Sports in the News
2010 Season Preview: 7 Bowl Teams Part of PCC Football's Tough SCFA Schedule
The Pasadena City College football team begins its 86th season on the gridiron Saturday, Sept. 4 when the Lancers visit Glendale Community College in a 6 p.m. kickoff at GCC's Sartoris Field.
While Glendale was a below-.500 team last season, the Vaqueros are one of the few 2010 PCC opponents that didn't make it into the postseason last year. In fact, the Lancers will face seven teams that played in bowl games last winter out of a treacherous 10-game, Southern California Football Association (SCFA) schedule.
The Lancers also play in the state's toughest division, the National Southern Conference. Powerhouse squads Fullerton, Saddleback, Palomar, Grossmont and defending state champion Mt. San Antonio combined for a 50-11 record last year. The impending challenge is not lost on PCC interim head coach Dennis Gossard.
"The only team that didn't go to a bowl game last year in this conference was us," Gossard said. "We know we're up against it. We have to face King Kong, Godzilla, Rodan, Superman and Batman. But, we're here to compete and we have the type of talent to butt heads with the big boys."
Week No. 2 opponent Allan Hancock and No. 5 foe Ventura are the other 2009 bowl teams on the Lancers' schedule.
PCC returns 19 lettermen from the 5-5 team of a year ago. That group includes All-NNC Second Team selections in all-purpose player Reuben Thomas III and left offensive tackle Bradly Henderson. Thomas led the Lancers in touchdowns (15) and was a multi-threat as a wide receiver, "wildcat" quarterback, and return specialist.
The deepest veteran position for PCC is at wide receiver where Thomas (24 receptions), Kemonte Bateman (37 catches), Devance Harris (23 receptions), and DeMonte Bell (20 catches) all saw plenty of action last season.
The team has nine transfers and none better than running back Telvin McMillian (99 carries, 818 yards, 6 touchdowns), who was a force for Allan Hancock College in 2008. That year as a freshman, the 6-foot, 218-pound McMillian helped beat PCC, 45-42, by rushing for a game-high 151 yards at Robinson Stadium. Another transfer RB is Ron Spears, a 5-7 fireplug from Saginaw Valley State (Michigan), who was impressive at the team's first intrasquad scrimmage.
Sophomore Caleb Fore, one of four different players to start at quarterback for PCC last season, tops the signal caller depth chart entering the 2010. The Hawaiian-born Fore passed for 264 yards in just two games, including a memorable relief effort v. Moorpark where he led the team's game-winning touchdown drive by completing 4-for-5 passes late in the week No. 8 victory.
Fore's offensive line consists of Henderson, letterman left guard Penieli Faaso, freshman center Jase Toomalatai (Kahuku High, Hawaii), returning right tackle Oscar Hernandez and right guard James Le'au (from Samoana High in American Samoa).
"I think it's important that the quarterback and offensive line be the same six guys throughout a season," Gossard said. "It's hard to gain consistency if you have different players moving in and out of the line. Caleb is going to be our opening-night starter and he comes in with some experience at this level from last year. He knows our program well.
"We're deep at wide receiver and running back, so offense should be a strength for us. McMillian is Secretariat, a horse for us, and has a chance to lead the rushing game. I watched him run us over two years ago, so it's nice to see if he can do the same to opponents of PCC this year."
PCC's defense is fairly young with only cornerback Davionne Amie (one TD interception return) and nose tackle Manako Tuifua (43 tackles) returning from the '09 lineup.
Two big additions for the secondary are a pair of transfer safeties from Palomar College in Tevin McCaskill (59 tackles, 2 interceptions, 8 pass break-ups) and Omar Smith (45 tackles, 2 interceptions, 11 pass busters). Both players were instrumental to helping Palomar reach the SoCal championship game and were on a Comets' team that was ranked No. 3 in the SCFA in defense. Marcus Graves (Pasadena's Muir High) joins Amie at the top of the cornerback depth chart.
At middle linebacker is perhaps the Lancers' blue-chip freshman in Grant Haggard, an All-CIF Southern Section, Mid-Valley Division selection as a senior at Monrovia High. A tackle machine, Haggard made 7 quarterback sacks last year. PCC's outside linebackers consist of a returner from two seasons ago, Cordell Robinson (Muir) and freshman Kimball Niumatalolo (Kahuku HS). Robinson was the star defensive player for PCC in the 2008 Tremblay Services Bowl victory over Southwestern when he made a team-high 9 tackles and added 2 sacks.
The PCC defensive line has a definite Hawaiian flavor with Tuifua (Kailua HS) joined by tackle Kealii Latuselu (Kahuku) and end Charles Tua'au (Leilehua). Sophomore Carlton Hudson, a touted top lineman at Crenshaw High prior to PCC, and Pone Faleofa (Deer Valley HS, Antioch) bolster the DL.
Punter/kicker Brian Gonzalez returns to the Lancers and he will be complemented by transfer placekicker John Ghilarducci (Bakersfield College). McCaskill and Thomas are expected to see action on punt and kick returns.
"We have a great assistant coaching staff, especially my two coordinators with Shandon Silva running the offense and Seth Morris on defense," Gossard said. "I really think we have a good bunch of guys. We expect to compete and hopefully be in the win column more often than not."
PCC v. Glendale Pre-Game Notes: The Lancers hold a dominating series advantage against local freeway rival Glendale with a 32-13-1 mark in 46 meetings...In an odd scheduling fluke, PCC will be playing in consecutive games at Glendale as the Lancers closed last season with a 38-22 triumph at Sartoris Field...In his 32nd season at PCC, Gossard is beginning his third tour as head coach and 10th season as the coach in charge, the most of any head coach in the school's football history. He is looking for milestone career win No. 50 as only R. Frank Baker (1926-1934, 52 wins) and Tom Mallory (1937-1941 and 1946-48, 50 wins) have more victories at PCC/PJC...In Gossard's previous head coaching seasons, the Lancers are 7-2 in season openers, including a 16-14 victory over LA Valley in the 2005 opener.
[Photo--Caleb Fore (12) runs a play during the team's intrasquad scrimmage. Fore was chosen starting quarterback for Saturday's PCC season opener at Glendale Community College, image by Richard Quinton.]
Release Date: 09/02/10