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Junior College Kick-Off: Sept. 11 : Demise of East L.A. Football Program Has Been a Boon to Glendale College

August 22, 1993|SEAN WATERS | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

When local high school seniors played their final game of the 1992 football season, it did not mean their careers were over. For dozens of players, there's new life in the Southland's community colleges.

Stars from the Central Los Angeles area were among the players who took the field Wednesday, when junior college teams began practicing for their Sept. 11 season openers. However, the field at East Los Angeles College is quiet; the school dropped its football program for this season in a budget-cutting move.

Glendale College probably benefited the most with the demise of the East Los Angeles program, picking up several players from Eastside high schools who might have made East Los Angeles their community college choice. The Vaqueros list of freshman recruits includes: defensive lineman Jose Blanco of Belmont, defensive lineman Art Cardona of Garfield, offensive lineman Javier Carmona of Lincoln, defensive lineman Yarien Corea of Lincoln, tight end Antwane Embry of Roosevelt, defensive back Anthony Lopez of Garfield and quarterback Gaspar Ortega of Lincoln.

At Santa Monica College, Coach Owen Hahn, who coached at Bell from 1970 to 1974, used his Southeast Los Angeles County connections to get All-City center-tackle Steve Medina of South Gate, 6-foot-4, 275-pound tackle Jose Turribiates of South Gate, kicker Jose Pedroza of Bell and defensive lineman Henry Perez of Bell.

Brian Clark and Kory Jones, two of the area's top high school receivers, will also continue their football careers at Santa Monica. Clark, an all-City Section 4-A Division player, led the area with 1,143 yards in receptions last season, and Jones was third in the area with 898 yards.

"Santa Monica really helped themselves with the addition of Clark and Jones as receivers," West Los Angeles College Coach Rob Hager said. "We had a lot of returning players, so we did not get too many impact-type freshmen."

Hager, who has four former Dorsey assistants on his staff, continued to attract players from the South-Central school. The biggest addition was quarterback Sultan Ali, who passed for 756 yards and 10 touchdowns last season. Other Dons to join West Los Angeles are kicker Omar Moreno and defensive back Gahee Wadood. Jefferson receiver Ed Morse, who caught 28 passes for 387 yards and four touchdowns, also will play for West Los Angeles.

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Los Angeles Southwest College will continue to thrive with players from Fremont, Jefferson, Locke and Washington. Big recruits include former Jefferson quarterback Marcus Johnson and Washington tailback Tim McTyer.

As the Democrats' quarterback, Johnson passed for 927 yards and 10 touchdowns. At Southwest, Johnson will be used as a defensive back. Kevin Hopson of Jefferson also will play defensive back for the Cougars. McTyer was the Generals' leading rusher with 523 yards.

Nearly all of Southwest's new linemen played for Washington last season. The new recruits are offensive linemen Brian Henley and Airrion Williams, and defensive linemen Demetrius Brown and Harold Bell. Washington receiver Terrance Parker, linebackers Robbie Brown and Reginald Scott from Locke, and kicker Cesar Villalobos of Fremont also will play for the Cougars.

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Compton College picked up two local prospects: fullback-tight end Oliver Polk of Locke and fullback Kenneth Brown of Washington.

"Polk appears to be a very good prospect," said Coach Aaron Youngblood. "He has real good strength and speed."

Fremont running back Romell Knutt, a City Times' and City Section all-star, is the only local player competing for Pasadena. Knutt, who rushed for 1,194 yards and 11 touchdowns, figures to get a lot of playing time with the Lancers.

Pasadena Coach Dennis Gossard said, "Romell will be a big plus for our program."

El Camino College will feature receiver Kili Branch of Washington and lineman Kevin Knighton of Dorsey in its lineup.

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