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The Times Top 20

September 12, 1996|ERIC SHEPARD

A look at the top-rated high school football teams in the City and Southern sections:

1 Santa Ana Mater Dei Monarchs

(Southern Section, Division I)

Coach: Bruce Rollinson, eighth year.

Last year: 10-2, lost to Los Alamitos, 23-14, in Division I quarterfinals.

Outlook: The Monarchs are trying to win their second section championship in three years. Senior quarterback Nick Stremick passed for 1,572 yards and 13 touchdowns last season, and senior receivers David Castleton and Rod Perry are two of the area's best. James Farley rushed for 876 yards as a junior.

*

2 La Puente Bishop Amat Lancers

(Southern Section, Division I)

Coach: Tom Salter, third year.

Last year: 12-1-1, defeated Loyola, 14-10, in Division I championship game.

Outlook: Salter's two-year record of 25-2-1 is the best in the division. Senior Breon Ansley will be the starting tailback and will share duties with transfer Aaron Wetherspoon from Rowland. Senior offensive lineman Brian Polak (6 feet 5, 315 pounds) is one of the area's top recruits.

*

3 Loyola Cubs (Southern Section, Division I)

Coach: Steve Grady, 21st year.

Last year: 11-3, lost to Bishop Amat, 14-10, in Division I championship game.

Outlook: Grady says his team should not be considered among the elite at this point, but he has too many good players to rate them lower. Preseason All-American candidate Antoine Harris (6-4, 230) is a tight end and defensive end who will be a key blocker for junior running back Steve Faulk, a cousin of Marshall Faulk. Also returning is quarterback Ray Kasper, who passed for 1,122 yards and 10 touchdowns, and receiver/defensive back Scott Walter, who will back up Kasper.

*

4 Fontana Steelers (Southern Section, Division I)

Coach: Dick Bruich, 20th year.

Last year: 11-1, lost to Loyola, 31-15, in Division I quarterfinals.

Outlook: Bruich has many players back, including highly touted running back Art Gipson, receiver Thomas Howard and quarterback P.J. Guerrero. Linebacker Fiona Mataufu and nose guard Chris James return from a defense that gave up six points a game last year.

*

5 Newhall Hart Indians (Southern Section, Division II)

Coach: Mike Herrington, eighth year.

Last year: 12-2, beat Antelope Valley, 35-28, in Division II championship game.

Outlook: The run-and-shoot offense makes Hart one of the most exciting teams to watch. Senior Travis Carroll, a defensive back last year, will start at quarterback. Senior receiver Cody Joyce had 51 catches for 1,157 yards and 11 touchdowns as a junior. Lineman Mike Wambolt (6-5, 280) is a three-year starter.

*

6 Mission Viejo Capistrano Valley Cougars

(Southern Section, Division I)

Coach: Dave Brown, second year.

Last year: 9-3, lost to Long Beach Poly, 24-21, in Division I quarterfinals.

Outlook: Capistrano Valley coaches are already looking toward the regular-season finale against Mater Dei on Nov. 15. Brown says his offense is as good as any in Orange Country. Senior tailback Malaefou MacKenzie (1,137 rushing yards last season) and Austin Moherman (1,314 passing yards) are the mainstays.

*

7 Palos Verdes Peninsula Panthers

(Southern Section, Division II)

Coach: Gary Kimbrell, sixth year.

Last year: 12-1, lost to Hart, 37-3, in Division II semifinals.

Outlook: The Panthers are still trying to forget about last season's embarrassing playoff loss. They have an experienced offense led by senior running back Marty Cheatham and lineman Scott Jackson (6-5, 260). Cheatham is back after sitting out nine games last season because of a broken right fibula. Scot Morris will play receiver, defensive back and kicker.

*

8 Long Beach Poly Jackrabbits

(Southern Section, Division I)

Coach: Jerry Jaso, 12th year.

Last year: 12-1, lost to Bishop Amat, 28-27, in Division I semifinals.

Outlook: Senior receiver Kenyon Rambo, one of the top hurdlers in the state, had 50 receptions for 848 yards and 14 touchdowns last season and also played some on defense. Sophomores will start at as many as five positions, including quarterback, with Chris Lewis and Robert Hollie battling for duties.

*

9 Antelope Valley Antelopes

(Southern Section, Division II)

Coach: Brent Newcomb, 18th year.

Last year: 12-2, lost to Hart, 35-28, in Division II championship game.

Outlook: The Antelopes should contend for the title again despite having only four returning starters. Senior Tony Walker scored four touchdowns rushing, three receiving, two on kick returns and one on an interception return last season.

*

10 Sylmar Spartans

(City Section, Division 4-A)

Coach: Jeff Engilman, 10th year.

Last year: 11-1, lost to Narbonne, 22-21, in 4-A quarterfinals.

Outlook: Engilman will sit out the first two games for having illegal off-season contact with transfer student Derrell Daniels, a linebacker from San Fernando. The lineup includes potential All-City players such as tight end Jose Ochoa, receiver/defensive back/kicker Shaun Avalos and two-way tackle Ray Solis (6-4, 275).

*

11 Anaheim Esperanza Aztecs

(Southern Section, Division I)

Coach: Gary Meek, 11th year.

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