Which, in fact, does bode well for the 1999 Vikings, who will be
out to better 98's final mark of 4-6, which included four losses to end
Rehling enters his fifth season with five returning starters on
defense, four on offense - and with plenty of enthusiasm.
'We really feel that we could have our best season in a long
time,' he said. 'We return a lot of players with experience, especially
some good offensive linemen, and Ray Mietkiewicz at fullback.
'We have great team speed, but depth in a couple of key positions
is a concern to us. But, our goal is to be in the playoffs at the end of
the regular season.'
Marina's veer offense will be built around Mietkiewicz, well known
throughout the league after a big junior season.
The First Team All-Sunset League rusher ran for 1,549 yards in
'98, and once again will be the key performer in the Viking backfield.
Taking the snap from center will be junior quarterback Beau Brown,
a point guard on the Marina varsity basketball team.
Brown will replace the recently graduated Scot Austin, who
directed the veer offense the past three years.
'Ray's just one of those players who has a lot of heart. He knows
he's going to get the ball and be the prime focus of opposing defenses,
but he just goes right back at you,' Rehling said. 'He's a tremendous
'Beau, on the other hand, is lightning quick and a well-liked
leader. We feel he can really make our offense go.'
The offensive line, which figures to be an area of strength in
'99, features five seniors in Second Team all-leaguer M.J. Ansel, Manoa
Pouono, Joe Gallucci, John Manley, and Kyle Warren, a transfer from
The Marina defense will be anchored by junior linebacker Inoke
Tukia, an all-league Honorable Mention selection last year. Fellow
linebackers Aaron Williams and Jason Stone, a junior and senior,
respectively, who also will see action at wide receiver, and newcomer
Adam Hayward, a sophomore, will flank Tukia.
Although he has some holes to fill, and the talent and experience
to do so, Rehling feels the first three games of the regular season -
Corona del Mar, Newport Harbor, and Upland - could serve as a barometer
for the season.
'Those first three games could very well be a good measure of what
we can expect this season,' said Rehling, whose Vikings went 1-2 against
that same trio last year. 'I really think we have the athletes to meet
the challenges of a challenging non-league schedule, as well as make a
run in league play.'
With a goal of reaching the postseason in '99, Rehling knows that
a third-place finish in the Sunset League is a must.
'It could be a wide open league race, but with the graduation of
some outstanding players, it's hard right now to know who has what coming
back,' he said. 'The (preseason) favorites would have to be the
traditional powers in this league. Edison had excellent young, skilled
players last year, and they could be a power if they mature.
'I think, though, that with our talent -- and if this team can
come together early -- we could very well be among the top three league
teams in '99.'