Steve Grady, The Times' All-Central City football coach of the year, was so certain his Loyola High School team wouldn't make it to the championship game this season that he scheduled a serious spinal operation for his son, Bryan, during the playoffs.
Bryan, 12, has multiple sclerosis, and needed a 10-hour operation to straighten his back. He was released from the hospital last Monday.
Loyola surprised Grady, however, by making the season last longer than he projected. The Cubs were busy preparing for their Southern Section Division I semifinal game against Canyon Country Canyon when Bryan went into the hospital on Nov. 29.
"It was a busy week," Grady said. "I had a lot of things on my mind. I had a big game to prepare for, and I was running back and forth to the hospital. To say the least, my emotions were up and down a lot then."
Loyola defeated Canyon, 10-3, and advanced to the championship game for the first time since Grady took over as coach 15 years ago. The Cubs won the title with a 24-14 victory over Quartz Hill on Dec. 7 at Anaheim Stadium.
Grady's record at Loyola is 132-38-4. Bryan has watched many of those games from his wheelchair on the sidelines.
"If I thought we'd get this far, I doubt I would have scheduled Bryan's operation when I did," said Grady, a star tailback at Loyola in the early 1960s before going to USC, where he played behind O.J. Simpson. "This has been a very emotional time for me. But I think we may have gotten as far as we did because our kids were playing for Bryan."
The Cubs placed six players on the All-Central City team, placing six on the first team and one on the second team. Linebacker Drew Casani, who had 180 tackles for the Cubs this season, was named back of the year.
Dorsey, which lost to Banning, 21-20, in the City 4-A Division semifinals on Dec. 7, placed four players on the first team and two on the second. Cedric White of Dorsey was named lineman of the year.
Casani, a 5-foot-11, 215-pound senior, was the heart of the Loyola defense. He finished the season with 180 tackles and nine interceptions. The Cubs gave up only 38 points in four playoff games, holding Fontana and Canyon each under seven points.
White, a 6-3, 250-pound junior, developed into one of the top offensive linemen in the Southland this season. Dorsey has turned out some of the top linemen in the area in recent years, and Coach Paul Knox said White promises to be "among the best."
Casani and White are eligible for the Glenn Davis Award, given to the top player in Southern California. The winner will be announced this morning at a banquet honoring the top backs and linemen from the Times' 12 All-Star teams.
Fremont quarterback Quincy Guy is a three-year starter who also played defensive back, returned punts and kickoffs and handled all kicking duties.
Dorsey running back Lamont Warren played at tailback most of the season before being moved to quarterback when Dorsey's starter was injured. He led the Dons into the 4-A Division semifinals.
Name Pos. School Hgt. Wt. Year Keyshawn Johnson Receiver Dorsey 6-2 185 Senior Telly Moore Receiver Verbum Dei 6-2 175 Senior Luis Acosta Tight end Wilson 6-2 220 Senior Cedric White Lineman Dorsey 6-3 250 Junior David Buether Lineman Loyola 6-1 205 Senior Chrisshaunn Williams Lineman Crenshaw 6-2 285 Senior Edgar Yepez Lineman Cathedral 6-5 265 Senior Quincy Guy Quarterback Fremont 5-10 165 Senior Lamont Warren Back Dorsey 6-1 185 Senior Tony Thomas Back Jefferson 5-11 175 Junior Antoine Redmond Back Locke 6-1 202 Senior John Stonehouse Punter Loyola 5-11 175 Junior
Name Pos. School Hgt. Wt. Year Kevin Amos Lineman Los Angeles 6-2 217 Junior Kevin Bender Lineman Loyola 5-11 183 Senior Ronnie Johnson Lineman Dorsey 5-11 190 Senior Andrew Casani Linebacker Loyola 5-11 215 Senior Julio Padilla Linebacker Belmont 5-6 160 Senior George McGuire Linebacker Locke 6-1 208 Senior Tony Torres Linebacker Garfield 5-8 180 Senior Sean Cardenas Back Loyola 6-2 186 Senior Roland Peters Back Lincoln 5-9 145 Senior Tyrone Trimble Back Manual Arts 6-0 195 Senior Sheldon Anderson Back Washington 5-11 175 Junior Lance Harmon Kicker Loyola 6-1 180 Senior
* Back of the Year: Andrew Casani, Loyola * Lineman of the Year: Cedric White, Dorsey * Coach of the Year: Steve Grady, Loyola SECOND TEAM * Belmont: Tajh Evans, running back.
* Crenshaw: Enrique Henderson, offensive lineman; Jesse Peterson, linebacker.
* Dorsey: Rudy Parris, offensive lineman; Adrian Villareal, kicker/punter.
* Fremont: Jaime Preciado, offensive lienman; Damon Fox, Jermaine Hill, defensive backs.
* Garfield: Oscar Gonzalez, running back.
* Jefferson: Darrell Cooley, defensive back.
* Jordan: Malcom McCray, receiver.
* Lincoln: Marcelo Ortega, receiver; Gaspar Ortega, quarterback; Albert Vallejo, linebacker.
* Locke: Ken Stave, linebacker; Ralph Lee, defensive lineman.
* Loyola: David Susank, offensive lineman
* Wilson: George Pantages, receiver; Cesar Brambila, defensive lineman; Chris Myrick, defensive back.
* Verbum Dei: Charles Barnes, defensive lineman.
* Washington: Charles Alford, defensive lineman; Sylvester Green, defensive back.