Southwestern Hoping to Turn Corner

<b>2002 RECAP:</b> Southwestern Jaguars fans were disappointed with their team's performance last year. The team finished with a 4-6 record as the players adjusted to their new coach's system. Coach Justice implemented a West Coast offense style with equally uses both the run and pass and his second Apache squad should manufacture good results executing the popular system.

TEAM PREVIEW

HEAD COACH: Walt Justice (2nd Season) 

2003 OUTLOOK: The Apaches have a whopping 17 returning starters, including the entire offensive unit. QB David Bellinger (6-0, 180) returns under center as does TE Zack Tisher (6-4, 240), a converted defensive lineman.  "This is one of the most athletic squads I've had in 27 years of coaching. We have all the ingredients to be successful," Justice proclaimed. The athletes include three capable ball-carriers: Vernon Jones (5-11, 200), Andrew Follins (5-9, 190), and Andre Baggs (5-11, 230). "It's a nice problem to have three excellent runners and only one ball," Justice admitted. Regardless, it's Jones (the North Carolina native) that excites both fans and recruiters alike and he is sure to get many opportunities to excel this year. Whoever is running the ball is bound to find daylight behind offensive captain Ernie Pelayo (6-7, 290), a big-time recruit who missed last year after undergoing shoulder surgery. Other hogs retuning up front include T Onofre Gascon (6-4, 310), C David Abbott (6-2, 270), and G Terry Wallace (6-2, 315) with two talented freshman pushing the starters. Wallace, like Pelayo, was a starter two seasons ago.

The defensive unit has many talented players a well. OLB Myles Bush (6-2, 220) is the defensive captain and a 4.0 student who already has many offers rolling in. MLB David Salgado (6-2, 240) is also returning and was an All-Conference selection last year.  Veteran DT Neal Gray (6-1, 300) returns on the line while Justice believes incoming Fr. DE Zach Burge (6-3, 230, Helix HS) will make an immediate impact. FS Jovone Murphy (6-2, 190) anchors the secondary with clutch plays. His nine interceptions led the conference in 2002. In spite of all the talent, Coach Justice has the highest praise for P Ryan Seale. "Seale dominated all the kicking camps and he could be the nation's top punter. He averaged 40.8 yards per punt and can up his average this year," Justice remarked.

FIRST GAME: The Apaches take on Santa Monica College to open the season.


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