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September 09, 1997

1996 RECORD: 4-6 overall, 1-4 in league

COACH: Julian Smilowitz (26-28 at school)

RETURNING STARTERS: 6 on offense, 8 on defense


Justin Bruce, QB, 6-2, 210, Sr.; Mike Failhamer, WR/LB, 6-2, 195, Sr.; Bill Gonzales, FB/LB, 6-1, 215, Sr.; Rey Maza, OT, 6-3, 290, Sr.; Chad Staffieri, RB/DB, 5-10, 165, Sr.


Justin Brown, LB/TE, 6-3, 220, Jr.; Jeff Cody, TE/DB, 6-4, 195, Sr.; Aaron Easton, WR, 6-4, 195, Sr.; Jonathan Pate, WR/DB, 5-10, 170, Jr.; Eric Torres, FB/LB, 5-11, 210, Jr.


It would not be surprising if Smilowitz was a good poker player. He has the kind of manner that gives nothing away, regardless of the strength of his hand. But coaching is what he does, and last year Smilowitz--who guided Fullerton to an 11-2 record in 1995--proved his worth by coaxing four victories out of a team decimated by graduation and injuries. The biggest moment came at the season's end, with an upset victory over La Habra. Although it might be premature to pencil in a playoff berth for Fullerton, the Indians do expect to have a bigger impact on the league race. They have good size on both sides of the ball. Bruce (101 of 188, 1,122 yards, 10 touchdowns, 10 interceptions) should be better with a season of experience and Maza protecting his blind side. Staffieri (716 yards, four touchdowns) is set to take his place among the elite backs in league. Easton and Pate ooze potential at receiver, but tight ends Brown and Cody can also be threats. And there is some quality depth; Smilowitz can fill out his roster from the freshman and junior varsity squads that were league champs in 1996. If you ask, Smilowitz will say Fullerton has a chance to be good. Privately, he should be eager to play this hand out; this time there might be a few aces up his sleeve.


Sept. 11 vs. Anaheim at Glover Field; 18 vs. Whittier California; 26 vs. Magnolia.

Oct. 4 at Bellflower; 9 at Rosemead; 17 vs. La Habra; 24 vs. Sonora at La Habra HS; 31 vs. Troy.

Nov. 7 vs. Buena Park; 14 vs. Sunny Hills.

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