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COLLEGE FOOTBALL '98 / THE COMMUNITY COLLEGES

Saddleback

September 10, 1998

1997 RECORD: 6-4 overall, 4-2 in the division

COACH: Dick Stuetz (0-0 at the college)

RETURNING STARTERS: 1 on offense, 3 on defense

TOP RETURNERS

Brian Berg, LB, 6-0, 235; Joe Cordova, QB, 6-2, 200; Phil Cruz, RB, 5-10, 215; Nick Gerasimou, LB, 6-0, 230; Ryan Kaiser, WR, 6-2, 190; Kam Manu, DL, 6-3, 285; Lawrence Mariner, LB, 6-2, 240; Billy O'Connor, WR, 5-11, 180; Ryan Thigpen, OL, 6-2, 275; Shawn Watson, DB, 5-10, 175.

TOP NEWCOMERS

Travis Cridlebaugh, P, 6-1, 195; Derek Griffin, DB, 5-10, 180; Larry Page, DB, 6-2, 200; Julio Peraza, RB, 5-10, 210; Nick Tomasello, QB, 6-5, 220.

OUTLOOK

Stuetz was a defensive coach at the college for 29 years before becoming the head coach last spring when Bill Cunerty stepped down for health reasons. "I can't ever remember going into a season with only four returning starters," he said. "I'm not crying about it, it's just unique." Saddleback has always drawn a lot of attention because of its well-known offensive players but defense will dominate. Mariner (Foothill High) caught 24 passes as a tight end last season but has moved to linebacker. "Last year, it was a lend-lease deal but that has ceased," Stuetz said, "he's back where he belongs." Berg (Santa Margarita) returns after leading the team with 112 tackles last season. Gerasimou (Aliso Niguel) has moved from fullback to linebacker as well. Thigpen, a center from Santa Margarita, is the only full-time starter back on offense. Cordova (Bellflower St. John Bosco) had eight touchdown passes and four interceptions and passed for 470 yards in five games as Saddleback used three quarterbacks. Tomasello (San Diego Patrick Henry) played one season at Nevada and was a redshirt at Pittsburgh last fall.

SCHEDULE

Sept. 12 vs. Mt. San Antonio; 19 vs. Orange Coast; 26 at El Camino.

Oct. 3 at Long Beach; 10 vs. Cerritos. 24 at Riverside; 31 vs. Santa Ana at Santa Ana Stadium.

Nov. 7 vs. Fullerton; 14 vs. Palomar; 21 vs. Golden West at Orange Coast.

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