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September 09, 1997

1996 RECORD: 8-3 overall, 4-1 in league

COACH: Gary Meek (95-31-4 at school)

RETURNING STARTERS: 5 on offense, 8 on defense


Jake Ashabraner, OL, 6-3, 300, Sr.; Justin Birrell, LB, 6-2, 218, Sr.; Ryan Galassi, LB, 6-2, 195, Sr.; Curtis Cacciatori, DL, 5-10, 220, Sr.; Brett Garrison, RB, 6-0, 190, Sr.; Mike Harrison, WR/DB, 6-0, 175, Jr.; Jon Lofdahl, DB, 6-1, 175, Sr.; Dan Lyu, DL, 5-11, 225, Sr.; George Mares, OL, 6-2, 291, Jr. Ron Whitlock, OL, 6-4, 263, Sr.; Barrett Woods, DL, 6-2, 220, Jr.


Bo Ashabraner, TE, 6-6, 225, Jr.; Matt Colin, DB, 6-0, 180, Sr.; Aaron Hill, WR, 6-2, 175, Jr.; Brandon Lewis, OL, 6-3, 275, Jr.; Ali Lutfi, RB, 6-0, 210, Sr.; Jamie Smith, RB, 5-10, 180, Sr.; Nate Steinbacher, OL, 6-6, 310, Jr.; Cory Tomps, OL, 6-0, 250, Jr.; Grant Wagner, QB, 6-0, 170, Jr.


Esperanza has the reputation of developing some of the county's top linemen. So when there is talk that the Aztecs might have their best offensive line this season, it is talk to be taken seriously. What's unknown is the quality of backs they will block for and protect. All the top-flight offensive skill players--from David Parrish to Jammal Footman--have graduated. (Parrish's younger brother, Matt, is a sophomore running back/defensive back.) Meek has no varsity-tested quarterback or receivers although he likes the potential of junior varsity callup Bo Ashabraner and Hill (11 catches, 165 yards). Esperanza is also thin at running back. This will put a burden on a defense that must get through a brutal nonleague schedule, including dates with Servite, Rancho Alamitos and Pasadena Muir. This is not to say the Aztecs won't win a third consecutive Sunset title, but it certainly isn't automatic.


Sept. 12 vs. Servite at Cal State Fullerton; 18 vs. Rancho Alamitos at Valencia HS; 26 at Upland.

Oct. 2 vs Long Beach Jordan at Valencia HS; 10 vs. Pasadena Muir at Pasadena City College; 17 vs. Los Alamitos at Valencia HS; 23 vs. Edison at Valencia HS; 31 at Huntington Beach.

Nov. 7 vs. Marina at Westminster HS; 14 vs. Fountain Valley at Valencia HS.

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