PLAYERS TO WATCH: Poly has 27 returning players, including 18 starters. But Cuccia, who inherited a downtrodden team in late August, 1989, and the Parrots still have their work cut out. Poly has won just three of its past 20 games. Senior running back Jonathon Campbell (5-11, 192), who grew an inch and gained nearly 20 pounds since last season, will carry most of the load once again for Poly. Campbell, who was the City's third-best rusher, carried the ball 200 times for 1,159 yards (5.8-yard average) and scored 12 touchdowns. Junior Lance Garcia (5-9, 160) returns at quarterback and, according to Cuccia, "will run the option a lot." Marlon McKinney will start at wide receiver. Senior Eddie Moreno (6-3, 260) will anchor the offensive line. Cuccia is looking for big things from senior transfer Allen Clemens (6-2, 225), who probably will start at inside linebacker. Also at linebacker is David Vargas (5-9, 190), who is up from last year's B team, and Jack Lovridge (6-3, 240) will line up at defensive tackle. Senior Raul Torres (6-1, 165), who has never played football for Poly, has caught Cuccia's eye at safety after turning in what the coach described as an "outstanding summer."
OUTLOOK: "We are overly optimistic of the abilities of this football team to perform. We set very high standards and we have met them," Cuccia said.
COACH: Jeff Engilman, 4th season
LAST SEASON: 7-3, 2nd in league, 5-2
PLAYERS TO WATCH: The loss of Jerome Casey, who scored 26 touchdowns last season and rushed for 1,447 yards as a senior, might take its toll on Sylmar, but don't count the Spartans out just yet. Engilman has strong, experienced offensive linemen in seniors Chris Schultz (6-0, 210), Kenny Green (6-2, 235), and Ezel Henry (6-1, 255). "Jerome would drool for this kind of experience," Engilman said. Green and Henry were all-league selections last season. Engilman thinks Danny Terry (5-10, 175), who threw for 663 yards and six touchdowns, will be the best quarterback in the league. "He will basically take over for Casey by passing the ball more," said Engilman. The coach also will rely heavily on junior running back Toby Brookens (6-0, 170), who according to Engilman is "as fast as Jerome." Girmar Johnson (6-2, 185), a two-way starter at wide receiver or running back and strong safety, will try to impress college scouts in his senior year. "He has 40 schools looking at him already," Engilman said. Quick junior Brian Roberson (5-8, 135), the B team quarterback last season, will round out the field of receivers. "He's a flash," Engilman said. "What's great about him is that he catches the ball across the middle--he's just real gutsy." Manny Vasquez (6-1, 260) and Danny Kelly (6-2, 230) will lend strength and size to the defensive line, and Danny Moreno (5-11, 210) and Ryan Walker (6-1, 185) will be at linebacker.
OUTLOOK: "I'm gonna go out on a wire: We will be league champs," Engilman said. "Last year these players were still wet behind the ears, but they've taken their licks and now they are ready."