HUNTINGTON PARK--Look for the run-and-shoot offense again this year from Coach Dwight Muskrath because the Spartans have an experienced line led by 5-foot-11, 235-pound Fernando Loza. Quarterback Albert Saldana and running back Adrian Fernandez, an all-league choice, also return. Muskrath says he will be satisfied if the team makes the playoffs.
SOUTH GATE--Veteran Coach Gary Cordray has only one starter returning--cornerback Tony Rendon. "We are so young and inexperienced," Cordray said. Two players off the junior varsity, linebacker Isaac Lopez and running back Charlie Ramirez, should start. Cordray seeks weekly improvement.
Garfield, Roosevelt, Fremont, Locke, Jefferson and Jordan of Los Angeles also play in the conference.
Teams that play in leagues with a majority of schools from outside the Southeast/Long Beach area.
CANTWELL--First-year head Coach Joseph Canales, who spent the last nine years as an assistant at Bishop Amat, inherits a team that was 8-3 and finished second in the Santa Fe League. Linemen Chris Loustauna and George Torres, linebacker Eddie Torres and fullback Alex Padilla return. About a dozen transfers from nearby Pater Noster, which has been closed, have raised the roster to 55 players, large by previous standards. Cathedral, favored Mary Star, Murphy and Salesian round out the Division IX league.
CENTENNIAL--Former Lynwood High Coach Joe Hembrick has been hired to rebuild the Apache program, which has lost 24 consecutive games. "This program has been in a shambles," said Hembrick, who was 16-14 at Lynwood. Five two-way starters return. Torrance and South Torrance are favored to battle for the Pioneer League title. Others in the Division VIII league are North Torrance and West Torrance.
LEFFINGWELL CHRISTIAN--Former St. Bernard assistant Coach Lyn Lumley inherits 12 returning starters from a team that was 8-3 overall. Linebacker/fullback Isaac Selter and tight end/linebacker Nigel Neal, both all-Arrowhead League selections, return. Tailback/strong safety Lawrence Wolaridge, a transfer from St. Anthony, is expected to start. Lumley predicts his club will finish third. California School for the Deaf in Riverside, Calvary Chapel, Capistrano Valley Christian, La Verne Lutheran, Sherman Indian and Southern California Christian round out the Division X league.
PIONEER BAPTIST--The Patriots are up to 10 players in the eight-man Express League, two more than they had a season ago. Only three have played football before, according to Coach Manuel Cortez, who says a third-place finish would please him.
PIUS X--Although they finished 1-9 last season, new Coach Bob Thompson predicts that the Warriors will "be battling for (Camino Real) league champs, no doubt about it." Linebacker/tight end Phillip Ward and defensive back/slot back Ryan Brass return. Two transfers, wide receiver Patrick Pitts and fullback Tank Traylor, are expected to start. St. Anthony, St. Monica, Serra and Verbum Dei also play in the league, which competes in Division IX.
SCHURR--Coach Ken Davis, the dean of the area, begins his 21st season with 15 starters returning, including Claudio Millan and Kiki Casillas, both running backs/linebackers, and two-way lineman Danny Cervantes, a three-year starter. The Spartans were 7-3-1 last year and the sophomore team was 10-0. Alhambra and second-ranked Hart are expected to battle fifth-ranked Schurr for the Foothill League title. Burbank, Burroughs of Burbank and San Gabriel also compete in the Division VIII league.
ST. ANTHONY--The school's seventh head coach in the past nine seasons, Dave Radford, says he wants to stay around for a while. Radford was fired at Millikan after six years and a 28-27-1 record. Quarterback Garnett Overby, center Eddie Sanchez, tight end Steve Ruffner and running back Dex Onadason return, but the Saints are not expected to challenge for the Camino Real title.
ST. JOHN BOSCO--The Braves made a big splash last season, their first year in the rugged Angelus League, despite finishing 1-3. This season the school is considered a top contender for the league title with 11 starters, all seniors, returning. Last season, running back Derek Ayers gained more than 1,200 yards in only seven games. The offensive line averages 232 pounds. Six defensive starters, including three backs, return. Mater Dei, Servite, Loyola and Bishop Amat round out the Division I league.