SoCal Football Media Day Notes

Overall, members of the new Southern California Football Association felt they had lots of talent and speed, but lacked experience. Each coach spoke with the exception of Grossmont's Mike Jordan, who came early and left before the coaches spoke.

GROSSMONT, culled from SID Brian Hilemon's mini media info kit. After dominating the now defunct Foothill Conference for decades, the Griffins will be confronted by a flashier promenade of foes in 2008.  After scoring titles in eight of the past 14 seasons, including four of the last five, the Griffins will be tested by the state's best on a weekly basis. RB Garen Demery, 5-10, 190, and WR Elijah Brown, 5-10, 175, will provide plenty of speed.  While QB is unsettled the Griffs are loaded with receivers and will be strong on defense, headed by Abe Muheize, 6-1, 185, a couple more Maugas, Homer, 6-0, 220 LB and Hutch, 5-11, 250 DL.  Freshmen DL Jarrod Watson, 6-2, 265, and LB Pat Kelly, 6-2, 245,  along with veteran DL Terrance Joiner, 6-3, 290, make up the nucleus of a solid defense. "We have a lot of depth and talent," Jordan said.  "But we only have five starters returning from last year, which tells you how young we are." Grossmont opens the season by hosting San Diego Mesa (66-17) on Sept. 6.

PALOMAR coach Joe Early said he had 25 sophs and 100 freshmen on hand for the coming season. "We have some talented kids," said Early.  "At least four or five have been offered, so I guess that tells us something.  But, we are very inexperienced, especially on defense." QB Joey Erickson, 6-3, 205, is the only signal-caller with game experience. RB Leilyon Myers, 6-1, 235, is solid.  The Comets have one OL with experience, but they don't lack for size.  The team is expected to have excellent speed and had a good summer of practice. Palomar opens Sept. 6 by hosting Southwestern.

SADDLEBACK does not look as though is will be as strong as in the past several years, but coach Mark McElroy cautions that they should not be taken lightly. "We have a lot of really good running backs and that will be our strength," he said. "One receiver and one offensive lineman, that's it on the offense.  Our defense will be very good led by safety Aaron Brown (6-2, 219), a definite D1 prospect." The Gauchos have no returning LBs and just Justin Facili as a DL starter. "We are looking forward to the season.  It should be good.  Its almost like the old Central Conference." Saddleback has a Friday night opener at Golden West, Sept. 5.

FULLERTON coach Tim Byrnes is in his first year as head coach  following Gene Murphy’s retirement. "We will be good overall, but then we all should be good, so who knows? I'm looking forward to the season," said Byrnes. DL Armando Young and WR Tommy Cogburn look like standouts for the coming season. Jeff Fleming will be the starter at QB but a group of new receivers need to be sharp from the start. DL Armando Villa earned All-Conference honors last season as an OL. Tailback will Kenny Turner. Fullerton travels to Compton on Sept. 6 for their opener. The two teams did not meet last year.

SANTA ANA coach Geoff Jones says "this might be my best team in the seven years I’ve been head coach." All-American prospect Matt Cardenas, 6-1, 205, who caught 56 passes for 1,000 yards and 72 points in 2007, is back and raring to go. Michael Coulter, 6-3, 210, should be the starter at QB. OL prospects Robert Monroe, 6-6, 365, and Robert Sagato, 6-3. 310, are D1 prospects. On the defensive side B.J. Bell, 6-3, 250 heads the list at DE. "We had a couple of pretty good linebacker," said Jones, but a couple of freshmen have beaten them out. This team should be better. I was opposed to the new setup at first but after all it is the old Mission Conference plus Grossmont." The Dons will play host to Citrus College in a 6 pm clash on Sept. 6.

LONG BEACH'S Mike Reisbig will be in his first year as head man of the Vikings after assisting his dad Larry, and later Jerry Jaso. "We didn't have the turnout that some of the other coaches had," said Reisbig. "About 20 sophs and 50 freshmen. We know we are in tough with these guys, but I'll tell you, I'm looking forward to it." QB Josh Powell, 6-4, 215, will be throwing to an inexperienced receiving corps. There are 15 LBers ready to play and all of them are freshmen. DE Bryan Braman, 6-6, 220, should be a good one and WR Stephen Burton, 6-6, 220, might be one of the Southland's best. Long Beach travels to neighboring L.A. Harbor for the opener, Sept 6 at 6 pm.

ORANGE COAST coach Mike Taylor bemoaned the fact that he had lost several key players to academics saying, "If they don’t live with you how do you keep track of what they are doing, especially in the summer? One player who is solid with the books and the football is RB Kevin Ahi, 5-11, 210, who has looked great in practice after a fine 2007 season. QB should be in the hands of Sean Reilly, a 6-3, 210-pounder. Receivers were hard hit by the academic thing. DE Dean DeLeone, 6-3, 245, and freshman DL Justin Niutupaui, 5-11, 195, should be solid. Safeties Shad Bachtol and Ben Sosa help offset 15 frosh LBers. "We have a good kicker, Ray Casano, a bounceback from TCU, who kicked a field goal 55 yards in practice." The Bucs will host Santa Monica, Sept. 6, at 6 pm in their opener.

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