COACH: Bill Foster, 4th year
LAST SEASON: 4-5; 5th in league, 3-4
PLAYERS TO WATCH: After averaging just 7.8 points and 122.7 yards a game last season, the Lancers should feature a much-improved offense directed by quarterback Matt Westmore (5-8, 165), a wide receiver in 1987. His prime targets will be returning starter Sean Goldman, Harvard High transfer John-Paul Anderson and Jake Bresher, who played at the B level in 1987. Returning tight end Guy Fontaine (6-2, 175) adds to the Lancers' aerial depth. Tackle Nick Avilla (6-4, 250), a starter as a sophomore, and guard Mike Ant (6-1, 240), will be the stalwarts on the offensive line. The Lancers' defensive front will be led by tackle Anthony Milton (6-0, 225) and nose guard Seung Rho (6-2, 190), both of whom started as sophomores last season. Edwin Manning (5-8, 175) will lead the linebackers and cornerback Marlo Lewis (5-11, 165) and free safety Jason Vanderport (6-1, 175), a transfer from Long Beach Poly, anchor the defensive backfield.
OUTLOOK: "We have a lot of inexperienced kids," Foster said. "But we have more raw talent this year than we did last year." Defense should again be a Lancer strength--they gave up only 184.1 yards and 15.3 points a game last season--especially if they combine it with a more potent offense.
COACH: Fred Grimes, 3rd year
LAST SEASON: 6-3; 4th in league, 4-3
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Though 67% of last year's offense, in the person of Chip Grant, graduated in June, Grimes is not fretting over the Huskies' running back situation. Grant rushed for 1,900 yards and scored 28 touchdowns in 1987, but Grimes said that a superb offensive line had much to do with those numbers. Four of those linemen, tackles Paul Shepodd (6-3, 250) and Fernando Godoy (5-11, 245), guard Randy Costales (5-10, 225) and center Gil Pulido (5-11, 220), return. Jerry Andrews, a 5-11, 170-pound junior, will start at quarterback and Mike Goldsmith (5-8, 155) and Tim Sutton (5-10, 170) will vie for the tailback position. Russell Greene (6-2, 220), the Huskies' top returning player at tight end and outside linebacker, might be moved to fullback.
OUTLOOK: "If we stay healthy, we should be all right," Grimes said. "But if we get many injuries, we're in trouble." Fielding only 33 players, the Huskies simply don't have the numbers to replace injured starters.
COACH: Kevin Kennedy, 2nd year
LAST SEASON: 2-7; 7th in league, 1-6
PLAYERS TO WATCH: After surrendering 21.8 points and 310 yards a game last season, the Parrots will concentrate on defense in 1988. In pursuit of that goal, Kennedy has recruited players from Poly's East Valley League champion baseball team. Catcher Harold Whiteside (6-2, 185) will start at tight end and linebacker. Jeremy Buendia (6-0, 240), an offensive guard-defensive tackle in 1987, will lead Poly's defense at nose guard. Jessie Contreras (6-1, 210) will play offensive guard and defensive tackle, and Leo Piloto (5-10, 195) will start at inside linebacker and fullback. Francisco Albarran (6-4, 230) and Ulias Diaz (6-5, 260) add muscle to Poly's defensive line and Locke transfer Joseph Allen (5-8, 165), the strongest player on the team, will play inside linebacker. Renaldo Mirales (5-10, 175) returns at center and Eddie Lopez and Jason Kemp will vie at quarterback.
OUTLOOK: "A lot depends on our defense," Kennedy said. "We've improved a lot there, but we're very inexperienced. If we can play consistently good defense, however, we'll be shooting for a playoff spot."
COACH: Jeff Engilman, 2nd year
LAST SEASON: 4-3-1; 5th in league, 3-4
PLAYERS TO WATCH: With 14 starters returning, the Spartans will field a hungry veteran team. Jerome Casey (6-0, 185), who rushed for 1,179 yards in 138 carries as a sophomore, has improved. Donald Ward (6-0, 210) and Robert Augustus (5-11, 225) will alternate at fullback and Chris Pikes (6-2, 170) and Shawn Aleshire (5-11, 170) will vie for the quarterback job. The offensive line is the Spartans' most experienced unit, consisting of tight end London Woodfin (6-3, 220), guards David Rice (6-0, 210) and Martin Llerenas (6-2, 220), tackles Hector Contreras (6-2 1/2, 235) and Tim Marceau (6-3 1/2, 245) and center Sergio Soto (5-11, 225). Defense should be a Spartan strength again--they allowed only 184 yards a game last season.
OUTLOOK: Depth is Engilman's biggest concern as the Spartans have only a 38-player roster, necessitating several two-way starters. "Conditioning is going to be paramount for that reason," Engilman said. "We'll have to be in great shape to prevent injuries."