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HIS CRYSTAL BALL SEES FEW SURPRISES.

Byline: GERRY GITTELSON

Football practice has begun, and here are some things bound to happen this high school season:

--Canyon quarterback Nate Longshore will be the area's prize recruit, and he'll commit to USC. Eventually, that could mean three Foothill League alums could be Pacific-10 Conference starting quarterbacks - Longshore at USC, Hart's Matt Moore at UCLA, and Hart's Kyle Matter at Stanford.

--Hart's Dan Howell, who was learning the game a year ago as the team's starting cornerback and an underused backup running back, will develop into the league's most dominating two-way starter. He'll excel on defense and rush for more than 1,000 yards, catch 40 passes and score 25 touchdowns.

--New Saugus coach Jason Bornn, hoping to rebound the team from last year's 2-8 performance, will be hailed as a savior after the Centurions defeat Hilltop of San Diego by three touchdowns in the first game of the season.

--off!Homesickness will be a minor problem for high-powered Canyon, as the Cowboys open the season with road games - at Lancaster and Saddleback in Santa Ana - and play just one home game through the first five weeks.

--Here's an easy one: Hart will win its 59th Foothill League game in a row - and Burbank will lose its 51st in a row - when the teams meet in the league opener Oct. 17 at College of the Canyons.

--The Canyon-Hart game Oct. 24 at Canyon will be the most anticipated and hyped matchup between the schools since 1986's legendary showdown, which featured the region's top quarterbacks, Hart's Jim Bonds vs. Canyon's Ken Sollom.

--With a lineup filled with young starters, Valencia might get off to a slow start - the nonleague scheduled includes high-powered opponents Birmingham of Lake Balboa (11-3), Oxnard (11-2), Arroyo Grande (6-4) and Notre Dame of Sherman Oaks (14-0) - but the team will lay the groundwork for a return to prominence, if not this year then in 2004.

--All those years playing soccer will pay off for Hart receiver Kevin Ciccone, who'll double as the team's kicker. Ciccone, whose father, Robert Ciccone, is Hart's varsity soccer coach, will be Hart's first position player in recent memory to kick field goals and extra points.

--Linebacker will be among the league's strongest positions with Canyon's Andrew Schantz and Hart's Brian Elledge earning NCAA Division I college scholarships, and Valencia's Torrey O'Brien will establish himself as the region's hardest-hitting junior.

--Even though he's undersized at 6-0, 170 pounds, Hart's Sean Norton will be the the school's fifth consecutive quarterback to earn an NCAA Division I college scholarship, following Moore, Matter, Kyle Boller (California) and David Neill (Nevada).

Meanwhile, Norton will pass for more than 4,000 yards for the second year in a row, a feat never accomplished at perhaps the state's top passing school.

--Canyon running back Louis Montano will have another excellent season - he rushed for 1,439 yards, caught 24 passes and scored 21 touchdowns as a junior last year - but for some reason will remain among the league's most underrated talents.

--Valencia's all-purpose speedster Geoff Tisdale will score touchdowns of 50 yards or longer on a run, a reception and a return - all in the same game.

--Burroughs of Burbank coach Keith Knoop will be his usual optimistic self, predicting big things for his underdog team. But there's no way Burroughs will win more than two league games.
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Aug 19, 2003
Words:560
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