1997 RECORD: 5-6 overall, 4-1 in league
COACH: Manny Saiz (9-13 at school)
RETURNING STARTERS: 3 on offense, 3 on defense
Chris Del Campo, OL/LB, 5-11, 205, Sr.; Nai Fotu, OL/LB, 5-10, 200, Sr.; Ty Gardner, TE, 6-3, 210, Sr.; Florim Gociu, K, 5-10, 200, Sr.; Thomas Heathington, OL, 5-10, 230, Sr.; Francisco Rivera, DB, 5-9, 160, Jr.; Emanual Stanciu, RB, 5-10, 170, Sr.
Jeremy Bulrice, OL/DL, 5-10, 220, Sr.; William Flamenco, WR, 6-0, 180, Jr.; Jeff Keller, DB, 6-0, 170, Jr.; Cory Lynn, DL, 5-11, 230, Sr.; Earl Parker, QB, 6-4, 185, Jr.; Jermaine Reed, WR, 5-11, 185, Sr.
Last year will stay in Saiz's memory for some time, and not for good reasons. He had geared his 23 seniors toward winning the league title, and they held a 3-0 lead on eventual champion Sunny Hills until the Lancers struck with a 50-yard touchdown pass with 35 seconds left. The Coyotes were 1-5 after that loss and could have packed in the season but rallied with four straight victories. What adventures await Buena Park this season are unknown in part because the skill position players are untested. The heart of last year's offense--all-league rusher Brian McDonald (1,362 yards, 10 TDs)--graduated, and a replacement hasn't emerged. Saiz does have a quarterback prospect in Parker, so much so that he wants the Coyotes to pass as often as they run. "Parker has a nice arm and good size, but he needs to improve reading defenses," Saiz said. If the offense struggles, Saiz will need Gociu to make more than the three field goals he made last season. The schedule, which includes a stretch of four consecutive away games, isn't an easy one. Buena Park will have to mature quickly or suffer the consequences.
Sept. 11 vs. Brea Olinda; 18 at La Mirada; 24 vs. Cypress.
Oct. 1 vs. Savanna at Glover Stadium; 8 vs. Kennedy at Western HS; 16 vs. Sonora at La Habra HS; 23 vs. Sunny Hills; 30 vs. Troy.
Nov. 6 vs. La Habra; 13 vs. Fullerton.