One thing is for sure when looking at the Glendale area's 11 City and CIF teams before they open the 1985 high school football season: There's plenty of room for improvement as the seven CIF schools kick off prep play this weekend and the four City schools prepare for next week's opening practice games.
Judging from last year's performances, every team could use a few changes. Some could use more.
Although St. Francis and Hoover in the CIF and City's Marshall qualified for the playoffs, none advanced past the first round. The rest sank like stones, including Glendale, which has a 20-game losing streak.
In other words, there weren't many victory chants last year.
The coaches, seven of them new last year, hope this season will be different. Things could hardly get worse.
The new season has brought change to Crescenta Valley. Jim Beckenhauer replaces Gordon Warnock, who left after a 1-9 season, worst in the school's history. At Hoover, which qualified for the playoffs for a history-making second-straight year in 1984, Coach Fred Cuccia's Tornadoes should turn some heads with 17 starters returning.
Hoover quarterback John Alaimo heads players to watch in 1985, according to Dick Lascola, director of the Fallbrook-based Scouting Evaluation Assn. Other players to watch are La Canada kicker/running back Rob Myers and Franklin's Rene Williams.
Here's a look at the Glendale-area CIF and City teams:
Crescenta Valley (Pacific League, Coastal Conference)--Beckenhauer replaces Warnock, who after 18 seasons at the Falcon helm left to coach defense at Pasadena City College. Warnock didn't leave much for Beckenhauer, who coached the sophomore squad for two years. Seven starters return from last year's 1-9 team.
But Beckenhauer is optimistic. He doesn't predict a better season for Crescenta Valley, he guarantees it.
"I can guarantee that we'll be a better football team than last year. It's no fun to be 1-9. I just want to bring a winning reputation back to this program. It's lost a little bit."
Beckenhauer plans to rebuild via the air. This summer he revamped the passing attack, relying on the arm of junior quarterback Carl Lomas (5-9, 170) who passed for about 800 yards in 1984. Although summer passing league results weren't spectacular, Beckenhauer said the Falcons will throw more in 1985.
Eleven juniors will start, five on offense and six on defense. Much like last year, Beckenhauer said about five players are expected to start both ways, including senior running back/linebacker Jim Lobianco (6-0, 170), senior running back/defensive end Jose LaPorte (6-2, 205), who makes his debut in the offensive backfield after playing offensive tackle in 1984; senior offensive guard/nose guard Jeff Lewallen, junior center/linebacker Jerry Harris (6-2, 200) and receiver/defensive back Mike Muhlethaler.
Crescenta Valley opens against visiting La Canada tonight at 7:30 p.m.
Eagle Rock (Northern League, City 2-A)--Coach Dennis Shaw returns for his second year after a 3-6 season. Thirteen lettermen and six starters are returning for Shaw, who believes things are starting to come around for the Eagles.
"I feel like things are looking up," Shaw said. "We have more people out for the team and our offense should be much more balanced."
Much of Eagle Rock's success depends on its ability to throw the football. Shaw said junior quarterback Mitch Gravino (6-1, 160), who threw for three touchdowns in limited action in 1984, will lead a restructured passing attack.
"He shows signs that he can be a real good quarterback for us. We've built our offense around the ability to throw," Shaw said.
Protection for Gravino will center around junior tackle Jose Nunez (5-7, 210) and second-team All-Northern League center/defensive guard Mario Provenzano (5-8, 195). Other returnees include All-Northern League tailback/linebacker Mike Acosta (5-4, 160), flanker/cornerback Mark Soto (5-8, 175) and senior running back/defensive tackle Steve Tracy (5-9, 175), an offensive guard in 1984.
Eagle Rock travels to Glendale on Sept. 19 to open its practice round.
Flintridge Prep (Prep League, (Large) Eight-Man Conference--There are only a few definites and a list of unanswered questions as Coach Brady Lock begins his second year as the Flintridge skipper. The Rebels have only six lettermen, three defensive starters and no offensive starters from last year's 4-5 squad that finished 2-2 in league. Lock might as well get the plaster ready because he has a lot of holes to fill.
"I guess you'd call this a rebuilding year," Lock said. "It's gonna take us a while."
But the Rebels don't have that long to wait, as they open the practice season at Buckley High on Saturday at 7:30 p.m.
Only second-team all-league senior linebacker Jeff Blanchard (5-11, 185) and juniors Joe Bachand, a 5-10, 150-pound lineman, and Colin Cambell, a 6-0, 190-pound linebacker, remain on defense.