COACH: Myron Gibford, 10th year
LAST SEASON: 1-8; 4th in league, 1-6
PLAYERS TO WATCH: The fact that junior Brandon Ruedy (6-0, 190), a linebacker-tight end last season, is the team's quarterback should give some indication that Gibford is trying to shake up things. "We had to find somebody who could do the job," he said. "We were terrible last year." Senior Kyle Beck (5-10, 150), who rushed for 136 yards as a reserve last year, is the best of a good corps of running backs that also includes seniors Michael Hamilton (6-0, 160), a converted receiver; Kenya Smith (5-10, 165), a transfer from Kansas; and juniors Mukasa Crowe (5-10, 160) and Rayna Stewart (5-9, 165), who will come off the bench. "We're going to alternate," Gibford said. Junior tight end Keyawn Murphy (5-10, 165) was the best receiver on last year's B team. Senior Bobby Hayes (6-0, 240), who returns as center and team captain, is the only experienced lineman. Senior linebacker Greg Garrison (6-1, 240) begins his third varsity season. Senior defensive back Pat Minooei (5-8, 155), a transfer from El Camino Real, is small, "but he is a hitter," Gibford said. Junior Delvon Hardaway (5-11, 160) will play defensive back and wide receiver.
OUTLOOK: Chatsworth ranked 16th last season both offensively and defensively among Valley-area City Section teams. Consequently, Gibford is stressing a wide-open attack. "But it's going to be hard," he said. "(A record of) 6-3 is going to be a great year for us. Granada Hills and San Fernando are loaded."
COACH: Darryl Stroh, 5th year
LAST SEASON: 8-3; tied for 1st in league, 6-1
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Stroh is up to his whistle in talented skill-position players. "We're going to throw the ball a lot better than we did last year," he said. Senior Chris Gadomski (175 attempts, 85 completions, 1,158 yards, 4 touchdowns) didn't fare too badly last season. If Gadomski doesn't measure up, junior Brian Martin (6-2, 175), a transfer from Illinois, is ready. "It is conceivable that he will start," Stroh said. "We're looking to start the best player." Granada Hills has plenty of experience. Among the returning starters are senior tailback-defensive back Leon Glasgow (5-9, 175, 372 yards rushing), senior wide receivers William Moringlane (6-3, 210, 26 catches, 466 yards) and Jermaine Love (6-0, 165, 8 catches, 106 yards, 1 touchdown) and senior guard Terence Bito (6-1, 224). Junior running back Brett Washington (6-0, 215, 616 yards rushing), also a returning starter, probably is the team's fastest player. Senior tight end Charles Carpenter (6-1, 185) moves from backup to a starting role. Defensively, juniors Derrick Stewart (5-10, 185) and Robert Haywood (6-1, 185, 4 interceptions) return in the secondary. Junior nose guard Robert Kalinowski (6-0, 215) is the best prospect of a still-to-be-determined line. The same goes for the offensive front. "That's really going to be our area in question," Stroh said. Senior tackle Bart Barbuscia (6-1, 240) played backup last year.
OUTLOOK: The Highlanders are flooded with talent and experience on both sides of the line. Stroh likens this year's crew of skill-position players to the crop that fashioned a City Section 4-A Division championship two years ago. "That's where the talent that we know of is," he said.
COACH: Bob Francola, 4th year
LAST SEASON: 7-5; 3rd in league, 4-3
PLAYERS TO WATCH: All-conference tailback Ontiwaun Carter (5-11, 175), who rushed for 1,190 yards and nine touchdowns and caught 13 passes for 184 yards as a sophomore, is one of the best players in the Valley this fall. "He electrified people as a 10th-grader," Francola said. "And he's bigger and stronger." Senior wide receiver Jason Rosen (5-11, 165) caught nine touchdown passes in the L. A. Games this summer. Senior Tony Vasquez (5-11, 170, 36 attempts, 12 completions, 216 yards, 2 touchdowns), who started at quarterback the final three games of last year, will lead a run-and-shoot offense. Sizable offensive linemen David Boghossian (6-2, 270) and John Jones (6-2, 275), both are seniors and both bench press more than 350 pounds. Junior wing back-safety Keith West (6-0, 175), an all-league soccer player, also will be the punter. West had five interceptions last year. Senior Ryan McGrath (6-6, 220) will start at wide receiver and middle linebacker. Junior defensive back Damon Tice (6-0, 190) was the B team's hardest hitter last season. Sophomores Anthony Jones (5-10, 160) and Alex Swasky (6-0, 205) are vying for starting positions in the secondary.
OUTLOOK: Kennedy probably would be the best team in the West Valley League, the North Valley's sister league. But competing in the same league with Granada Hills and San Fernando is a tough lot. Still, with Carter, Kennedy is capable of scoring against anyone from anywhere on the field. "If we can combine a running and passing game, we'll be difficult to stop."
COACH: Tom Hernandez, 8th year
LAST SEASON: 8-4; tied for 1st in league, 6-1