Whitmont League powers Bell Gardens and El Rancho each placed five players on The Times Southeast All-Star High School Football Team.
The selections are a reflection of the successful seasons the two teams have had--Bell Gardens was league champion and finished 11-1, while El Rancho, league runner-up, is 11-2 and has reached the CIF Southern Section playoff finals.
La Mirada and Warren each have three players on the team that was selected by sports writers based on a poll of coaches.
First-team players from throughout Southern California will be honored at a breakfast and awards ceremony at 9 a.m. Sunday at the Anaheim Hilton, 777 Convention Way. The featured speaker will be UC Berkeley football Coach Bruce Snyder.
The All-Southeast team:
David Ramos, lineman, Bell Gardens--This powerful 255-pound, drive-blocking tackle was offensive lineman of the year in the Whitmont League. Almost 80% of the Lancers' plays were run behind Ramos, who started the last 26 games of his career.
Chris Andresen, lineman, Warren--Blocking is the specialty of Andresen, who moves well for a 285-pound tackle. A strong, hard-working junior, he is expected to be a factor next season on defense as well as offense.
Memo Watkins, lineman, Bell Gardens--Although a junior, Watkins is called "the best guard I've coached here" by Bell Gardens Coach Dave Newell. A possessor of great agility, Watkins was the pulling guard on sweeps. "He destroyed people," Newell said.
David Lopez, lineman, El Rancho--"Scientists say bumblebees shouldn't be able to fly because their wings are too small, so we call Lopez 'bumblebee,' " El Rancho Coach Dick Shelko said. The 5-foot-7, 238-pound Lopez does not look like he should be a quick, outstanding blocker, but is. "He plays like a giant," Shelko said.
Anthony Cruz, lineman, El Rancho--A team captain, the 6-4, 227-pound Cruz used his attitude and strength to become a steady tackle. In a playoff victory over Ramona, Cruz dominated bigger players. "He's a potential college player because he's still in the growth cycle," Shelko said.
Jess Gonzalez, tight end, El Rancho--In the Dons' wing-T offense, most of the plays were run toward Gonzalez, who had to block the defensive tackle. His leg strength enabled him to do the job well. He also was a clutch receiver. His grade-point average is above 3.
Greg Willig, quarterback, St. Paul--The sixth member of the Willig family to play for the Swordsmen, he was the Angelus League's offensive MVP of the year, completing 132 of 253 passes for 1,739 yards and 12 touchdowns. "Along with his strong arm, he is a great leader and very intelligent," St. Paul Coach Miguel Olmedo said. At 6 feet 6, he was able to set up in the pocket and read defenses well.
Charles Levy, quarterback, Lynwood--He amassed 2,496 yards in total offense and scored 18 TDs. He also was brilliant as a kickoff returner, a punt returner, a defensive back and a wide receiver. Lynwood Coach Joe Hembrick said Levy improved his passing this season, throwing for 760 yards although receivers often dropped the ball.
Ralph De LaTorre, back, El Rancho--A 3-year starter, De LaTorre gained 1,500 yards and scored 25 TDs this season. Mostly, he ran trap plays up the middle, spinning, rolling off blocks, driving, refusing to go down. He also excelled on defense and was voted by his teammates as the Dons' most valuable player.
Rudy Ramirez, back, Bell Gardens--So shifty that no one got a real shot at him, the 145-pound Ramirez ran for 1,071 yards and was fifth in the state in scoring with 23 touchdowns. He caught four passes for TDs and returned three punts for scores.
Mike Valenzuela, wide receiver, Montebello--Although he was All-Whitmont League as a tight end, Valenzuela was also effective as a wide-out. He caught 29 passes for 475 yards and 2 TDs. "Anything close to him he catches," Montebello Coach Doug Rihn said.
Scott Yamasaki, kicker, Warren--Very effective from 30 yards and closer, Yamasaki kicked 13 field goals. One of 42 yards. He also served as a defensive back and receiver.
Mickey Jackson, lineman, La Mirada--Opponents tried to run away from him whenever possible, but the 6-5, 285-pound Jackson still had 68 tackles and 8 quarterback sacks. "If he had the grades he could go anywhere in the country," La Mirada Coach John Mele said of Jackson, the defensive lineman of the year in the Suburban League.
Chris Grajales, El Rancho--The strongest and quickest of the Dons' linemen, Grajales was known for his charges off the line of scrimmage. "He recognizes blocking patterns well and he'll fight through double-teams," Dons coach Shelko said of Grajales, co-leader of the team in sacks with 10.
Darrell Brooks, lineman, Warren--A strong, extremely quick tackle effective in pursuit, Brooks was in on 90 tackles and had 9 sacks for Coach John Hennigan's Bears.