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PREP FOOTBALL '98 / EMPIRE LEAGUE

Katella

September 08, 1998

1997 RECORD: 6-5 overall, 3-2 in league

COACH: Dominik Unger (6-5 at school)

RETURNING STARTERS: 4 on offense, 4 on defense

TOP RETURNERS

Francis Johnson, RB, 5-10, 180, Sr.; Brandon Jordan, QB/TE, DB, 6-4, 190, Sr.; Bob Nita, WR/DB, 5-11, 170, Sr.; Brandon Vasquez, TE/OLB, 6-1, 190, Sr.; Chris Walters, TE/LB, 5-11, 195, Sr.

TOP NEWCOMERS

Robbie Arrias, QB, 5-11, 170, Sr.; Victor Espinoza, TE/LB, 5-11, 210, Jr.; Chris Haller, QB, 5-11, 185, So.; Nate Nemia, OL/DL, 6-1, 230, Sr.; Marlon Roman, TE/LB, 6-0, 195, Jr.; Luis Trajillo, OL/DL, 6-3, 320, Jr.

OUTLOOK

In his first season, Unger led Katella to its first playoff berth in nine seasons. What can he do for an encore? Most Empire League coaches think he can do it again. A big reason is the return of Johnson, who rushed for 1,507 yards as a junior and is being recruited by several Division I colleges. However, the Knights' inexperienced offensive line must gel for Johnson to have another big year. "We'll be much smaller than last year up front, but we'll be much quicker," Unger said. "We'll probably run a lot more misdirection than we did last year." Unger must also pick a quarterback: Arrias, Haller and Jordan are the candidates. Whoever starts will be asked to get the ball to Nita, a second-team Times' all-county selection as a defensive back and a starting wide receiver. The defense will be young, especially on the line. Walters, a second-team all-league pick, and Vasquez give the Knights size and experience at linebacker. Katella opened last year's Empire League season by surprising perennial power Kennedy, 17-14. It can make another early statement by beating Loara, one of the favorites to win the league this year.

SCHEDULE

Sept. 10 at Ocean View; 18 vs. Villa Park at Glover Stadium; 24 vs. Orange at Glover Stadium.

Oct. 2 at Brea Olinda; 8 vs. Canyon at Glover Stadium; 15 vs. Loara at Glover Stadium; 23 vs. El Dorado at Valencia; 30 vs. Century at Glover Stadium.

Nov. 6 vs. Cypress at Western HS; 13 vs. Kennedy at Western HS.

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