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PREP FOOTBALL 2000 / SERRA LEAGUE

St. John Bosco

September 01, 2000

1999 RECORD: 3-7 overall, 1-2 in league

COACH: Kiki Mendoza (7-13 in 2 seasons at school)

RETURNING STARTERS:

7 on offense, 8 on defense

TOP RETURNERS

Marcus Cassel, CB/WR, 6-1, 175, Sr.; Josh Pukini, DT/OL, 6-4, 250, Sr.; Blake Garrett, LB/SS, 6-1, 195, Sr.; Demond Goins, S/RB, 6-0, 170, Sr.; Brandon Lynn, WR/S, 6-1, 175, Sr.; Jacob Mathews, RB/DB, 5-11, 170, Sr.; Steven Ballesteros, OL/DL, 6-2, 265, Sr.; Mark Jackson, DB, 5-8, 180, Sr.; Steve Gonzales, DL/TE, 5-11, 215, Sr.; Gilbert Porras, QB/DB, 5-11, 185, Sr.; Josh Kopczak, OL, 5-11, 250, Sr.

TOP NEWCOMERS

Kevin Dyer, DE, 6-2, 195, So.; Joe Cowan, WR, 6-4, 170, So.; Casey Black, DE, 6-0, 173, Jr.; Edgar Acevedo, LB, 5-10, 208, Jr.; Erik Tapia, DT/LB, 5-11, 206, Jr.; Chris Rochester, WR/DB, 5-10, 180, Sr.

OUTLOOK

Mendoza is antsy for the season to start. Despite finishing 3-7 last season, the Braves completed their first Serra League season in a three-way tie for second place with Santa Margarita and Servite. St. John Bosco could be better this time around; Mendoza went so far as to predict a first-place finish. No, he hasn't forgotten about that little red-and-white powerhouse from Santa Ana. He just can't wait to unleash an option offense that should see seven highly capable players get a balanced number of touches at the skill positions. Porras returns after seeing limited time at quarterback, and Derrick Williams and Mathews will be the featured rushers in a three-back set. Cowan, Lynn and Rochester are among five players who could amass a decent number of catches. Defensively, the Braves should be solid, with tackle Pukini and cornerback Cassel--both of whom are being courted by Pac-10 schools--leading the charge. (Pukini is being recruited by California, Cassel by Washington State.) The defense suffered a setback when junior Brian Antonitz transferred to Long Beach Millikan to play baseball, but the eight returning starters should fill the void without much trouble. Mendoza said linebacker Garrett is "as fast as any running back we'll play against, and a lot stronger than most of them." St. John Bosco didn't do itself any favors with its nonleague schedule. The Braves face regional powers Los Alamitos, Los Angeles Loyola and Santa Fe Springs St. Paul before opening league play against Santa Margarita. If St. John Bosco survives intact for its regular-season finale against Mater Dei, then the Monarchs better watch out. Said Mendoza: "If we were to play [Mater Dei] today, I feel we would have the upper hand."

SCHEDULE

8 vs. Hawthorne; 15 at Bellflower; 22 at Lakewood Artesia; 28 vs. Los Alamitos.

Oct. 6 vs. Paramount; 13 vs. Los Angeles Loyola; 20 vs. Santa Fe Springs St. Paul; 27 vs. Santa Margarita at Saddleback College.

Nov. 3 vs. Servite; 10 vs. Mater Dei at Edison Field.

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