For fans of Westside 11-man CIF football teams who put a lot of credence in pre-season polls, things look bleak for this fall.
Only Santa Monica is mentioned as a top-10 team in its conference in a CIF poll. Beverly Hills, Culver City, Murphy, St. Bernard and St. Monica are expected to be also-rans.
Santa Monica (6-4 overall and 5-1 in the Bay League last year) is tabbed as seventh-best in the Southern Conference. But the Vikings are without Pat O'Hara, their all-everything quarterback who is now at USC, and Coach Tebb Kusserow is relying on someone who has thrown but three passes, Randy Bongard.
Beverly Hills, St. Bernard and St. Monica have similar woes.
The Normans (6-4, 3-2 in the Ocean League) are forced into converting Larry Borlenghi, tight end last year, into a quarterback, while Coach Duke Dulgarian at St. Bernard (7-4, 6-1 in the Camino Real League) is torn among three possible starters.
At St. Monica (3-5-1, 2-4-1 in the Camino Real League), Coach Dan Escalera is counting on having a seasoned veteran in Steve Haynes, who quarterbacked the team two years ago and returns after a season at Trinity Academy in Addison, Tex., where he was a wide receiver.
Frank Dolce returns at Culver City (4-5-1, 2-3 in the Ocean League), but the senior quarterback injures his left shoulder (he's right-handed) about as frequently as Joe Namath used to injure his knees.
At Murphy (2-8, 2-3 in the Santa Fe League) quarterback Renato Velasquez threw for 1,300 yards last year, but an inexperienced line may impede his production.
If these quarterbacks can put up good statistics, these six teams may surprise some opponents, pollsters and fans.
Here is a scouting report on each of the Westside's 11-man CIF teams:
Co-coaches: Bill Stansbury, Dick Billingsley.
1985 record: 6-4 overall; 3-2, 3rd in league.
Offense: Pro formation. Defense: Split 6.
Key returnees: OFFENSE: Luis Neve, FB, 5-10, 190, Sr.; Willie Crawford, RB, 6-1, 185, Jr.; Chris Harding, WR, 5-10, 155, Sr.; Erez Gottlieb, T, 6-3, 225, Jr.; Alan Glazer, P, 5-10, 180, Sr. DEFENSE: Chad Nellis, DE, 6-0, 165, Sr.; Scott Freedman, DT, 6-1, 190, Sr.; Nemo Kahn, LB, 5-10, 180, Sr.; Neve, LB; Crawford, LB; Max Goranilk, DB, 5-9, 170, Sr.; Virgil Romero, DB, 5-8, 150, Sr.
For three years, Beverly Hills relied on one quarterback, Eric Mueller. But Mueller is at El Camino College and co-Coaches Bill Stansbury and Dick Billingsley didn't think they had anyone in the wings to take over.
So they took their best athlete and essentially said, "All right, now you're a quarterback."
Larry Borlenghi, a 6-3, 185-pound senior, played numerous positions last year, including tight end, wide receiver and safety, but he has never thrown the football.
Although Stansbury said Borlenghi did well during spring practice and the summer passing league, the coach said the Normans will not throw as often as in the past. Mueller passed about 30 times a game last year.
Stansbury said he'll rely more on his running game, spearheaded by Luis Neve, a 5-10, 190-pound fullback, and Willie Crawford, a 6-1, 195-pound tailback. Both started the final three games last season.
Alan Glazer is the other big offensive weapon. The 5-10 punter was first-team All-Northwestern Conference last year with a 43.3 average.
Up front, Beverly Hills is small, averaging about 210 pounds, a turnaround from the days when its offensive linemen weighed closer to 250. But Stansbury said all are fast and strong.
Erez Gottlieb, a 6-3, 225-pound junior tackle, can bench-press about 300 pounds, the coach said.
The strength defensively will be linebackers Nemo Kahn, a 5-10, 180-pound senior, Neve and Crawford. But as with the offensive line, the defensive line lacks size. Scott Freedman, the starting tackle, is only 6-1, 190.
SCHEDULE (* denotes conference game):
S 12 at North Torrance
S 20 at Harvard 3 p.m.
S 26 Torrance 3 p.m.
O 2 Palisades 3 p.m.
O 11 Agoura 3 p.m.
* O 17 Hawthorne 3 p.m.
* O 24 at Mira Costa
* O 31 at Inglewood
* N 7 Santa Monica 2:30 p.m.
* N 14 at Culver City
Home games at Beverly Hills High.
Coach: Fred Fuller.
1985 record: 4-5-1 overall; 2-3, 4th in league.
Offense: Run and shoot. Defense: Split 4.
Key returnees: OFFENSE: Frank Dolce, QB, 6-1, 200, Sr.; Kayton Carter, WR, 6-0, 180, Sr.; Karlos Carter, WR, 6-0, 180, Sr.; Bob Delarossa, T, 5-11, 230, Sr.; Adrain Applewhite, T, 6-2, 245, Sr. DEFENSE: Kayton Carter, DE; Karlos Carter, DE; Jay Gould, LB, 5-9, 170, Sr.; Hoon Hahn, DB, 5-8, 160, Sr.; Kenny Ware, DB, 5-9, 175, Sr.
Fred Fuller, entering his eighth year as head coach, said this team will be better than his 1985 squad that finished 4-5-1 and 2-3 in Ocean League play. But he has only six lettermen to back up the prediction.
Of course, when your team is pass-oriented, it certainly is a huge plus to return your starting quarterback and wide receivers.