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PREP FOOTBALL '97: FREEWAY LEAGUE

La Habra

September 09, 1997

1996 RECORD: 7-3 overall, 2-3 in league

COACH: Rick Milhizer (17-24 at school)

RETURNING STARTERS: 4 on offense, 4 on defense

TOP RETURNERS

Justin Giovannetti, RB, 5-9, 170, Sr.; Brian Hastin, DE, 5-10, 183, Sr.; Kevin Hastin, LB, 6-2, 215, Sr.; Robert Morales, QB, 6-0, 195, Sr.; Joey Parmley, OL, 6-0, 190, Sr.; Paul Sidoti, OL/DL, 6-3, 235, Jr.

TOP NEWCOMERS

Matt Armstrong, OL/DL, 5-10, 200, Jr.; Marcus Arredondo, LB/FB, 5-10, 225, So.; Josh Herrera, RB/DB, 5-11, 175, So.; Dale Sutton, WR/DB, 6-0, 170, Jr.

OUTLOOK

From 1981 to 1988 La Habra won or shared five league titles. Since then no new banners have adorned the campus. It looked as though the drought would end last year, when the Highlanders won their first six games, including handing Sunny Hills its only league loss. But the 41-35 loss to Buena Park exposed some flaws in the defense that La Habra could not cover up. Two weeks later, the season crashed and burned with consecutive defeats to Troy and Fullerton. It's too soon to forecast if the 1997 season can be the Cinderella season 1996 was not; graduation took a toll--only 17 lettermen are back. That puts pressure on the remaining seniors. Morales (97 of 216, 1,651 yards, 22 touchdowns, 15 interceptions) alternated between brilliant and erratic, and this season he does not have top receivers Nick Armstrong or Paul Summers to throw to. Giovannetti (883 yards, nine touchdowns) can be a top-flight back but must avoid injury. Milhizer must also find another fullback like Tom White, who was willing to block and take on a defense for the tough, inside yards. First-team all-leaguer Kevin Hastin keys a defense that must recover its swagger after giving up 148 points in its final four games. But unless these things happen, the wait for a championship banner will continue.

SCHEDULE

Sept. 12 vs. Cerritos Valley Christian; 19 vs. El Dorado; 26 at Whittier California.

Oct. 3 at Downey Warren; 9 vs. Whittier La Serna; 17 at Fullerton; 24 vs. Sunny Hills at Buena Park HS; 31 vs. Buena Park.

Nov. 7 vs. Sonora; 14 vs. Troy.

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