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High School News & Notes

Previewing the 2002 Season
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With fall drills just a few months away, AFM begins its preview of the 2002 high school season. Here is our first look at some teams across the nation that figure to be contenders for national rankings during the upcoming season.

10 Teams to Watch (Please note: This list is not at all final nor comprehensive and the teams are listed in alphabetical order.)

De La Salle (Concord, Calif.)
The coach: Bob Ladouceur
The record: 12-0 last season with 125 straight wins and two consecutive National Prep Poll titles
The resume: Someone will probably have to knock off the Spartans before it would be right to surrender their crown as the nation’s top-ranked team. This year’s DLS team could have team speed than any before it.

Evangel Christian (Shreveport, La.)

The coach: John Booty
The record: 14-1 last season and its first state title since 1999 when it also won the National Prep Poll title
The resume: Junior QB John David Booty (6-3, 190) is the next in a long line of outstanding Evangel passers and led the Eagles past West Monroe in the Class 5A title game. WR Tristen Ross (6-0, 185) figures to be Booty’s top target and S Chad Johnson (5-11, 185) will be one of the top defensive back prospects in the nation.

Helix (La Mesa, Calif.)
The coach: Gordon Wood
The record: 25-1 over the last two seasons (Wood’s first two at the school) with back-to-back San Diego Section Division II titles
The resume: A great place to start is RB Reggie Bush (6-0, 185) who will return after a 2001 season with 2,200 yards rushing and 34 touchdowns. Standout WR Charles Smith (6-1, 180) is also back for the Scottie Dogs.

Independence (Charlotte, N.C.)
The coach: Tommy Knotts
The record: 16-0 last season with 31 straight wins and back-to-back Class 4A titles
The resume: Two words - Chris Leak. The nation’s top returning signal caller, Leak (6-2, 210), already owns all of North Carolina’s state passing records and should finish his career at least among the top 3 nationally in both yards and touchdowns. To prove their mettle, the Patriots will get a crack at possibly South Carolina’s finest, Spartanburg, during the early season.

Joliet Catholic (Joliet, Ill.)
The coach: Dan Sharp
The record: 41-1 with three state championships since 1999.
The resume: The Hilltoppers lose FB J.R. Zwierzynski to Penn State and OT Mike Kolodziej to Michigan but will welcome the return of 10 other starters. Look for junior DT/TE Jim Jadron (6-4, 240) to become a blue-chipper in two years.

Palm Bay (Melbourne, Fla.)
The coach: Dan Burke
The record: 24-3 the last two seasons with a state championship in 2001
The resume: The undefeated Pirates were rolling through the Class 4A playoffs last season before running into and losing to eventual champ and sickingly talented Tallahassee Lincoln, 24-21, in the state semifinals. Big-time RB/LB Joe Cohen (6-3, 235) is one of several talented returning players.

Parkview (Lilburn, Ga.)
The coach: Cecil Flowe
The record: 15-0 last season and 30-0 the last two seasons with two straight Class AAAAA state titles
The resume: The Panthers lose all-state DB Jeff Francoeur but return plenty of talent in QB Dustin Wade (6-2, 190) and all-staters RB Sean Dawkins (5-10, 205) and OL Zeb McKinzey (6-4, 285).

Ryan (Denton, Texas)
The coach: Joey Florence
The record: 15-0 last season and a Class 4A/I state championship
The resume: The Raiders were not nationally ranked last season but that might change in 2002 with the return of last year’s District 4A-9 MVP James Battle (6-2, 190) along with 6-7, 220-pound pass rush specialist Jarvis Moss.

St. Ignatius (Cleveland)
The coach: Chuck Kyle
The record: 2001 was one of Iggy’s worst seasons in recent history record-wise (11-4), but it still closed with state championship No. 9.
The resume: The Wildcats have always played great defense and rushed the ball effectively, but Ohio State verbal DB-WR Tony Gonzalez (6-0, 180) gives Ignatius a dynamic new dimension.

Spartanburg (Spartanburg, S.C.)
The coach: Doc Davis
The record: 13-2 last season as the Vikings won their fifth state championship since 1991.
The resume: If the Vikes can knock off Independence (N.C.) in September, a top-10 national ranking would not be out of the question by early October. The defending AAAA/Big 16 state titlists return most of its offensive firepower in QB Brandon Sims (6-2, 180), WR Antwan Surratt (5-9, 170) and RB Donovan Gist.


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