if Saiz and staff can create an attack to match McDonald's efforts on the ground, the Coyotes may be ready to howl.
Sept. 12 at Brea Olinda; 19 vs. Estancia; 27 at Glendora.
Oct. 3 vs. Savanna; 9 vs. Kennedy; 17 vs. Sunny Hills; 24 vs. Troy at Fullerton HS; 31 at La Habra.
Nov. 7 at Fullerton; 14 vs. Sonora.