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PREP FOOTBALL 2000 / EMPIRE LEAGUE

Kennedy

September 01, 2000

1999 RECORD: 9-4 overall, 4-1 in league

COACH: Mitch Olson (87-54-3 in 13 seasons at school)

RETURNING STARTERS: 5 on offense, 4 on defense

TOP RETURNERS

Jaiya Howze, C/WR, 5-11, 180, Sr.; Kelvin Beatty, C/RB, 6-1, 175, Sr.; Geoff Etherson, QB, 6-2, 185, Sr.; Shawn Benavente, LB, 5-10, 190, Sr.; Rhema McKnight, WR/FS, 6-3, 185, Jr.; Alex Vasquez, K/P, 6-2, 190, Sr.; Vince Pate, WR/LB, 6-3, 235, Jr.; Mike Bordeaux, C/DT, 6-2, 240, Sr.; Trevor Gautreaux, OT/DL, 6-6, 225, Sr.; Jonathan Branham, WR/FS, 6-1, 170, Jr.; Ismail Garcia, C/WR, 5-11, 165, Sr.; Scott Clark, RB/LB, 6-1, 210, Jr.; Lance Peralta, DE/WR, 6-2, 200, Sr.

TOP NEWCOMER

Tyler Main, RB/OLB, 5-10, 175, Jr.

OUTLOOK

Olson says there are "many new faces, [but] little experience" on the team this year. Nevertheless, the Fighting Irish, who finished second in the Empire League behind Loara in 1999, are expected to make a run at the league title because they return a proven quarterback and six all-league players. Quarterback Etherson completed 51% of his passes for 1,792 yards and 10 touchdowns last season. Running back Beatty, who averaged 4.7 yards a carry, ran for 1,180 yards and 16 touchdowns. Replacing departed Steve Yaden (60 catches) won't be easy, but wideout Howze returns. He caught 35 passes, scored six touchdowns and averaged 13.4 yards a catch. The offensive line isn't deep or especially large, but it should be solid, led by center Bordeaux and tackle Gautreaux. Kicker Vasquez, who had three field goals and 35 PATs last season, returns. McKnight, an all-league honorable-mention choice last season, returns and figures to get into the mix a lot more. He caught two touchdown passes last season and played at free safety. Olson says he has been impressed with "hard-working, dedicated kids" who have made a league title their No. 1 goal.

SCHEDULE

Sept. 8 vs. Savanna at Western HS; 14 vs. Anaheim at Glover Stadium; 21 vs. Pacifica at Bolsa Grande HS; 29 vs. Valencia at Western HS.

Oct. 5 vs. Los Alamitos at Western HS; 12 vs. El Dorado at Western HS; 19 vs. Century at Santa Ana Stadium; 27 vs. Katella at Western HS.

Nov. 2 vs. Cypress at Western HS; 9 vs. Loara at Glover Stadium.

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