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Four locals on South roster

April 07, 2003

Barry Faulkner

Costa Mesa High senior Keola Asuega and Newport Harbor High senior

Dartangan Johnson, two players known best for their offensive

contributions, will be counted upon to get defensive in the Orange

County All-Star Football Game, scheduled July 11 at Orange Coast

College.

Asuega and Johnson, star running backs last fall, are among four

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Newport-Mesa standouts on the 36-player South roster, chosen by

sportswriters. Corona del Mar High senior Matt Cooper and Costa Mesa

senior Borotha Pov have also been selected to play for Los Amigos

Coach Roger Takahashi, who will guide the South against the top

players from schools located north of the Garden Grove Freeway.

Asuega, named Newport-Mesa MVP, All-CIF Southern Section Division

VII and MVP of the Golden West League, is expected to contribute

primarily at free safety for the South. The 6-foot, 210-pounder is

expected to play safety at Idaho State, where he will continue his

career next fall.

Asuega played only sparingly on defense last season for the

Mustangs, whom he helped lead to an unbeaten Golden West League

season and an 8-3 record. Instead, he alternated between fullback and

tailback, rushing for 2,023 yards and 21 touchdowns on 253 carries,

despite missing one game with a sore hamstring. Asuega's career

numbers include a Newport-Mesa record 49 touchdowns, four more than

Newport Harbor standout Steve Brazas amassed in 1982-83. Asuega's

3,932 career rushing yards rank No. 2 in Newport-Mesa annals behind

Costa Mesa's Binh "Runaway" Tran, who collected 4,333 yards from

1991-93.

Asuega, who rushed for at least 100 yards in his final nine games

last fall, posted 19 such single-game outputs in three seasons, also

a Newport-Mesa record. He scored at least one touchdown in 24 of his

28 varsity games and had 13 multiple-TD games for the Mustangs.

Johnson, the Sailors' all-time leading rusher, is expected to fit

into the South secondary as a cornerback. He started at safety and

tailback in 2002, amassing 1,392 rushing yards and 19 TDs in the

latter role. An All-CIF honoree as a junior, when he helped the

Sailors advance to the CIF Southern Section Division VI semifinals,

he earned Newport-Mesa Offensive Player of the Year laurels for the

second straight season as a senior. A 6-0, 195-pounder who plans to

compete for time at tailback next season at Santa Ana College,

Johnson finished with 3,397 yards on 560 carries and 35 of his 37

career TDs came on rushing attempts. His 18 career 100-yard-plus

games are also a school record.

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