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COLLEGE FOOTBALL: BEAVERS TAKE TO THE DESERT ANTELOPE VALLEY FEEDS OREGON ST.

Byline: Chris Cocoles Staff Writer

Once the laughingstock of the Pacific-10 Conference, Oregon State is suddenly a football powerhouse. And the Beavers have an Antelope Valley contingent contributing to the resurgence.

Four local products should make an impact for the Beavers, who are ranked among the top 10 in several preseason polls and open the season at Fresno on State Sept. 1.

Here's a look at the locals:

--Vince Sandoval: OSU running back Ken Simonton, a preseason Heisman Trophy candidate, recently saw a mural of himself unveiled in downtown Portland.

Although Sandoval (Palmdale High) won't likely have his likeness on any street corners, he and his fellow offensive linemen can take a good portion of the credit for Simonton's stats.

Sandoval and Keith DiDomenico both started last year and will anchor the right side of the line, where Simonton should do much of his running.

--Jason Jacobs: Jacobs, who played quarterback and defensive back at Lancaster and was recruited to Oregon State as a safety, was shifted to linebacker for his redshirt freshman year and played mostly on special teams.

Jacobs should see more playing time on defense after he was moved again, from weakside linebacker to strong linebacker in spring practice.

Jacobs, strong enough to play linebacker but quick enough that he could move back to safety if needed, benched 310 pounds and hit 410 in the squat.

--Eric Mobley: The emergence of Simonton prompted Mobley (A.V. High/A.V. Christian), once a running back, to move to the other side of of the ball. He was listed as No. 2 on the depth chart at free safety.

His value to the Beavers is primarily on special teams. He appeared in all 12 games last year and was credited with six unassisted tackles and seven total tackles.

--Paul Soto: Beavers coach Dennis Erickson said Soto (Highland) must step up as a redshirt freshman reserve on the defensive line.

The 6-1, 288-pounder, who played linebacker at Highland, is one of the strongest in the program's weight room.

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Photo:

Former Highland High football player Paul Soto is one of several ex-Antelope Valley players expected to play a role for Oregon State.

Jeff Goldwater/Staff Photographer
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Aug 2, 2001
Words:368
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