Football coaches adore consistency. They stress it and preach it to their players.
At La Mirada High School, Kelly Brooks is known as Mr. Consistency. Every week he would dazzle spectators with his pounding style of running. Brooks ground out 2,003 yards and scored 28 touchdowns. When Matador Coach Ray Mooshagian needed the big play, Brooks made it.
Brooks' effort in leading La Mirada to the co-championship of the Suburban League and into the second round of the CIF Southern Section's Central Conference playoffs landed him on The Times All-Southeast football team.
Three of his TDs came on pass receptions and another was a kickoff return. He averaged 167 yards a game rushing. He also averaged 39.9 yards as a punter.
Small wonder he was also named Offensive Player of the Year in the Suburban League. "Kelly is a total football player," Mooshagian said. "He is the best all-around player that I have coached. He's an outstanding student, player and has an outstanding attitude."
Brooks heads a trio of first-team running backs that also includes Rodney Bowman of Valley Christian and Rene Barton of Whittier. The group combined for more than 5,000 yards and 65 touchdowns.
The fourth member of the backfield, quarterback Eric Rubalcava of Schurr, threw for more than 2,800 yards and 27 TDs. He did not throw an interception in his first six games.
Brooks and his All-Southeast teammates survived by being consistent.
Fifteen schools are represented on the first and second teams selected from the Southeast area, with Olympic League champion Valley Christian and Whitmont League champion El Rancho leading with four first-team choices each. La Mirada placed three on the first team.
Awards Brunch Sunday
The 23 first-team members will be honored at The Times' Football Awards Brunch Sunday morning at the Anaheim Hilton hotel. Featured speakers will be Lt. Gen. Winfield Scott Jr., superintendent of the Air Force Academy, and Bruce Johnson, defensive coordinator at the academy.
Awards for back of the year, lineman of the year and coach of the year will be announced at the brunch. Those selections will be published Dec. 19.
The Times selects two offensive and two defensive teams from each of 10 geographic zones in Southern California.
The following Southeast area players were selected to The Times' first team based on information supplied by coaches, college scouts and staff writers:
OFFENSE Quarterback--Eric Rubalcava, Schurr (5-10, 170, Sr.). Rubalcava threw for just 400 yards as a junior, but in his final season he passed for 2,871 yards and 27 touchdowns. He completed 137 of 226 passes (60.6%) and was intercepted just six times. He would have reached 3,000 yards had three long TD passes not been called back by penalties. He led Schurr to a 10-2 record and into the second round of the playoffs.
Wide receiver--Frank Mazzotta, St. Paul (6-0, 180, Sr.). His quickness and hands made him the big-play man. In helping St. Paul (7-4) to its first playoff appearance in three seasons, Mazzotta averaged a touchdown every third catch. He caught 24 passes for 594 yards and eight touchdowns. He accounted for 78 points and also place-kicked. Mazzotta developed into a complete player, capable of filling his role as much or more away from the ball as with it.
Tight end--Rory Ewing, Pius X (6-5, 180, Sr.). A standout linebacker as a junior, Ewing had no clue that he would be asked to play tight end when summer practice started. Coach Ken LaVigne had been anticipating the return of All-Southeast tight end Jonathon Scott, but Scott suddenly decided not to play football. Ewing, although bothered by a knee problem, was forced into a two-way role. He responded with 25 catches for 311 yards and four TDs. He averaged 12.4 yards per catch, but he made the team primarily for his outstanding blocking ability.
Lineman--Javier Calderon, El Rancho (5-8, 200, Sr.). In the trenches, coaches refer to offensive linemen as "the skilled players." Calderon fit right in. He is the classic El Rancho lineman: undersized, gutty and trench-smart. His ability to trap-block earned him back-to-back All-Whitmont League honors at guard and he was a major factor in the Dons' drive to the second round of the playoffs. "He's the best guard we've had since I've been here," said Coach Don Peterson, who has been at El Rancho 17 seasons.
Lineman--Rudy Garay, El Rancho (5-10, 210, Sr.). A two-way starter at tackle, Garay was a key element in the Dons' wing-T offense, which gained more than 3,000 yards rushing. Peterson called him "our best one-on-one blocker." He also fit into the mold of the traditional El Rancho lineman and was the most improved player on the team by the end of the season.
Lineman--Steve Baker, Norwalk (6-1, 222, Sr.). Baker was a co-captain and a two-time All-Suburban League choice at guard. The team's most valuable lineman, he led an offensive line that protected a quarterback who threw for more than 900 yards and cut holes for a running back who gained more than 1,000.