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PREP FOOTBALL '93 / SEA VIEW LEAGUE : Finnerans' Act Will Be Hard to Split Up


RANCHO SANTA MARGARITA — They have shown up on the sidelines and in the bleachers. They come with stopwatches and notebooks and a wary eye. And they almost always come away impressed. The reason is simple.

A double dose of Finneran.

The best way to cure the blues--if you're an NCAA Division I college recruiter--is to fantasize about having Brad and Brian Finneran as your two wide receivers. Or two of your defensive backs. Or having one on offense, one on defense. And of course, they're both special teams standouts.

But most recruiters would probably settle for a commitment from one of the twin brothers who make Santa Margarita a devil of a team to stop.

Except for one thing. They want to be a package deal.

"We've been together our whole lives," said Brad Finneran, who is four minutes older than his brother. "And going someplace new, it would be nice to have someone there you already know, someone to talk to."

Someone you can share clothes with.

"They're Division I prospects," said their coach, Jim Hartigan. "Everyone in the Pac-10 came by to see them in the spring."

The two seniors couldn't keep a low profile if they wanted. First, they're too big to miss: each stands 6 feet 5 and weighs 200 pounds.

Second, they appear to be too good to fail. Each is playing his third year on the varsity. Brian led the county during the regular season with 62 receptions and added 11 more in two playoff games, finishing with six touchdowns and 1,136 yards. On defense, he had 30 unassisted tackles, two interceptions--one that he turned into a touchdown--and a fumble recovery.

Brad had 44 receptions (including the playoffs) for 633 yards and 10 touchdowns. He had 27 unassisted tackles and five interceptions; he also returned an interception for his 11th touchdown.

"They'll have more impact than anyone else in Santa Margarita history because they play both ways," said Hartigan, who has coached running back Josh Ireland and quarterback Sean O'Brien. "Each is an impact player on offense and each is an impact player on defense. That's like having four impact players. Both return punts; Brian kicks off. They don't come off the field."

They are a coach's dream.

"There's not much difference between them," Hartigan said. "Brian may have more receptions, but Brad has more touchdowns. They're so identical, I still can't tell the difference, other than when they put their jerseys on."

They are Nos. 1 and 2 among returning Sea View League receivers. Brian, with a school-record 109 career receptions, needs 68 to become Orange County's all-time leading receiver. He had 73 last year and the game plan is to pass even more this season. He is 99 catches away from becoming the Southern Section leader.

"(That mark is) probably a shot in the dark, it depends on if we do well in the playoffs," Brian said. "However well the team does will have an effect on how well I will do."

Quick math: If Santa Margarita again plays two playoff games, Brian must average only 2.2 more catches per game than he did last year to become the all-time leader.

Derek Yankoff is the quarterback. One of the Finnerans' best friends, he says he has no preference in targets.

"They're great receivers," Yankoff said. "Just get it in the area and they'll catch the ball. I just throw to the open one."

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