Questions and answers about the 1995 Orange County high school football season for coaches, players, parents and those two or three people who still miss the Rams.
Q. Which is the best team in the county?
A. Any team that beats Los Alamitos.
The Griffins have a glut o' talent, especially on offense. Big-ticket items are quarterback Kevin Feterik, who passed for 2,911 yards and 27 touchdowns despite missing 3 1/2 games because of a broken hand, and receivers Tony Hartley (49 receptions, 967 yards, 8 touchdowns) and Stan Guyness (40 catches for 747 yards and 11 touchdowns).
Guyness has also gained lots of yardage on reverses, thrown touchdown passes on gadget plays and generally annoyed defensive coordinators. Plus, there are three returning starters on the offensive line, eight returning starters on defense and a couple of well-placed newcomers (running backs Tony Austin and Devon Griffin).
Q. \o7 What about Mater Dei?
\f7 A. The Monarchs, the defending Southern Section Division I champions, lost a lot on offense, but who's going to notice by midseason?
Quarterback John Flynn has graduated. In steps David Castleton or Nick Stremick--with the hot money on Castleton. Hard to believe there will be a free fall in ability.
Tailback Steve Bodnar has graduated. But just give the ball to junior James Farley, who, Coach Bruce Rollinson says, will be among the best in the county.
The only noticeable depreciation is Rod Perry's absence at wide receiver. His father, Rod Perry Sr., got a job with the Houston Oilers and the family moved out of town--the Monarchs' biggest loss since the 56-3 defeat to Rialto Eisenhower in the 1993 title game.
Still, with seven returning defensive starters--including lineman Brad Williams and defensive backs Kevin Braga and David Gibson--the Monarchs will land on their feet.
Another Division I title is unlikely. Then again . . .
Q. \o7 Is there any team Mater Dei fears?\f7
A. The Monarchs wouldn't get anywhere near Villa Park this season.
The last thing they needed was for Stremick to have a pass intercepted by his brother Sam, the Spartans' standout senior defensive back.
Sam Stremick had eight interceptions last season, second in the county. Of course, he'll now learn how the other half lives after being moved to quarterback.
"The pressures of quarterback can take its toll, but Sam just smiles," Coach Pat Mahoney said. "Sometimes it's scary. You don't know what he's thinking."
Q. \o7 Is there a next great Esperanza lineman?\f7
A. From the school that has shipped tons of talented linemen to college programs comes senior Sean Jarne, who has certainly worked for the honor.
"He was this gangly kid with hair down to his shoulders when he as a freshman," Coach Gary Meek said. "He was real goofy looking. But he's been a dedicated weight lifter."
So dedicated that you better think twice before calling him "Goofy." Jarne is a 6-foot-6, 255-pound defensive and offensive tackle.
His abilities won't be wasted. The Aztecs have loads of talent, from quarterback David Parrish to receivers Brian Forth and Ryan Wilken.
Q. \o7 Who is the best running back?
\f7 A. Tough call, but the short list has to include Reuben Droughns (Anaheim), Larry Montgomery (Troy), Che Holloway (Orange Lutheran) and Jerome Owens (Brea Olinda).
Each gained more than 1,000 yards last season.
Q. \o7 Is there a player out there who can slow down Droughns?\f7
A. It may amaze some, but yes. His brother, Robert, a senior linebacker for the Colonists.
Sure, Reuben has carved up defenses and induced ulcers for opposing coaches. He has gained 3,791 yards in two years and is back for more.
But in practice, Robert more than holds his own. In fact, like his brother, he is being recruited by Division I teams.
"Robert's a head hunter," Anaheim Coach Allen Carter said. "He likes to hit."
Which can lead to a little unbrotherly love during practice.
"They mix it up a little," Carter said. "Being brothers, they're very competitive. The both get their share of licks in."
Q. \o7 Who is the running back with the best moves?\f7
A. That would be Los Amigos' Greg Fausto, who's a dancin' machine.
He might have some wicked steps on the football field, but no one touches him on the dance floor. In fact, Fausto is semi-legendary around the school and local clubs.
"It's my way to have some fun and stay out of trouble," Fausto said. "It keeps me off the streets."
But not off the football field. Fausto gained 1,229 yards and scored 29 touchdowns last season.
"I've seen him at school dances," Coach Roger Takahasi said. "He's wild."
Q. \o7 Who runs the cleanest program?\f7
A. Bill Crow, Trabuco Hills' first-year coach. He is a longtime Mustang assistant and has already put his stamp on the program.
"We're making the kids take showers this year," Crow said.
According to parents, players have gone home to shower after practice in the past. It was part tradition, part lack of towels. Crow has made sure the shower facility is stocked and used.
"If nothing else, they'll be clean," Crow said.