Over the years, Bishop Amat High School of La Puente has established a tradition of winning football games and producing numerous major-college prospects. This year was no different.
The Lancers completed their second consecutive perfect regular-season and Angelus League record, reached the CIF Big 5 Conference quarterfinals and finished with an 11-1 mark.
It was also a good year for individual players at Bishop Amat, as the composition of the 46-player first- and second-team 1986 Los Angeles Times All-San Gabriel Valley all-star squad will attest. The Lancers led all schools with five players on the first team.
Not surprisingly, all five players are considered major-college prospects. They are running back Eric Bieniemy, offensive linemen Richard Garrick and Troy Auzenne, linebacker Charles Fraley and defensive back Stephon Pace.
Three other schools that have grown accustomed to success--Muir, Los Altos and Damien--were next in line in all-star selections.
Pacific League champion Muir had four first-teamers in running back Ricky Ervins, quarterback Vince Phillips and defensive backs Marcus Robertson and Tony Crutchfield and second-team defensive lineman Chad Brown.
Sierra League winner Los Altos placed three players on the first team--wide receiver Steve Peters, offensive lineman Paul Rio and linebacker Ken Lopez--and three on the second team, quarterback Darren DeSpain, wide receiver Jim Snider and defensive lineman Garo Sirinian.
Damien, which won the Baseline League, landed running back-receiver Eric Henley and offensive lineman Dan Ruiz on the first team and tight end Tim Winn, offensive lineman Larry (Bubba) Bryant and linebacker Charlie Lough on the second squad.
The only other school with two first-team selections was Pasadena, with running back Anthony Wallace and defensive lineman Willie Minor. Temple City, Ganesha and Claremont each had one first-team and one second-team selection.
Bieniemy and Ervins were the only repeaters from last year's first team and Pace was the only junior on the first team.
Twenty schools are represented on the first and second teams.
The selections were based on a poll of 50 11-man football coaches in the Times San Gabriel Valley area, covering the San Gabriel and Pomona valleys. Players were selected on the basis of their regular-season performance.
Players from Montebello schools are considered for the Times All-Southeast team and players from La Canada schools are candidates for the All-Glendale squad.
The first teams from all Times sections will be honored at the annual Times High School Football Awards Brunch at 9 a.m. Sunday at the Anaheim Hilton, 777 Convention Way.
The program, sponsored by the Los Angeles Times Fund, will honor first-team all-stars from the San Gabriel Valley Section and nine other Times circulation areas: South Bay, San Fernando Valley, Glendale, Southeast, Westside, Central City, South Coast, Orange County and San Diego.
First-team players will receive a gold helmet plaque and a certificate.
The featured speaker will be John Cooper, who coached Arizona State to its first Pacific-10 Conference championship and a berth in the Rose Bowl.
The Times San Gabriel Valley Section's coach of the year, lineman of the year and back of the year will be named. The winners will receive trophies.
Parents and the head coach of each first-team all-star have been invited to the brunch. All head football coaches in the 10 areas are welcome.
Year in and year out, the valley seems to produce a surplus of outstanding running backs and this season was no exception. Twelve players surpassed 1,000 yards rushing.
Topping the list was Bishop Amat's Bieniemy, a powerful 5-8, 190-pounder who rushed for 1,869 yards and 29 touchdowns in 225 carries for an average of 8.3 yards a carry. The All-CIF performer, who has been named Angelus League Player of the Year the last two seasons, also holds career rushing records at Bishop Amat with 4,750 yards and 65 touchdowns in 715 carries.
That explains why Bieniemy was a prep All-America selection by Street & Smith magazine and Max Emfinger's National High School Recruiting Service and is being recruited by many of the top colleges in the nation, including UCLA, USC, Arizona and Colorado.
Ervins of Muir could be the most versatile running back in the San Gabriel Valley, having rushed for 1,473 yards and 20 touchdowns in 219 carries and caught 41 passes for 537 yards and four touchdowns. A three-year starter, the muscular 5-9, 185-pounder is the school's all-time rushing leader with about 3,500 yards.
Also an outstanding sprinter who has been timed at 4.4 seconds in the 40-yard dash, Ervins was on Emfinger's All-America team and is being recruited by colleges including USC, Colorado, Stanford, Purdue and UC Berkeley. With his 3.7 grade-point average, Ervins is also his team's academic leader.