The LA Harbor Seahawks are coming off a 5-5 season in which they lost three games by a total of eight points. Head Coach Steve Schmitz, who is entering his third year with the program, feels the Seahawks are continuing to get better and that this 2002 squad could be pretty good.

On the offensive side, Schmitz will be looking to replace dangerous wideout, Jason Mitchell, who signed with USC and also running back Brandy Russell. The latter picked up a late scholarship with Wyoming. These two were very productive All-WSC performers. But four of five starting offensive linemen return plus one starter from 2000 is back after a year off.

This year's go-to guy at receiver might be Mike Eolio (5-11, 185; N. Torrance HS), who according to Schmitz has run a 10.5 hundred meters. In high school Eolio returned nine kicks for touchdowns, ran for nine TDs, and caught 16 TD passes in route to All-Area and All-CIF honors per Schmitz. Eolio is in summer school and may get out in three semesters, which has schools like USC, Hawaii, Oregon State, and Arizona State excited. He's a tireless trainer and has a non-stop motor.

Of course, Eolio isn't going it alone at receiver. Returning after a one-year absence and shoulder surgery is Javier Arias (5-8, 175; S. Torrance HS). He'll get time along with freshman slot receiver Chris Christopher (6-1, 170; Long Beach Jordan HS) who was an All-Conference player in high school last year.

None of these guys will be worth a lick without an effective signal caller. Schmitz feels that Montana State bounceback, David Aupiu (6-2, 207; S. Torrance HS; RS-Fr.), will be the guy. A couple of 6-3, 185-pounders will battle Aupiu for the starting job and back-up duties.

The Seahawks hope that one of several newcomers will get the job done at tailback after a year in which Russell rushed for over 800 yards and tallied another 300 yards receiving. Look for James Robinson (Carson HS), a former City Player of the Year in high school, to have an impact. He'll compete with a player from Hawaii and a transfer from another JC.

The area on offense that most excites Schmitz is his offensive line, which could be as deep as any in the conference. "We're solid up front. It's the best line I've had," said Schmitz, who notes that it's a very tight-knit group.

Center Ralph Bracamonte (6-3, 300), a starter in 2000, returns to health after sitting out 2001 with a knee injury. West Virginia has already offered a scholarship. A former tight end and All-WSC selection, Xavier Simms (6-4, 285), lines up at one guard position. A kickback from Arizona, Thomas Stevens (6-3 1/2, 310; Banning HS) will most likely see considerable action for the Seahawks in route back to Arizona. Other names to remember include Travis Lokahi (6-3, 275), returning starter Henry Valencia (6-4, 305; San Pedro HS), Arte Razo (6-6, 350), and C/OG Luigi Tua'au (6-1, 290; Carson HS). Of course, the incoming freshmen will battle for time, too, including highly regarded Quincy Howard (6-5, 325; Long Beach Jordan HS).

Defensively, the Seahawks will be light on experience. Defensive end Monte Parson has moved on to Cal-Berkeley and dominating inside linebacker Chris Smith picked up a late scholarship to Michigan State.

The lone returning starter in the trenches is Vince Puaina, who has worked hard in the offseason to add strength. Two freshmen from Tonga, who go 6-5, 305 and 6-7, 340, will battle for the defensive tackle spots. The freshman to watch at defensive tackle is Cameron Stevenson (6-5, 305; Hawthorne HS), another player returning to action after a year away from the gridiron. Schmitz tells us that Stevenson's body has matured with a year doing construction work.

Six or seven freshmen are battling for all of the linebacker spots. A kickback outside linebacker from UNLV, Ashley Subing Subing (6-1, 210; Carson HS), is likely to win one starting spot. Another player that Schmitz likes is inside linebacker Edward Rugama (6-0, 240), who led a powerhouse Long Beach Poly high school team in tackles two years ago. He lined up next to All-American linebacker Marvin Simmons, a USC signee that failed to qualify and will be playing his sophomore season at Compton College in 2002.

Leading the secondary will be cornerback Ekele Anetema (6-0, 180), yet another player who sat out last season. "He can flat ass run and delivers the hit. Ekele played for us in 2000 but was held out in 2001 for academics," said Schmitz. The rest of the secondary will be up for grabs.

This Seahawks team could be a sleeper pick in the WSC, especially if the offensive line plays up to their potential and team chemistry develops. They'll be tested right off the bat against a good San Diego Mesa squad followed by Orange Coast.


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