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1987 Preview : Valley Football : High School Previews : Channel

September 10, 1987

Rio Mesa

COACH: John Reardon, 21st year

LAST SEASON: 4-6; 6th in league, 2-5

PLAYERS TO WATCH: Reardon must replace his entire offensive backfield and both wide receiver positions. Junior Geoff Freedman (5-9, 165), an occasional starter at tailback, will be the featured ballcarrier in Rio Mesa's I formation. Possible fullbacks include juniors Jonathan Severn (5-10, 175), Wyatt Anderson (5-9, 150) and Lance Northcutt (6-0, 215). Northcutt may end up on the offensive line, where the Spartans are weakest despite the return of senior tackle Charlie Craig (6-5, 240), who missed the final seven games of the season with appendicitis. Severn also plays defensive back, and Northcutt will start at linebacker. Senior Keith Mims (6-3, 195) is expected to play tight end and defensive end. Leading aspirants at wide receiver are senior Darrick Jones (6-3, 185), a returning starter at defensive back, and junior Paul Ordonez (6-1, 180). Reardon is calling for a return to a more physical brand of football than Rio Mesa played last season. "Our football has always been rock 'em, sock 'em," he said. "Last year we got away from that. We tried to finesse it last year, and we finessed ourselves right out of contention."

OUTLOOK: "I think we'll be in there fighting for it," Reardon said of a Coastal Conference playoff berth. "We're going to have to go with a junior football team." Rio Mesa will battle defending Channel League champion Oxnard, along with traditionally strong Ventura and Santa Barbara. Reardon said Buena and Hueneme may also contend.

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