COACH: John Cicuto, 3rd season
LAST SEASON: 9-2; 1st in Nthn. Division, 8-1
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Sophomore tailback Bobby Webster (5-foot-8, 185 pounds) rushed for 1,360 yards and 21 touchdowns last season and was a unanimous WSC Northern Division pick. This year "he's bigger, he's stronger without losing any speed," Cicuto said. Sophomore fullback Rafik Thorossian (6-0, 232), Cicuto said, "has a chance to be as good if not better than Wes Bender," who is now at USC. The strongest player on the team, Thorossian can bench-press 455 pounds, squat lift 575 and run the 40-yard dash in 4.56 seconds. Sophomore center Dave Boghossian (6-1, 285) and sophomore offensive lineman Abe Jimenez (5-10, 255) were All-Southern Division second-team choices. Sophomores Jeff Dyrek (6-0, 225) and Darren Jenkins (6- 1/2, 222) were both All-Southern Division second-team picks and team with sophomore Robert Bustamante to form a strong linebacker corps. Owen Taylor (6-1, 260) and Robert Marceau (6-4, 235) were part-time starters on the defensive line. Sophomore cornerback Robert Floyd (5-10, 170) led Glendale with four interceptions.
OUTLOOK: Glendale is the team other coaches point to as the regional power. The offense is more experienced than the defense, but the Vaqueros will start a true freshman at quarterback for the first time in 16 years. With Webster and Thorossian running behind one of the best Glendale offensive lines in years, the quarterback's main duty may simply be to handle the snap and hand off the ball. With nine sophomores who earned all-conference recognition last year and a talented freshman class that includes running back Leon Gable (5-6, 160) of North Hollywood and linebacker Scott Blade (5-10, 205) of Canyon, Glendale is as stacked as a riverboat gambler's deck.
COACH: Jim Bittner, 14th season
LAST SEASON: 9-2; 2nd in Nthn. Division, 7-2
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Bittner describes sophomore running back Jamal Anderson (6-1, 235) as "a nightmare to tackle." One opposing coach said he worried more about Anderson last year than record-setting Freddie Bradley. Anderson gained 776 yards and averaged nearly eight yards a carry. Sophomore nose tackle Robert Moose (6-3, 235) was one of only two freshmen named to the Northern Division first-team defense. Moose, sophomore safety Melvin Nunnery (6-2, 205) and sophomore linebacker Jerry Thompson (6-1, 225) lend experience to a young Moorpark defense. Returning starters Jeff Long (6-5, 287) and Jonathan Paulson (6-2, 255) anchor the left side of the line at tackle and guard, and Don Young (6-2, 310) has moved from nose tackle to right tackle after sitting out a year to get his grades in order. Talented sophomore Johnel Turner (6-1, 195) is trying his hand at quarterback, which he played at Oxnard High.
OUTLOOK: After three consecutive 9-2 seasons (the last two with Bradley), Moorpark will find out if there is life after Freddie. "We're definitely going to have to depend a little more on a balanced attack," Bittner said. Moorpark led the Northern Division in scoring last season, and a strong offensive line should again fuel a high-octane offense. The Raiders' defense is young and will be tested in the opener against perennial power Riverside. "You're always worried when you're young," Bittner said, "but we think we're talented."
COACH: Bill Norton, 1st season
LAST SEASON: 4-6; 3rd in Sthn. Division, 4-5
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Sophomore running back LaShante Parker (5-11, 185) ran for 946 yards in only eight games last season and was second-team All-Southern Division. "He's a north-south runner," said Norton, who said Parker could bench-press 325 pounds as a high school freshman. After leading Antelope Valley College with nine interceptions last season, John Johnson (6-3, 210) has transferred to Pierce. He will play free safety, and "he's our stopper," defensive coordinator Danny Geyer said. "He could start anywhere. . . . He has no responsibility--just make good plays." The coaches consider freshman defensive lineman Willie Jackson (6-4, 248) from Taft one of Pierce's most talented players, and sophomore Randy West (6-5, 232) returns on the defensive line after gaining second-team All-Southern Division honors a year ago. Strong-armed sophomore Joe Pica (6-2, 195) is the top candidate at quarterback. Center Corey Alter (6-2, 255), tackles Mike DiFonzo (6-4, 293) and Bob Kyman (6-6, 284) and guard Charles Gietzen (6-5, 300) are all returning starters. Sophomore wide receiver Shannon Culver (5-11, 160) returns after a year off, and sophomore cornerback Bruce Dotson (5-10, 178) is vastly improved.