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September 10, 1996

1995 RECORD: 12-1 overall, 5-0 in league.

COACH: Toby Howell (first year at school)

RETURNING STARTERS: 4 on offense, 4 on defense


Kirk Martinez, LB, 5-9, 190, Sr.; Jim Conway, LB/QB, 6-1, 205, Sr., Sergio Garcia, FB, 5-9, 185, Sr., Juan Baltazar, DE, 5-9, 185, Sr., Oso Gomez, OG, 5-10, 215, Sr., Scott Vandygrift, OT, 6-6, 285, Jr., Mike Arce, LB, 6-0, 200, Sr.; Kevin Hatton, SE, 5-8, 155, Sr.


Tremayne Robertson, HB, 6-0, 180, Sr.; Ruben Palafox, WB, 5-10, 165, Jr.; Matt Render, TE/DE 6-1, 185, Jr.; Daniel Hayashi, TE/LB, 5-11, 175, Jr.; Jeremiah Goyena, OG/DT, 5-11, 270, So.


Howell takes over for his father, Jim, who retired after 17 seasons as coach. When asked to rank all six teams in the league, he puts his Pioneers fourth, behind Brea Olinda, Anaheim and Valencia. If that's true, Howell has already conceded the playoffs. Guess he takes after the old man, who was as humble as they come but also sly as a fox. In fact, young Howell has a host of talented players. The Pioneers not only return eight players from a team that was the only one in the county to finish the regular season 10-0, but the junior varsity and frosh-soph teams clubs went 10-0, as well. Throw in the fact that the Pioneer offensive line is expected to be better than a year ago, and you have a solid contender. It won't be easy to replace players like quarterback Dean Chambers, who threw for 1,572 yards and 13 touchdowns and guided the Pioneers to the Division V semifinals, where they lost to eventual champion El Toro. Also gone is Mike Mueller, who always turned the big play when the team needed it. But until they prove otherwise, the Pioneers get the slight nod as the league's best team going into its season opener.

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