Offensive Outlook

The 1992 Eagle offense will take on a new look while maintaining a lot of the 1991 attack. The spread will be the dominant formation allowing the Eagles to continue to run the veer, while giving them a more potent attack. The key returners will be seniors Sean O’Brien at quarterback and Brent Noonan at center, and junior wide outs Brad Finneran and Brian Finneran. The Eagles will continue to run the same veer plays out of the traditional tight end set, but will use the spread to balance the field and expose the weaknesses of the defense. The running back positions are loaded with speed and talent, and expect the backs to catch the ball a lot more in ’92. Seniors Kevin Duffy, Ryan Zinn and John Zampese have exceptional speed as A-Backs. Senior Anthony Galasso returns as a receiver and four tight ends return from the 1991 squad. The offensive line could be the strongest part of the 1992 offense. Joining Noonan are seniors Joe Winkelmann, Thom Dickson, Bert Coutts, Tom Haupert and junior Steve Doan. The quarterback spot is solid with O’Brien and junior, Derek Yankoff who led the 1991 sophomore team to a 9-0 record.

Experienced, big, quick and powerful are a few words to describe the Eagles offensive line in 1992. Santa Margarita returns 6 players who either started or played part-time during last season’s campaign. Two of these 6, seniors Joe Winkelmann (6-3, 205) and Brent Noonan (6-2, 220), started at the tackle positions the entire year. “Joe’s our quickest lineman” said Coach Dave Uranich. “He’s also one of our toughest lineman. He never came off the field last year.” Noonan was moved to center this season because of his versatility. He was the Eagles’ best lineman last year and has the record for the most decleaters in a season with 19.5. “Brent is definitely our mainstay on the offensive line,” Uranich said. “We’re expecting great things out of him this year. He’s a force on the line.” Senior Thom Dickson (5-11, 220) will take Noonan’s place at right tackle. The guard positions will be held by senior Tom Haupert (6-0, 225) and junior Steve Doan (6-1, 250). Senior Bert Coutts (6-3, 200) is the sixth of the veterans who saw action last year and could easily win a starting job at any of the line positions. “I’ve never had so many returners before,” stated Uranich. “Dickson improved immensely over the season last year and has been working hard during the off-season. Haupert and Doan are powerhouses and Coutts is so versatile.” Also vying for the center position will be juniors Frank Brenes (6-0, 185) and Denis Herlehy (6-9, 160), last year’s top sophomore lineman. The guard positions sees juniors Robert Craven (6-0, 220), Matt Younce (5-10, 175) and Mike Fisher (5-6, 175) and senior Kevin Clark (5-11, 185) battling to back up Haupert and Doan. At tackle seniors Jon McGrath (6-0, 190) and Tom Padden (5-10, 190) and junior Matt Dunn (6-0, 180) will be competing for the job.

Sean O’Brien (6-4, 215) returns to the Eagles and will lead the 1992 team with his running and passing. O’Brien set a school record last year completing 59” of his passes and threw for 10 touchdowns. He will be asked to throw the ball a bit more in ’92, and had shown great promise in summer passing leagues. The running game will also allow him to keep the ball more often to utilize his skills. Junior Derek Yankoff (6-0, 180 steps up from last year’s undefeated sophomore team and will be a competent backup. He has a strong arm and is a tough runner. Another junior, Louie Warner (5-10, 160) will serve as the third string signal caller and play at the JV level.

For the first time in Eagle Football history, the running backs at Santa Margarita have some big shoes to fill due to the absence of Josh Ireland, Orange County’s fourth all-time leading rusher. There will be new faces at every running back position. This year’s Eagles will have good speed and depth. At the B-back position seniors Chris Tiernan (5-10, 175) and Ben Poorstra (5-6, 170), and junior Darren Wedertz (5-8, 155) are the front runners going into the season. Other players are senior John Gottran (5-10, 180), and juniors Patrick Strader (5-8, 200) and Joe McAneny (5-8, 160). The A-backs are loaded with speed and talent, and leading the way is senior Kevin Duffy (5-9, 150) and junior Tom Norfleet (5-10, 150). Senior Kevin Breen (5-11, 155) will see some time in the lineup, and junior Mario Franqui (5-9, 155) will be the primary A-back on the junior varsity team.

There is plenty of talent at wide receiver the the Eagles in 1992, and leading the way will be the Finneran brothers. Brad Finneran (6-4, 175) and Brian Finneran (6-4, 180). As sophomores last year they both were starters in the rotation. Brian set a school record with 36 receptions and scored 5 touchdowns. He came up with big plays game after game. Against Valley Christian he caught 11 passes, another school record. Brad was also a big part of the offense. His blocking skills were second to none and he caught 9 passes for 151 yards and 1 touchdown. Seniors Anthony Galasso (5-9, 165) and Fletcher Jones (6-0, 160) have excellent skills as blockers, and they have proven to be skilled receivers who will be a part of the rotation. Junior Todd Tucker (5-11, 160) was the top receiver for the sophomores and should carry that over to the ’92 season. Other that could work their way into the rotation are seniors Ryan Cottanaro (6-0, 180) and John Fyke (6-1, 170). Senior Steve Jacoby (6-1, 150) and juniors Doug Flour (5-5, 130), and Chris Altomare (5-11, 155) round out the receiving corps for the Eagles in 1992.

The tight end position will have plenty of talent with 1991 returners Tim Sulick (6-0, 190), Mike Gillissie (6-1, 170) and Erik Steenblock (6-0, 170). All three seniors saw varied action last year, and will be in the game when the Eagles run the split back veer. Senior Tony Knaack (6-2, 200), a newcomer to the position has been impressive and could work his way into the rotation. When the Eagles are in the spread formation, the tight ends will not be in. Players who are up from the sophomore team are Mike Raths (6-1, 180), Mike DeFries (6-0, 160) and Scott McIntosh (5-10, 160). The should all see plenty of action in the JV games.