Players named to The Times Westside All-Star High School Football Team helped accomplish some things that local fans will long remember. Notable achievements included:
- The resurgence of the St. Monica High School program under first-year Coach Angelo Jackson. The Mariners went from years of losing (2-8 last year, 1-9 in 1986) to a 9-2 record this year.
- The blocking of the Santa Monica offensive line, one of the best--maybe the best--in Southern California.
- The turnaround of Coach Al Dellinger's Venice High team from an uncharacteristic 1-7 last year to a more-like-Venice 7-3 this year.
- Brentwood's CIF Southern Section championship in 8-man football.
- The running of six backs who each gained more than 1,000 yards, generally regarded as a hallmark of excellence. The six are Mike Wagner and Diallo Hall of St. Monica, Erick McKinney of Venice, Mark Harper of Santa Monica, Mario Mattison of Fairfax and Jay Langan of Brentwood. Those runners and top players at other positions, including kickers, were chosen for this year's first and second teams.
The 23-man teams were selected primarily in a poll of prep coaches. The order in which a coach nominated his players was an important, but not necessarily decisive, factor for placing them on the first or second team. If a player was not nominated by his coach, he was not considered.
Some players are out of position because The Times attempted to select the best athletes, regardless of position.
The first team on offense has receivers Jason Lucky of St. Bernard and Michael Moore of Beverly Hills and linemen Kevin Kelly, John Ziegler and Dan Wagner, all of Santa Monica; Jesus Moreno of St. Monica and Mario Goins of Westchester.
The quarterback is John Johnson of Beverly Hills, and the running backs are Mike Wagner, Mattison and Harper. The kicker is Jay Fields of Hamilton.
On defense, the linemen are Steve Lopez of Venice, Derrick Quinn of Daniel Murphy, Nader Mousavi of Beverly Hills and Rynaldo Woodard of University. The linebackers are Craig Pringle of Fairfax and Jerry Black of Santa Monica.
Defensive backs are McKinney of Venice and Mark Ricks of Fairfax, Richard Talley of University, Paxton Griffin and Larry Avery of Westchester.
Members of the first team will be honored at the annual Times High School Football Awards Brunch at 9 a.m. Sunday at the Anaheim Hilton & Towers, 777 Convention Way.
Featured speaker will be second-year UC Berkeley Coach Bruce Snyder, a former Utah State coach and Los Angeles Rams assistant. Snyder guided the Golden Bears to a 5-5-1 record this season.
Sponsored by the Los Angeles Times Fund, the invitational event will bring together players on the first teams on all-star squads in 12 Times circulation areas: Westside, Central Los Angeles, Orange County, San Gabriel Valley, Southeast, South Coast, Glendale, Centinela-South Bay, San Fernando Valley, San Diego County, Inland Empire (Riverside and San Bernardino counties) and Ventura County.
Parents and the head coach of each all-star have been invited. All high school head football coaches are welcome. Each player will receive a plaque and certificate. A lineman, back and coach of the year will be announced for each Times section, and they will receive trophies.
Kelly and Pringle are the only first-team repeaters from last year. Lucky was a second-team selection last year.
The state's leading receiver in the regular season, St. Bernard's Lucky was also a defensive back and returned punts and kickoffs. In 10 games he had 73 receptions for 1,418 yards and 13 touchdowns. In one game he had 13 catches for 329 yards and 4 touchdowns, second on the Southern Section's all-time list.
In 10 games, Moore, who also is a defensive back, caught 47 passes for 1,053 yards (an average of 22.4 yards a reception) and 9 touchdowns for Beverly Hills. He is also a top basketball and baseball player.
Santa Monica Coach Tebb Kusserow said that Kelly, an All-Southern Section player as a junior, was one of the best linemen ever to play at the school. A hard worker, he also played on the defensive line.
Regarded as Santa Monica's second-best blocker behind Kelly, Ziegler was characterized by Kusserow as "strong, quick and physical."
A 3-year varsity player, Goins started as an offensive and defensive lineman for two years for Westchester and was equally tough in both capacities.
Wagner led Santa Monica in playing time, seldom coming out of the game either at offensive tackle, defensive end or linebacker. He led his team in sacks with seven.
Moreno started for three years as a 2-way tackle. He was the leading tackler for St. Monica this season and the glue of the offensive line.
In his first year as starting quarterback, Johnson of Beverly Hills completed 107 of 222 passes for 1,664 yards and 11 touchdowns during the regular season.