1996 RECORD: 5-6 overall, 3-2 in league
COACH: Toby Howell (5-6 at school)
RETURNING STARTERS: 4 on offense, 3 on defense
Richie Gomez, OLB, 6-0, 170, Sr.; Jeremiah Goyena, OT, 6-0, 265, Jr.; Trevell Jackson, FB, 6-0, 210, Jr.; Brent Lindemeyer, OG, 5-11, 190, Sr.; Matt Stanley, DE, 5-11, 180, Sr.; Cesar Valdivia, DB, 5-10, 165, Sr.; Scott Vandygrift, OT, 6-6, 290, Sr.
Jason Baughman, QB, 6-0, 175, Jr.; Brandon DeForrest, SE/DB, 6-1, 175, Sr.; Damien Keoho, RB/LB,5-10, 185, Sr.; Rich Mollinedo, WB/DB, 5-9, 170, Jr.; Ivan Ramirez, WB/DB, 5-9, 170, Sr.; Matt Render, TE/DE, 6-2, 185, Sr.
Howell proved he's a better coach than a psychic last season after he predicted the Pioneers would finish fourth and miss the playoffs. They finished third and were rewarded by having to face Servite in the first round of the Division V playoffs. The Friars pummeled Western, 50-7. Howell, in his second year as successor to his father, Jim, who coached 17 seasons at the school, has one of the county's top linemen in Vandygrift, who has attracted the attention of UCLA, Nebraska and Colorado among other Division I schools. He's not the only one with experience on the line as Lindemeyer and Goyena had plenty of playing time last season. Keoho is a transfer from Cypress who will give Western some extra legs to go along with Jackson in the backfield. The current senior class lost only one game as freshmen and sophomores, so last season's losing record was an aberration as far as they're concerned. "About 40% of that freshman team is on this team," Vandygrift said. "Last season wasn't a lot of fun for some of us. It was more of a learning experience." Western will be tested early against two tough nonleague opponents: Rancho Alamitos and Los Alamitos.
Sept. 11 vs. Loara; 19 vs. Cypress; 25 vs. Rancho Alamitos at Bolsa Grande HS.
Oct. 3 vs. Los Alamitos; 10 vs. Santa Ana Valley; 17 vs. Anaheim at Glover Stadium; 23 vs. Savanna at Glover Stadium; 31 vs. Brea Olinda.
Nov. 6 vs. Magnolia; 13 at Valencia.