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Strong Sophomore Defensive Group Expected To Lead 2009 PCC Football

Strong Sophomore Defensive Group Expected To Lead 2009 PCC Football image

Coming off a 7-4 year and the program's first bowl victory since 2001, the Pasadena City College football team is preparing for another postseason run in the upcoming 2009 campaign. The Lancers participate in their first official practice this Thursday, Aug. 13 at PCC's Robinson Stadium.

The Lancers, directed by second-year, acting head coach James Kuk, bring back a solid corps of lettermen from their Tremblay Financial Services Bowl title team of 2008. All-National Northern Conference First Team safety Julius Harris is the most heralded returning player after leading PCC in interceptions with six and in solo tackles with 47. His 76 overall tackles was second on the team. Harris is one of several leaders coming back to PCC on defense.

Middle linebacker Jeremy Aguilar begins his sophomore season after leading the Lancers in tackles with 78 and in fumble recoveries with four. Aguilar, a 6-foot-1, 240-pounder from Roosevelt High in Los Angeles, is ranked at the top of community college players in the nation at MLB by JCFootball.com. Harris, a 6-4, 210-pound stalwart from Compton's Centennial High, is rated in the top five in national individual player rankings at safety.

Roman Pula, an All-NNC Second Team pick last year, was a rare, two-way player as a freshman, but appears to be concentrating on defense this season as an outside linebacker. Pula was third on the team in tackles (75), tops in QB hurries (six) and made 3.5 sacks. On offense as a short yardage fullback, Pula scored 11 of his PCC high 12 touchdowns.

Defensive lineman Carlton Hudson, who played in just five games last year with 13 tackles, is expected to be more of an impact player this season. The 6-3, 290-pound tackle has received interest from at least seven NCAA Division I universities after originally signing with Arizona State University following his senior year at Crenshaw High.

Cornerback Taurus D'antignac (29 tackles, one interception; 332 punt/kick return yards) and lineman Ruben McQueen (12 tackles) also bolster a veteran defensive lineup for Kuk's Lancers. Finally, safety Daniel Bernal, who was PCC's second leading tackler in 2007 with 56, is returning after taking last season off. Bernal had three interceptions and five pass breakups. The combination of Harris and Bernal at the key safety positions has Kuk feeling good about the secondary.

"We feel confident with the number of returning players from our bowl win team to pick up right where we left off last season," Kuk said. "We're excited to bring back as many impact players as we have on defense."

On offense, the Lancers lost 1,000-yard running back back Joshua Morgan and top receivers Titus Mack and Owen Dixon to graduation. Returning from the '08 team will be running back Anthony Pines (196 yards rushing, 22 receptions), wide receiver Sean Carraway (20 receptions, 304 yards, two touchdowns) and starting offensive lineman Gabriel Moreno, a 6-foot-6, 300-pound guard/tackle, who starred at Alhambra High before coming to PCC.

At quarterback, Kuk has two sophomores with playing experience returning in Jonathan Troast (627 passing yards, seven TDs) and Nick Ponce (299 yards).

Kuk was asked about the effect of the 10 percent budget cuts that the CCCAA implemented for all California Community College sports teams in 2009-2010. In football, it means the loss of the pre-season scrimmage.

"It's going to be more difficult to fully prepare and gauge the freshmen and newcomers because we lost the scrimmage and a week of our pre-season," Kuk said. "But all the teams are in the same boat, so the coaching staff will have to work harder and faster at evaluating our roster."

PCC's freshmen group will be profiled later this month.

The Lancers open the '09 season Saturday, Sept. 5 with a 1 p.m. non-conference game at long-time rival Mt. San Antonio College.

[Photo--Julius Harris (26, right) was an All-National Northern Conference First Team selection last season and leads a talented sophomore crew for the PCC football team in 2009.]

Release Date: 08/11/09
Robert Lewis, Sports Information
Phone: 626-585-7018, Email: rmlewis@pasadena.edu