Teams listed in predicted order of finish by Times staff writers. Calabasas
COACH: Larry Edwards, eighth year
LAST SEASON: 8-4-1; 1st in league, 3-1
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Calabasas is coming off the finest year in school history, having made it to the Desert Mountain Conference semifinals before bowing to Atascadero. Ranked fifth in the conference in the Southern Section preseason poll, the Coyotes will be young this year--as many as 14 juniors may start. Defensive tackle/center Scott Kirkpatrick (6-5, 210) and two-way tackle Mike Schaefer (6-5, 250), both all-league choices as juniors, return to form a strong tandem on both sides of the line. Senior linebacker Ed LeBlanc (6-2, 210) will also be counted on heavily to help out a young defensive unit. A secondary which led the conference in interceptions last year has been replaced by an all-junior lineup including free safety David Kalman (6-1, 190), who played defensive end on the sophomore team. The offense, operating mainly out of the I formation, will be directed by senior Ceo Wimmer (6-1, 195), a converted wide receiver who adds a running dimension. Senior fullback Scott Pensis (6-0, 213) has added some bulk, and junior tailback Mike Webb (6-1, 170) rushed for 122 yards against Oak Park in his first varsity game late last year. When the Coyotes decide to throw, senior tight ends Andy Link (6-5, 230) and Steve Probst (6-2, 225) will make big targets over the middle. Junior transfers Chris Margaris (6-0, 245) and Joe Olivo (6-1, 190) should start on the offensive line.
OUTLOOK: "Realistically, I think we're as good as anybody in the league," Edwards said. "It comes down to who makes the fewest mistakes when you play each other. We'll have to get our juniors to make an impact immediately."
COACH: Frank Greminger, 18th year
LAST SEASON: 6-5; 2nd in league, 3-1
PLAYERS TO WATCH: The Chargers will field a team larger and more experienced than last year's squad that lost only to Calabasas in league play. The offense is solid. Senior fullback Dave Friedl (6-0, 190) came on strong, rushing for more than 100 yards in each of his last two games. He will play in the backfield with senior Doug Hastings (6-0, 175) and strong-armed senior quarterback Scott Heflin (6-1, 170), who split time last season. One of the primary receivers will be senior tight end Shambi Huddleston (6-3, 215). A veteran offensive line is led by tackle Jon Tattersall (6-4, 230) and guard Dave Breuninger (6-4, 200). Defense is where Agoura, which allowed nearly 300 yards per game last season, must improve. Its strength rests with inside linebackers Friedl and Carrick O'Quinn (6-1, 190), a junior. Breuninger, an end, and senior tackle Gary Marino (6-1, 215) anchor the defensive line, while Hastings heads up a veteran secondary. Greminger has added DeWayne Wolbert (defensive backs and receivers) and Bob Blechen (offensive line and linebackers) to the coaching staff.
OUTLOOK: Agoura could very well win the league title this year. "If we can make people play us honest, we should be OK," Greminger said. "We have to establish a running game despite a lack of speed. This should be the best defensive team we've had in three years. I think we should be right there looking for a league championship."
COACH: Cliff Farrar, first year
LAST SEASON: 2-8; 4th in league, 1-3
PLAYERS TO WATCH: The team has a good nucleus of seniors who possess good size and speed. Normally a running team, the Rangers are putting their emphasis on passing in their new one-back, run-and-shoot offense. Junior Jeremy Anthony (6-0, 170) and senior Jason Savard (6-3, 175), who did not play football last year, are battling for the starting quarterback job. All-league wide receiver Craig Terry (5-9, 165) is a game-breaker on special teams, with five returns for touchdowns last year. Senior tailback Rob Dalto (5-10, 185), a third-year starter, was leading the team in rushing until he suffered a mid-season shoulder injury. Center Mike Salka (6-3, 225) and tackle Erin Powers (6-6, 275), both seniors, are a formidable combination on the offensive line. Defensive standouts include Powers at tackle, Dalto at middle linebacker and junior Rob Lasby at strong safety. The Rangers are also strong at placekicker. Terry, who kicked a 44-yard field goal last year, and junior Steve Blundell, who had a 52-yarder for the sophomore team, are fighting for the starting job. Blundell will handle the kickoff and punting duties.
OUTLOOK: Farrar is taking over a team which appears to be on the rise after a dismal 1986 season. "We're concerned about the lack of a winning attitude," Farrar said. "There hasn't been a winning season here in five years. That's a challenge. We're changing from a running to a throwing philosophy to open up the game. It gives a small school a chance to beat anybody."
COACH: Steve Dann, fourth year
LAST SEASON: 4-6; 3rd in league, 2-2