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PREP FOOTBALL '97: FREEWAY LEAGUE

Sunny Hills

September 09, 1997

1996 RECORD: 8-4 overall, 4-1 in league

COACH: Tim Devaney (141-56-3 at school)

RETURNING STARTERS: 5 on offense, 8 on defense

TOP RETURNERS

Grady Funk, WR/DB, 6-3, 180, Sr.; Kevin Haiola, RB/LB, 5-8, 190, Sr.; Jason Heyward, OL/DL, 6-3, 260, Sr.; Guy Porter, WR/LB, 6-0, 185, Sr.; Adam Rodriguez, RB/DB, 5-8, 175, Sr.; Paul Rohdenburg, OL/DL, 6-3, 250, Sr.

TOP NEWCOMERS

Jared Bruce, QB, 5-8, 160, Jr.; James Dinh, DB, 5-8, 160, Sr.; Sione Haiola, RB/DE, 5-10, 210, Sr.

OUTLOOK

With apologies to Mater Dei, Santa Margarita and Aliso Niguel, the Lancers might have been the county's best defensive team last year. In 1996, Sunny Hills gave up a paltry 8.6 points per game, and only Rancho Alamitos scored more than 15 points against them. But the offense struggled; in seven of their 12 games Sunny Hills scored fewer than 21 points, and three times the Lancers were shut out. (The 13-0 loss to La Habra cost Sunny Hills the outright league championship.) This season might be a rerun of last year. Sunny Hills' defense is again expected to be dominant. Offensively, Rodriguez (1,001 yards, nine touchdowns) and Kevin Haiola (697 yards, seven touchdowns) will follow Heyward, a Times second-team all-county selection, and Rohdenburg. Devaney also said his receiving corps, led by Funk (38 catches, 426 yards) could be his best ever. A key returner is Sione Haiola, who missed last season because of a knee injury. The biggest question is at quarterback; last year Bruce was at safety, so Devaney has to find out quickly if he can grasp the nuances of offense as well as lead a senior-dominated team. Fortunately, because the defense can stop people, the Lancers' offense won't have to do too much. But it will have to better this season for Sunny Hills to think beyond league titles.

SCHEDULE

Sept. 12 vs. Baldwin Park Sierra Vista at Buena Park HS; 18 at El Modena; 26 at Brea Olinda.

Oct. 3 at Mission Viejo; 9 at Valencia; 17 at Buena Park; 24 vs. La Habra at Buena Park HS; 31 vs. Sonora at Buena Park HS.

Nov. 7 vs. Troy at Buena Park HS; 14 at Fullerton.

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