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High School Football Preview : Golden League

September 11, 1985

Antelope Valley

COACH: Brent Newcomb, 17th year

LAST SEASON: 8-4 overall; second in Golden League, 4-1

THE PLAYERS TO WATCH: Newcomb says that although his team is youthful, it is well-balanced and will probably make it to the Southern Section playoffs again. He has two all-league players in returning defensive lineman Matt Kimbro (6-2, 240 pounds) and linebacker Michael Fly (6-1, 170). Joining Fly will be middle linebacker Ryan Lie (5-11, 185), and fullback/linebacker Ted Metzgar (5-9, 165). Returning junior Eric Mortensen, who started at cornerback last year, will play at both corner and running back this season--with good reason. He is a league 100-meter, 200- and 220-meter sprint champion who has the agility and speed to excel at both positions. Sophomore Ron Whipple, who was brought up from the freshman team, will start at quarterback. "He's a young kid," Newcomb said. "But people will know about him." On the offensive line are James Richards, Brian Caldwell, Richard Bass, Harold Morrow, Billy Fox and Michael Stewart. All the receivers--Larry Rucker, Boyd Parker and Andre Coleman--are seniors. Coleman (5-6, 145 pounds) doesn't look like a wide receiver, but Newcomb says: "He's a scooter." Vincent Tolliver will share running back duties with Mortensen, and John Conedy will split his time at running back with Metzgar. Versatile Ricky Cage will play safety, punter and place-kicker.

OUTLOOK: "We don't have the big-play guys this season," Newcomb said. "Our quarterback and tailback went to Hawaii and others graduated. But we do have a good group and a solid nucleus of returning starters. It's more of a team this year because we don't have the game-breaker type kids. Everyone will have to chip in and do their part to help out the team."

Burroughs-Ridgecrest

COACH: Gene Vejtasa, 2nd year

LAST SEASON: 3-6 overall; tied for third in Golden League, 2-3

THE PLAYERS TO WATCH: Coach Gene Vejtasa lists 20 returning players on his 50-man roster. That gives him the experience most other Golden League teams are lacking this season. All of the Burros' defensive backs are returners, providing the team with defensive consistency and strength. Senior Alan Celestine, an all-league selection, will be joined at defensive back by John Carter, Ray Haleman. Gene McNabb will play cornerback. Linebacker will be led by Chad Walke, an all-league choice. The Burros also look strong offensively, with several returning starters in key positions. Senior Steve Burdette will be at quarterback, senior Jerry Gerrick, who was all-league, will be at wide receiver and senior Chad Stoner will be at fullback. Chad's brother, Neil Stoner, also a returning senior, will play outside linebacker. Haleman will see double-duty this season, splitting his time between defensive back and tailback. "I think we should be a little bit better on offense this season," Vejtasa said. "One of our goals for this year is that we want to be able to pass the ball effectively while developing a running game. We're aiming for balance on the offense." Another standout at Burroughs is returning senior Robert Scanlan, an offensive lineman and tackle, who weighs in at 230 pounds, but runs the 40 in 5.0. "He's big, but he has speed," Vejtasa said. "I think he's one of our better players."

OUTLOOK: "The major difference between last season and this season is a more balanced offensive attack," Vejtasa said. "Last season, we had Tim Lewis, who is now at Antelope Valley College, at running back and we concentrated on our running game. But, we should be able to make up for our change in offense with lots of returners."

Canyon

COACH: Harry Welch, 4th year

LAST SEASON: Northwestern Conference champions, 14-0 overall; Golden League champion, 5-0

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