Banning High School's ascension to No. 1 in the national high school football rankings and its dominance over opponents this season--especially on defense--is reflected in The Times' 1986 All-South Bay high school football team, which features five Pilots on the first team and five on the second.
Banning Coach Chris Ferragamo calls his defensive 11 his best ever, and some coaches and scouts agreed. Eight of the Pilots' all-stars are on defense.
The Banning contingent is joined by choices from the South Bay's other top teams: three first-teamers apiece from Carson and Redondo and two each from South Torrance, Morningside, Miraleste and Palos Verdes.
The all-star team also has a first for the South Bay--the first eight-man player named to the first team. Chadwick star Jeff Kaufman, the quarterback/cornerback/punter who led Chadwick to an undefeated season and the CIF Eight-Man Conference title, is the all-star kicker.
The 23 first-team members, their coaches and parents will be guests of The Times at 9 a.m. Sunday at the annual Times High School Football Awards Brunch, where all-star teams from 10 circulation areas will be honored at the Anaheim Hilton. The featured speaker is Coach John Cooper of Rose Bowl-bound Arizona State. The South Bay back, lineman and coach of the year also will announced.
The teams were chosen on the basis of a poll of South Bay coaches, who are asked to fill out ballots nominating their own players and opponents, plus the observations of college scouts and sportswriters. In some cases two-way players are not listed at their primary positions. Some minor juggling is done to get the best players on the teams.
The first-team offense has junior Tim Fletcher of Mira Costa and Treamelle Taylor of Hawthorne at wide receiver, linemen Brian Kelly of South Torrance, Mark Comings of Miraleste, Mike Padilla of Banning, Tommy Luapo of Carson and Jimmy Porter of Morningside, Scott Yessner of Redondo at quarterback and Mike Silane of Miraleste, Steve Kujawa of South Torrance and Alvin Goree of Carson at running back. Goree and Kelly are repeaters from 1985.
The first-team defense is headed by a Banning quartet--tackles Terrance Powe and Tyrone Rogers, linebacker McCann Utu and safety Marvin Pollard. They are joined by linemen Alan Wilson of Carson and Derek Capper of Palos Verdes, linebackers Corey Brown of Morningside and Clint Mosley of Redondo and backs Damon Mack of Gardena, Mike Stone of Redondo and Austin Peters of Palos Verdes. Mack is the only junior on defense.
Fletcher and Taylor are among the smaller players, but both were big-play men. Playing for undermanned Mira Costa, the 145-pound Fletcher was a marked man in nearly every game but caught 48 passes for 1,009 yards and 10 touchdowns, five of them longer than 50 yards. His 21-yards per-catch average was fourth-best in the CIF. The fleet junior also returned kickoffs for touchdowns of 95 and 85 yards. Taylor, a two-year starter at Hawthorne at 5-10, 175 pounds, caught seven touchdown passes.
The player who launched a passel of touchdowns was Redondo's Yessner, who threw for about 1,500 yards in leading the Seahawks to their most successful season in a decade at 9-3. His top target was Stone, a two-way player listed at defensive back. The Redondo senior caught nine TD passes from Yessner and added another score on an interception return.
The running backs are familiar names to South Bay fans. Goree, the three-year Carson starter, is the Colts' all-time rushing leader with more than 2,000 career yards. He was named Pacific League most valuable player despite his team's second-place finish. A punishing blocker for running partner Calvin Holmes (who is on the second team), Goree rushed for 810 yards, averaged 8.6 per carry, scored nine touchdowns on the ground ant three more receiving and added a 99-yard kickoff return. Coach Gene Vollnogle summed up his play in two words: "The best."
The diminutive Silane, one of the area's leading scorers as a junior, rushed for nearly 1,500 yards and 15 touchdowns as a senior and played safety. When Miraleste quarterback Todd Hollingshead suffered a broken leg at the start of league play, Silane became the offense. But nobody stopped him. Coach Gary Kimbrell has described him as "a 6-2, 210-pound running back in a 5-6, 160-pound body."
The player clearing holes for Silane most of the time was Comings, the top offensive and defensive lineman for the Marauders. He had 47 tackles, five sacks and six tackles of backs for losses.
Kujawa, the area's scoring leader with 23 touchdowns, helped lead South to its best season ever as the Spartans made their first appearance in a conference semifinal. Kujawa, focus of the ground-oriented attack for the last two years, had about 1,300 yards rushing and showed surprising breakaway speed.