El Camino Hopes to Start New Winning Trend

El Camino has been on a slide the past two seasons, going an un-Warrior like 7-13, but head man John Featherstone figures to get it turned around in 2003. He has five offensive starters back in the fold and a like number on defense and says this was one of his best recruiting years. ECC is aligned with Saddleback, Pasadena, Fullerton, Riverside and Santa Ana in the new National Division of the Mission Conference, so it's not going to be easy.

TEAM PREVIEW

HEAD COACH:  John Featherstone, 19th season
2002 RECORD:  3-7
RETURNING STARTERS: Offense 5, Defense  5

2002 RECAP:  "Last year was one of the worst we've had since I've been here," said Featherstone.  "We were minus 12 in turnovers and our defense was always in a bind. We turned the football over 42 times and didn't get the kind of quarterback play we hoped for.  We also lost all of our starting running backs to injuries and that sure didn't help.  But, that's enough about the past.  I think we have the makings of a good football team and we expect to get back on the winning track."

2003 OUTLOOK: El Camino will find out early what kind of team they have. In the new "crossover schedule" the Warriors travel to Ventura for the opener and then host Moorpark.  Both are strong Western State Conference contenders. "We'll have an early chance to see what we are made of ," cited Featherstone. Highly heralded freshman quarterback Matt Engle, the son of offensive line coach Gene Engle,  is on hand with all sorts of All-CIF and All-League honors in High School to his credit.  USC transfer, RB Chris Howard, should be healthy after suffering knee injuries in 2002.  Another ex-Trojan, Kolo Kapanui (6-4, 245), could be a super tight end.  Speedy Mike Sanford heads the receiving corps. While the offense figures to be improved, it's the defense that has Featherstone excited.  "I call it my ‘no name' defense," declared Featherstone, but it should be a good one." David and Leon Lautalo take care of one end and one linebacker spot, while captain Elias Ellis, a strong 5-10, 220-pounder should star at safety.  Three top transfers are expected to help, including DE Jason Miller (6-4, 235), from California.

PLAYERS TO WATCH: Howard, Kapanui, and Engle on offense and the Lautalo boys on defense. Featherstone also says grey-shirt kicker Kevin Lovell should be a big plus.

FIRST GAME: Sept. 6 at Ventura, 6 p.m.


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