Lynwood is likely to bounce back as league champion, but should get plenty of competition, especially from Dominguez, defending champion Paramount and Cerritos.
1. LYNWOOD--The Knights, who had a 36-game unbeaten streak snapped by Paramount last year, return 15 lettermen, but new Coach Joe Hembrick said he hasn't been overly impressed by anyone in practice. "I was told they were good," said Hembrick, 33, an assistant under highly successful Larry Anderson (now at Katella). Kenya Simmons is an all-league safety. The other safety will be Jaime Fields, who has been moved from linebacker. Melvin Johnson, a 6-2, 275-pound senior, is a quality two-way lineman; Tracy Mao (6-2, 220) is a good linebacker/tight end, and Don Beard (6-2, 260) is a tackle on a strong offensive line. Sophomore Charles Levy is the quarterback.
2. DOMINGUEZ--The outlook remains bright for the Dons, who finished 6-3-2 last year, making the playoffs for the first time since 1971. Coach Willie Donerson has nine defensive starters returning, led by Marvin Hunt, a Times' All-South Coast linebacker; strong safety Eric Barnes, and twin cornerbacks Shintaro and Ryntaro Harris. Donerson is unsure of the quality of his offense, but he has three-year starter Trendell Williams at quarterback, Barnes at running back and the Harrises as receivers.
3. PARAMOUNT--"Last year was easy, this year we have to earn our money," said Coach Ken Sutch, who has eight starters back from last year's 10-2 team that beat Lynwood for the league title. The Pirates have an outstanding receiver in 6-4, 195-pound Darryl Hamilton, who runs the 40 in 4.7 seconds, and an all-league nose guard in Tony Cantillo, who has great lateral movement. Tailback Clarence Chaney and fullback Greg Bryant will do the running. Dan Henderson (defense) and Daryl Miller (offense) are top linemen. "We will work hard and get better week by week," predicted Sutch, who is glad he'll play Dominguez and Cerritos at home.
4. CERRITOS--Experience, the ground attack and defense are the Dons' strengths, according to Coach Wayne Manzo. Returning are tailback Darrell Thompson, who ran for 1,100 yards in 1986, and nose guard Michael Franklin, a second-team all-league selection. Among other top Dons are running back Tanoise Robinson, quarterback Doug Nelson, offensive tackle Jeff Duke, linebacker/offensive guard Glenn Kalimi and cornerbacks Brian Porter and Michael Pablo.
5. WARREN--The best Bear is Darius Turner, a 6-2, 220-pound fullback. A three-year starter, Turner also excels at linebacker. When Turner isn't running, speedy tailback Anthony Simmons is. There is a passing attack with quarterback Bob Prumean throwing to split end Mark Anderson and senior tight end Steve Davis. Coach John Hennigan expects his team to improve on last year's 4-4-1 record and compete with the league's top contenders.
6. DOWNEY--"A lot of time needs to be spent rebuilding this program," said new Coach Mark Karges, who takes over a team made up primarily of juniors. Karges, who came from Idaho, expects to have a good passing team, although quarterback Doug Rystorom is inexperienced. The receivers are Tommy Demarco, David Choe and 6-4, 200-pound tight end Scott Lanning. The Vikings also can run with junior backs Jeff Rodriguez (6-3, 198) and Jose Soto (6-1, 185). Linebackers Roger Bryan and Alfred Aguillar and back Matt Bean have been the only defensive players who have impressed Karges.
7. GAHR--The Gladiators, 1-9 last year, hope they have the experience to improve. Coach Darrell Walsh said that he has a good group of linemen for a change, among them Joel Hines and Robbie Carmen. Defensive leaders include linebackers Steve Combre and Antonio Montaldo and all-league back Oscar Montaldo. Fighting for the quarterback job are juniors Steve Brinkley and Todd Stott and senior Tom Lee. Receiver Doug Dehlinger is a two-year letterman. Seniors Rod Summers, Tim Young and Jason Archie are the running backs.