MONTEREY PARK, CA — One year ago East Los Angeles College took the Southern California junior college football world by storm, finishing with eight straight wins and an American Division Metro League championship. They were able to cap the season off with an emphatic 63-37 victory over College of the Desert in the Patriotic Bowl. Their final 9-2 record was the best in school history since 1972 and has led many to believe that last year was no fluke. Second year head coach Bobby Godinez is leading the charge, “2017 is a new season, 2016 was a launching pad for the program and it’s over now, but the expectations haven’t changed, the end goal is always 11-0 and it’s going to be the execution of the small things week to week that get us to that goal.” When asked about the team dynamic this year heading into camp coach Godinez responded, “Our culture is everything here, the coaches have done a phenomenal job delivering the message of self-accountability between teammates and that trickles down from our returners to the new guys”.
The Huskies return only five players from last year’s high-powered offense, but it’s the competition in camp that has everyone optimistic that a beat will not be missed. The signal calling position is a three-horse race, with Redshirt returnee Paul Herrera competing with L.A. Southwest college transfer Jorge Amaya and Northern Californian recruit Phil Tran (Archbishop Mitty High School), the battle to lead an offense with lofty expectations is definitely one to watch. The offensive line returns 6’5” 315 lb. All-League honoree Antonio Saucedo (Schurr HS) looking to lead a unit that looks to be a little wet behind the ears, having to fill four other positions with incoming freshmen. The strength of the offense is without a doubt the skill positions. Led by 6’0” 160 lb. All-League honoree Kenny Allen, the speed and quickness that is being showcased at camp is eerily similar to last year’s threats.
From a defensive standpoint, the Huskies have the looks of a stingy unit, returning eight players from last year’s team that finished second in total sacks in the state of California. Getting after opposing quarterbacks should be an area of strength for this year’s Huskies. The defensive line is led by national recruit Sione Vea and could feature multiple rotations of both new and returning players. The LineBacker Corp, which some say might be the best in the conference, returns two All-league performers in 6’ 2” 230 lb. Elijah Quarles (Pasadena HS), and 6’0” 210 lb. Daniel Benton (Southeast HS). The defensive backfield returns another All-League performer in 5’10” 190 lb. Trevon Bordrick (Howard High D.E.). With all the talent that is returning do not be surprised to see the defensive unit look to lead this team early on.
Having to replace a record breaking kicker and dynamic special teams’ skill players, the competition has been stiff in camp. With four kickers on the roster and a plethora of talent to choose from for kick/punt returns, the special teams’ coaches are counting on daily competition to see who can fill the voids.
The 2017 season officially kicks-off this Saturday, Sept. 2 at 6 p.m. at East Los Angeles College against National Division/Southern Conference powerhouse Orange Coast College. OCC handed the Huskies one of their two losses last year in the season opener. The first league contest for the Huskies is Saturday, Sept. 30 vs. Santa Ana College.
Please make sure to check back for week to week updates.
submitted by Jonathan Rodriguez