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Prep Football Preview | FRONTIER LEAGUE

First Foremost on Mind of Calabasas' Edwards


It wasn't funny at the time, but now Calabasas High football Coach Larry Edwards can afford a chuckle.

Six years ago, his team had only 14 varsity players. "And we won four games with those guys; I was really proud of them," Edwards said. "But it wasn't a lot of fun."

These days, Edwards directs 41 varsity players, including nine returning starters from a team that went 7-3 last year. The future also looks bright with 35 players on the junior varsity and 50 more on the freshman team.

There is just one more hurdle Calabasas must clear before Edwards deems his rebuilding program a complete success:

"I just hope this is the year we win [the Frontier League title]," Edwards said. "I'm tired of playing for the championship and coming in second."

Such has been the Coyotes' fate three of the past four seasons, including last November when Moorpark earned the championship by defeating Calabasas, 7-6.

Calabasas, which won its last championship in 1986, also was second in 1993 and 1992.

This could be Calabasas' year.

Consider the competition: Santa Clara, once a stable program, will be lucky to win a game. Santa Paula has some talent but also a brutal schedule. Moorpark must replace 15 starters.

Only Nordhoff figures to seriously challenge Calabasas, but Ranger Coach Cliff Farrar still hasn't settled on a quarterback.

Senior quarterback Scott Quigley (5-10, 170 pounds) and junior tailback Robby Coppola (5-11, 190), all-league selections last year, are Calabasas' top players on offense.

Quigley passed for 1,248 yards and 12 touchdowns last year. Coppola ran for 823 yards and nine touchdowns.

The protection around Quigley and Coppola should be solid. Senior left tackle Joe Baik (6 feet, 240) was a second-team all-league pick last year and senior center Mike Chester (5-9, 170) is a returning starter.

Senior Kevin Wang (5-10, 150) is a second-year, two-way starter. He is a returning all-league defensive back and caught 17 passes for 353 yards as a receiver.

Senior defensive tackle Ethan Ruff (6-2, 215) was an all-league pick last year and senior defensive end Shariff Hasan (6-3, 253) was a second-team selection. Senior Peter Smith (6-2, 180) started last season at defensive end but has moved to linebacker, shoring up the team's most inexperienced position.

Nordhoff, which has 11 starters back, is expected to continue to rotate senior quarterbacks Jim Musick and Matt Cresto, a strategy that was ineffective last season.

Musick (5-11, 167), who completed only 42% of his passes for 401 yards with a touchdown and four interceptions last year, is considered the better passer. Cresto (5-7, 150) completed seven of 25 passes for 70 yards with two interceptions.

Senior Russell Farrar (5-9, 185), a fullback and linebacker, is expected to again carry the load. Farrar was an all-league player on defense last season and rushed for 842 yards while missing only a handful of plays.

Moorpark sophomore quarterback Chad Willis (5-11, 145) will be handing off to sophomore tailbacks Art Garcia (5-5, 140) and Jeremy Shoup (5-9, 160). The young trio would be wise to follow the blocks of senior Mike Finnerty (5-10, 195), who starts at fullback and linebacker, and senior guard Travis LaValle (5-9, 202).

LaValle might also start at linebacker, the Musketeers' strongest position, along with senior returning starters Andrew Fonseca (5-8, 155) and Jeff Medina (5-9, 150).

"We're not very gifted but we'll make the playoffs," first-year Moorpark Coach Ron Wilford said.

A postseason berth seems unlikely for Santa Paula, where first-year Coach Robert "Hoppy" Mumford hopes discipline, weightlifting and long-term commitment will revive the Cardinals.

Junior quarterback Willie Zavala (6-1, 150) will try to improve on his eight-touchdown, 13-interception performance of last year. Senior fullback Aaron Petit (6-3, 230) will lead the way for senior tailback Freddy Sanchez (5-6, 150).

Petit is a two-way starter and was an all-league linebacker last season.

Santa Clara's only standout player is senior Mike Moon (5-8, 190), who starts at fullback and linebacker.



* THE PROVEN: Calabasas senior quarterback Scott Quigley (5 feet 11, 170 pounds) passed for 1,248 yards and 12 touchdowns last season. Coyote tailback Robby Coppola (6 feet, 190) rushed for 823 yards and nine touchdowns. Nordhoff's Russell Farrar (5-9, 185), the league's toughest player, rushed for 842 yards as a fullback and made 112 tackles as a linebacker. Moorpark senior Travis LaValle (5-11, 210), a linebacker and guard, is a wrecking ball. Santa Clara has senior Mike Moon (5-8, 190), a fullback and linebacker.

* THE PROMISING: First-year Calabasas kicker David Rosenberg, a junior, consistently drives kickoffs inside the five-yard line. Kevin Wang (5-11, 170) of Calabasas caught 17 passes for 353 yards as a junior last year. Developing quarterbacks Jim Musick (senior, Nordhoff) and Chad Willis (sophomore, Moorpark) must come through.

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