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Valley's Elite Will Retain Lofty Status

June 27, 1987|STEVE HENSON | Times Staff Writer

This is going to sound awfully familiar, but look for the Crespi and Hart football teams, the Simi Valley and Cleveland basketball teams and the Canoga Park and Poly baseball teams to dominate the Valley during the next school year.

The undercurrent of underclassmen that led those teams to excellent records should keep underdogs from unseating them next year. This trend should undermine unpredictable finishes.

These teams are for you if you love a pat hand, a lock horse, lunch at noon, dinner at six. If you want surprises watch a U.S. Open.

Crespi football Coach Bill Redell will call Russell White's number. Should White slump and rush for 500 less yards than he did last season as a sophomore, he'd still pile up 1,854.

Simi Valley basketball Coach Bob Hawking will get Don MacLean the ball underneath the basket. Should MacLean lose his touch and score 100 less points than he did last season, he'd still average 21.5 a game.

The Canoga Park baseball coach--whether Doug MacKenzie is allowed to return for a 38th season remains to be seen--will pencil in a rotation of Mike Kerber and Adam Schulhofer. Should each lose two more games than he did last season, they'd still have a combined record of 16-5.

Hart football Coach Rick Scott no longer has quarterback Jim Bonds, but Darren Renfro will do nicely and will have plenty of time to pass behind the Indians' fine line.

Cleveland basketball Coach Bob Braswell again will have an eight or nine-man relay team of racehorses.

FOOTBALL

After being the top Valley team for three years, Canyon finished third behind Crespi and Hart in last season's final poll. The Cowboys might fall farther after losing every starter at the skill positions.

Granada Hills was fourth in the Valley last season and could challenge for No. 1 this year if Crespi and Hart slip. Quarterback Jeremy Leach, receiver Sean Brown and fullback Jamaal Farmer give the Highlanders a potent offense.

Among the other top 10 teams, look for three schools that have returning skill-position players--Thousand Oaks, Reseda and Burroughs--to remain strong. Kennedy, Harvard and Cleveland could slip from sight.

Sleepers: An opponent had better be leery when it faces Alemany, Taft or Chaminade.

BASKETBALL

Granada Hills slipped into second in front of Simi Valley and behind Cleveland in the final poll after winning the City 3-A title. However, the Highlanders, along with three other teams that reached the finals at the Sports Arena--Westlake, Saugus and Birmingham--could plummet.

Granada Hills loses two-time All-Valley center Gary Gray and two other starters. The three other teams all lose at least three starters.

Alemany, Kennedy and San Fernando, which finished Nos. 8 through 10 last season, have a chance to push into the top five.

Sleepers: Crespi could bounce back from its disastrous season. Hart has a new coach in Greg Herrick, who had great success at Cleveland. Notre Dame has an excellent sophomore class.

BASEBALL

Crespi, the No. 3 team behind Canoga Park and Poly, could fall if Coach Scott Muckey leaves to take a job at Canyon. Chatsworth, Simi Valley and Hart each return an excellent nucleus and 20-win seasons are distinct possibilities.

Sylmar's Olonzo Woodfin, the Valley Pitcher of the Year, could post nearly 20 wins himself--he had 11 this year despite a mid-season shoulder injury.

Sleepers: Notre Dame, good this year under first-year Coach Bob Mandeville, might regain its Del Rey League reign. Next year's junior and senior classes at Newbury Park both won Marmonte League sophomore championships.

Either San Fernando, Granada Hills or Kennedy will assert itself in the Mid-Valley League--somebody should after the league was up for grabs all this season.

VALLEY ATHLETES OF THE WEEK IN 1986-87

Selected by sportswriters of The Times

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