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1991 PREP FOOTBALL ALL-STARS : Offensive Linemen Dominate Team : Football: Players of the year chosen from Artesia and Wilson. Norm Flowers named coach of the year.

December 26, 1991|PAUL McLEOD and MIKE COIL | TIMES STAFF WRITERS

They are big and silent, rarely drawing attention to themselves except when they make mistakes on the field, but for 1991, offensive linemen dominate The Times' South Coast All-Star High School Football Team.

Pulling, trapping and blocking in a world of dirt and grass, there were so many good offensive linemen this past fall that no tight end was chosen to the all-star team to allow another spot for these essential players.

Twelve schools are represented on the 23-man all-star team, led by Long Beach Wilson with four and Long Beach Poly and Artesia High of Lakewood with three each.

The offensive player of the year is quarterback Aaron Flowers of Artesia, who ranked second in the CIF Southern Section in passing during the regular season. Aaron's father, Norm Flowers, was named coach of the year after leading the Pioneers to an 11-1 record. Artesia was 4-6 in 1990.

The defensive player of the year is linebacker Frank Russell of Wilson, who was also a standout running back.

The team members will be honored at a breakfast at 9 a.m. Jan. 12 at the Sheraton Cerritos Hotel.

The all-South Coast team, based on a poll of coaches:

OFFENSE

Shawn Tippet, Artesia, wide receiver--Quick and speedy, the 5-foot-10, 155-pound senior ranked second in receptions in the CIF Southern Section during the regular season. He finished with 81 catches, 1,430 yards and 10 touchdowns. "He never knew what half-speed was," Coach Flowers said.

Anthony Cobbs, Poly, wide receiver--The leading receiver for the Jackrabbits, he was mentioned by more Moore League coaches on ballots than any other wide receiver. "He stretched defenses," co-Coach Thomas Whiting said about the 6-foot-2 1/2, 185-pound senior.

Robert Gilmore, Lynwood, lineman--The 6-foot-4, 260-pound senior is being recruited by Washington, Oregon, Oregon State and Colorado. "He is an intelligent player and has good feet. He will overpower you," Coach Ben Carpenter said.

Mark Hernandez, St. John Bosco, lineman--Another in a long line of husky, talented offensive linemen for the Braves, the 6-foot-4, 250-pound all-Mission League selection was a two-year starter. "He is a real hard worker who put in a lot of time in the weight room this year," Coach Gabe Soumakian said.

Al Espinoza, Paramount, lineman--"He is the best center we have had in some time," Coach Ken Sutch said. The 6-foot-2, 250-pound snapper never let down in practice, either, playing every down like it was his last.

Steven Bell, Dominguez, lineman--At 5-feet 11-inches and 220-pounds, he is the smallest lineman on the all-star team. But he was a big-play guard for the co-champions of the San Gabriel Valley League, particularly when he pulled. "He was very aggressive on sweeps. We ran his way a lot, and he is the main reason for our success," Coach Willie Donerson said.

Dan Moreno, Wilson, lineman--A center, the 6-foot, 220-pound senior "was the heart of our offensive line," Bruin Coach John Brennan said. Moreno was a blocker in a wing-T offense that featured four backs, and he was instrumental in springing them for many long runs that led to Wilson's first outright Moore League title in 24 years.

Robert Jenkins, Dominguez, back--He followed Bell often and the result was 1,245 yards rushing and 23 touchdowns. But Jenkins earned many of those yards on his own. "We have a one-back set," Donerson said. "He is the only back, everyone knows he is getting the ball and he still plowed over everybody."

Garnett Overby, St. Anthony, back--The 6-foot-1 1/2 quarterback did his best work on the ground, where he averaged 9.3 yards per carry and scored 13 touchdowns. "He is a gifted athlete," Coach Dave Radford said, "and he maximized his gifts." Overby accounted for two-thirds of the team's 3,000 yards.

Dione Tyler, Millikan, back--The 5-foot-7, 165-pound senior was on the all-South Coast team last season. He averaged 12 yards a carry and scored 13 touchdowns. "He was never stopped all year," Ram Coach Dave Shawver said.

Aaron Flowers, Artesia, quarterback--At the throttle of an offense known as "Airtesia," the 6-foot, 165-pound junior lived up to preseason billing as one of the state's best passers with 3,951 yards and 34 touchdowns. In 389 pass attempts, he threw just nine interceptions. "He has the ability to read defenses and he is a real accurate passer," Norm Flowers said.

DEFENSE

Fia Ili, Poly, lineman--Voted the team's most valuable player, the 5-foot-11, 215-pound junior end is "relentless getting to the ball and is a dominant force against option teams," according to co-Coach Jerry Jaso. He was on the all-star team last year.

Ryan Lua, Poly, lineman--At 6-foot-4, 215-pounds, the junior tackle is incredibly strong, Poly coaches say.

Steve Ruffner, St. Anthony, lineman--"A mega-leader," according to Radford, the 6-foot-3, 190-pound senior played running back, outside linebacker and various positions on the defensive line. "He made positive things happen on both sides of the line," Radford said.

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