The offense will have some big shoes to fill after a record-breaking 1992 season. With the return of the Finnerans, the emphasis will be to get them the ball as often as possible. The offensive set and running game will have a new look to compliment the upgraded pass package. Regardless, the Eagle offense should prove to be just as open and exciting as in the past. Also new is the entire staff, with the exception of coordinator Tim O’Hara. O’Hara returns for his second year as coordinator and quarterback coach. He likes a wide-open, balanced offense and the new system should fit the mold. Greg Paquin, whose philosophy is to throw the ball deep early, will handle the receivers. He has coached at University and Newport Harbor high schools prior to joining the Eagles. Tom Strickland and Brett Kohorst were added to the staff at the end of Summer, and will be tremendous assets to the staff. Strickland has held numerous coaching jobs from high school to the university ranks. He most recently resigned as the head coach at St. Bernards to work closer to home. He will coach the running backs. Kohorst has been the line coach at Servite before joining the Eagles. He recently was a coach for the North squad in the Orange County All-Star game.
“The line is the heart of the offense. How it performs is indicative of the entire offense.” These are the words of Head Coach Jim Hartigan. The 1993 offensive line will be young and inexperienced; however it will be quite large and quick. Gone are three All-Sea view League lineman.One returner will be senior Robert Craven (6’1”, 255) who was moved from guard to center during the off season because of his size. As a junior, Craven was second on the team in decleaters with 20. He was also named lineman of the week twice. Because of his efforts Craven was named Rookie of the Year in 1992. Adding quality depth to the center position will be junior James Leonard (5’9”, 200) and senior Denis Herlehy (5’10”, 160).Another lineman with game experience is senior Frank Brenes (6’1”, 210), who will start at the left guard position. The guard position will be challenged by seniors Matt Younce (5’11”, 180), Patrick Strader (5’10”, 200) and junior Rik Glover (5’11”, 190). Senior Mike Raths (6’0”, 190) was moved from tight end to the offensive line during the Summer. He will contend for either the tackle or guard spot. Vying for the tackle spots are juniors Josh Beckett (6’5”, 300), Kris Farris (6’7”, 260), Sean Linehan (5’10”, 220) and juniors Matt Dunn (6’0”, 190) and Mike Fisher (6’0”, 200).
Probably the key to the success of the offense will be the play of the quarterback, and the Eagles enter the new season with a new signal caller. Senior Derek Yankoff (6’2”, 190), who could have started for most teams in the county last year, saw limited time behind Sean O’Brien. Yankoff possesses tremendous all-around talent and has improved his skills in the off season. He will be asked to throw the ball quite a bit, which shows he has earned the respect of the coaching staff. Backing up Yankoff will be two sophomores who are very gifted and add excellent depth to the position. Chris Collins (6’1”, 180), who started the last four games for Tustin High in 1992, is another all-around athlete who will see time as a receiver as well. Craig Harrison (6’1”, 175) si up from the Freshman team where he impressed everyone with his arm. In the past the quarterbacks at SMCHS have excelled with two previous All-CIF players, and Yankoff should be able to keep the tradition alive.
The running back position will return only two players from the 1992 team, and neither of them carried the ball in a Varsity game. Even though the offense features only one back, the role of B-back is crucial to the success of the offense. Three players will battle for the starting job in doubledays. Senior Joe McAneny (5’8”, 170) and sophomores Ryan Brooks (5’9”, 165) and Mike Whelan (5’10”, 175) have performed a step ahead of the others. Brooks was a standout on the Freshman team last year and McAneny was the JV team’s top runner. Whelan is an exceptional athlete who will probably be a backup due to his projected start on defense. Senior Mario Franqui (5’10”, 165) and sophomore T.J. Henricks (5’11”, 180) will provide depth and have an outside chance of breaking into the rotation.
There will be plenty of excitement in the 1993 Eagle passing game. The receiving core, led by Brian and Brad Finneran, promises to thrill Eagle fans while frustrating opposing defenses and coaches alike. Identical twins Brad Finneran (6’5”, 190) and Brian Finneran (6’5”, 190), bring two years of experience to the offense. As juniors, both were selected All-CIF and All-Sea View League honors. Brian was selected on the LA Times and OC Register All-County teams, as well as being All-State. He is also closing in on the all-time Orange County reception record of 176; Brian has 109 which is 68 receptions short of a new record. Brad is poised to capture a third straight Hit Man award and has been a dominant force on both sides of the ball. Looking to offer relief to the Finnerans at wide receiver are juniors Ryan Korinke (6’0”, 170) and Colin Best (5’1”, 170), and sophomore Matt Nickels (6’1”, 160). Korinke and Nickels have shown great skill in catching the ball and finding the open area. Best is beginning his first year as a wide receiver and has proven that he can make the big play. Senior Chris Altomare (6’0”, 165) possesses the abilities and skills to play both wide receiver ahd H-Back. Competing for the A-back position are sophomore Chris Collins (6’1”, 180) juniors Brian Garrigan (5’11”, 180), Brian Griffin (5’10”, 160) and Steve Gribben (5’10”, 165”). Collins is a newcomer to the Eagle program this year, but he has the size and speed to perform well. The other three have shown great promise and will battle for the starting job or a spot in the rotation. Senior Louie Warner (5’10”, 170) is vying for the A-back spot as well, but could also see some action at wide receiver. he is an excellent competitor and should add excitement in the offense.
Back in the Eagle offense as a regular position will be the tight end spot. With the emergence of some fine personnel, the coaching staff has gained more and more confidence in the position. Two players have taken strides forward during the Summer and should battle for the starting spot. Junior Matt Ahmer (5’11”, 175) and freshman Rueban Vaughan (6’2”, 210) do not have the experience but are both very talented. Ahmer has also been a solid receiver over the Spring and Summer, and Vaughan has the size and strength to dominate on the line of scrimmage. Two seniors who should add depth and a possible rotation spot are Scott McIntosh (5’11”, 170) and Mike DeFries (6’0”, 190). Both were reserve tight ends last year on the Varsity, while rotating on the JV level