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PREP FOOTBALL 2000 / EMPIRE LEAGUE | FACTS AND FIGURES

A Little History

September 01, 2000|PAUL McLEOD

1974--One of three new leagues created by a major releaguing in the county, the Empire League's first roster of teams included Anaheim, Cypress, Foothill, Huntington Beach, Katella, Kennedy, Orange and Saddleback, with the first title going to Foothill.

1992--Top-ranked Esperanza had the Immovable Object, Travis Kirschke, on the defensive line, and second-ranked Los Alamitos countered with the Irresistible Force, Tim Carey, at quarterback. But what is best remembered about Los Alamitos' 34-14 victory was the condition of the field, which, following an afternoon rain, was a mud pit. The teams would meet again in the Division II championship game, where they tied, 14-14.

1999 IN REVIEW

A league opener between Loara and Kennedy turned out to be the deciding game, as Billy Chavez ran for 256 yards and three touchdowns to give Loara a 27-7 victory. The Saxons were unbeaten in league play in winning their first title since 1986, and lost only to eventual section finalists Mater Dei and Irvine. . . . Chavez, who rushed for 1,518 yards in 13 games, was named the league's most valuable player. . . . Katella provided the season's best late-game heroics, defeating El Dorado, 24-17, in Week 6 on Chris Haller's seven-yard scoring pass to Phil Tyson with 11 seconds to play. But El Dorado, after losing its first three league games, scored with five minutes to play to upset Cypress, 8-7, during Week 9 on its way to a playoff berth. . . . Loara and Kennedy reached the Division VI semifinals, the Saxons losing for a second time to Irvine, 15-9, and the Irish losing to Newport Harbor, 49-0.

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League Overall STANDINGS W L T W L T TP PA Loara 5 0 0 10 3 0 315 189 Kennedy 4 1 0 9 4 0 273 215 Cypress 2 3 0 4 6 0 208 259 El Dorado 2 3 0 5 6 0 156 187 Katella 2 3 0 3 7 0 197 244 Century 0 5 0 2 8 0 135 306

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Leaders

Statistics include regular-season games only

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PASSING Att CP TD Yds Ju. Rice, Cypress 220 105 16 1,626 Je. Ellis, Loara 190 106 9 1,505 Haller, Katella 197 91 9 1,359 Etherson, Kennedy 182 95 6 1,334

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RUSHING Att Yds Avg TD Rivera, Century 223 1,454 6.5 17 Chavez, Loara 184 1,312 7.1 13 Beatty, Kennedy 194 934 4.8 12 Zehner, El Dorado 150 850 5.7 11

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RECEIVING Rec Yds Avg TD Yaden, Kennedy 47 671 14.3 4 C. Moore, Cypress 44 772 17.5 6 Acosta, Loara 26 381 14.7 2 Diaz, Loara 25 360 14.4 1

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SCORING TD FG XP TP Rivera, Century 17 0 2 104 Chavez, Loara 17 0 0 102 Beatty, Kennedy 12 0 0 72 Zehner, El Dorado 11 0 0 66

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NOTEBOOK

The league race could come down to the final night of the regular season. On paper, all but Century appear to have a shot at the title, although Loara and Kennedy are the preseason picks of most opposing coaches. "The league will be crowded with quality teams," said Cypress Coach Kerry Crabb. "Three teams return a number of key players. The early favorite should be Kennedy, then Loara, then Cypress. The dark horse should be Katella." El Dorado Coach Rick Jones picks Loara, Kennedy and Cypress for the top three spots. Loara Coach John deFries somewhat agrees. "We will be a contender this year," he said. "Kennedy and El Dorado will also be there. But don't count out Cypress and Katella, because they will be good." That may be the case, but Katella Coach Dominik Unger says the league is so balanced that a slip here or there could be the difference in getting into the playoffs. He picks his Knights to finish fifth. Kennedy Coach Mitch Olson may be sandbagging. He says he likes Loara and Cypress to finish 1-2 and he questions whether the Irish will have enough to make the playoffs this season. . . . DeFries said he believes Ivan Molina, a 6-foot-6, 285-pound guard at Loara, could be among the best in the county this year. . . . Ruben Torres, a senior running back at Cypress, figures to shoulder more of the load offensively after rushing 83 times for 303 yards and three touchdowns as a junior.

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