For the past six years, the Mount
San Antonio College Mounties have been one of the more successful community
college football teams in Southern California. A member of the Mission
Conference, arguably the toughest in the country, Mt. SAC has posted a 52-14
(.788) record, which includes at least a share of three divisional titles and
five bowl appearances. Back in 1997, the Mounties recorded their first
undefeated season ever, and were rewarded by winning the national and state
championship after defeating City College of San Francisco, 38-35 in the final
The 2001 version of the Mt. SAC
Mounties will no doubt be one of their youngest squads in recent memory. Head
coach Bill Fisk, entering his 15th season, and his staff lost 40
sophomores from last year, with 32 of them receiving scholarships. They still
welcome back a solid group of sophomores to compliment a fine batch of incoming
freshmen and red-shirt freshmen. Here is a breakdown of the Mt. San Antonio
With sophomore Jeff Cordova gone, along with red-shirt freshman Bryce Wooldridge,
Coach Fisk will look to sophomore Greg Valenzuela, a little-used player who
returns. Despite not seeing much playing time as a freshman, he is a proven
winner, leading his Charter Oak High team to a CIF Championship. He is fighting
with freshman Robert Lewis (Serra) and red-shirt Rick Alatorre.
"We are just getting ready to
start our 11-on-11 drills, so it's up in the air right now for all of the
positions," stated Fisk. "I think the guys we do have will be able to lead
this team, but they will all have to work hard in order to earn the starting
RUNNING BACKS –
Another position Fisk and his staff had to recruit hard for, the Mounties saw
six players receive scholarships, half of which were fullbacks. The team's
leading rusher, Chris Williams, who ran for 817 yards and eight touchdowns, has
moved on to Southern Utah University, while Keith Hall (403 yards in 2000) is
now at Tuskegee College in Alabama. The team will look to Arkansas State
bounce-back Quincy Williams from Arcadia High to help match last year's total
of 1,580 rushing yards. But, once again, it could come by committee.
Medical red-shirt D'Andre Belin, a
bruising 6-1, 225-pounder better known as "Tank", had a successful high
school career. After starting at Bonita High, where he led them to a CIF title,
he moved on to Alta Loma High and rushed for 465 yards in one game. Has also
been seen bench-pressing 415 pounds. Watch out for this wall of muscle.
"We have had a lot of guys come
out to play running back," said Fisk. "We have an older guy, Jeremiah
Williams (6-2, 230) who just got out of the Army after playing at Crenshaw High,
who has looked really good. Plus, we have a Texas bounce-back, Rasheed Gunn, a
red-shirt and Caz Hill from Upland who is really quick. We should have enough
talent to choose from this year."
RECEIVERS & TIGHT ENDS –
This may be the one position the Mounties have lost the most skill. Electrifying
receivers Andre Cyrus and Taco Wallace have moved on after combining for 75
receptions for 1,528 yards and 11 touchdowns. In addition, tight end Jermaine
Jackson and his 6-3, 230-pound body has moved on to Oregon State University.
Returning wide receiver Aaron Hosack (6-6, 210), who was limited to six games,
caught 22 passes for 268 yards. He was knocked out for the season in the game
against Cerritos, after suffering a deep gash on his knee. Red-shirt freshman
Dominick Longo, who suffered a broken vertebra last season, is a speedy
addition, while a pair of transfers will also provide some aerial assistance.
After shunning Mt. San Antonio out
of high school, Calvin Byrd went to Pasadena City College and proceeded to catch
32 passes for 469 yards. He will be one of the team's go-to guys this season,
as will Palomar transfer Jonathan Jones, who caught 28 passes for 389 yards for
the Comets last year.
"It's rare when you get two guys
like Andre and Taco in one season," added Fisk. "They were great for us, but
we have to move on. I think we have some very good players coming here this
season. We really won't know until we put the pads on and see what they can
do. But I think we can do some things through the air this year."
In addition, freshmen James Carter
(Banning) and Antonio Davis (West Covina) will also be fighting for playing time
OFFENSIVE LINE -
Another position that is forced to restock after watching seven players receive
scholarships. A young group of freshmen will have center Jerry White (6-3, 285),
the only returning starter, to look to for leadership. Sophomores Michael Byrd
(6-3, 320) and Michael Keating, at 6-1, 260, should help with the depth. One of
the best in the area who ended up at Mt. SAC was Bobby Garafalo, a 6-3,
300-pound graduate from St. Francis. A predictor out of high school, Garafalo
felt he was not ready for the rigors of Division I schools, decided to transfer
to Mt. SAC to prepare himself for the next level. Derrick Durbin, a 6-3,
275-pounder from West Covina High is also another highly touted player by Fisk.
"One thing we do have in our
incoming freshmen is size," stated Fisk. "We have a trio of 300-pounders
that just might be able to work their way into the starting lineup. But we'll
have to see."
Fisk was referring to Kenneth
Zartner (6-4, 300, Bell), Johnny Urritia (6-4, 315, El Rancho) and Ramon Ortega
(6-3, 300, Nogales). In addition, Mike Mallory, at 6-7, 315, should also be
ready to provide depth at both guard and tackle.
DEFENSIVE LINE –
Returning starter Cameron Beal, a run-stopper at 6-3, 250 pounds, will be able
to use his quickness to help plug up holes. He will be joined by huge Darren
DeLone a 6-6, 310-pound mammoth, who returns for his sophomore year. In
addition, Citrus College transfer Asora Tuiaana (6-2, 290) has been referred to
as "impressive" by Fisk.
"We have a good group of guys who
provide size and speed on the defensive line," added Fisk. "This guy Tuiaana
has looked very good in our 7-on-7 drills. He looks like the real deal, but we
need to wait and see how he does when we get deeper into our practices."
Freshman Roman Aiono, who helped
lead Los Altos to the CIF Championship, comes in at 6-2, 270 to provide depth,
while defensive end Nick Brown (6-5, 245, Charter Oak) will earn his way onto
the field with his hard work.
Fisk felt this position might be the most inexperienced of his team at the
beginning of the summer. He lost all three starters, including Robert May who
ended up at Florida State University after originally committing to the
University of Illinois. But as the summer progressed, he saw that his numbers
were rising, as well as the talent.
Sophomore Mao Uiagalelei (6-3, 235)
from Ganesha is solid against the run and is not afraid to hit someone. He will
anchor the linebackers, as will sophomore Eric Wagner, who had to miss last
season after fracturing his ankle. A pair of red-shirt freshmen will also play a
lot, as Rodney Sandoval (6-2, 220, California) and Carl Stewart (6-0, 215,
Diamond Bar) have improved. Mix in freshmen A.D. Winters (6-0, 230, Bishop Amat)
and Francis Blay-Mezah (6-2, 230, Bishop Amat) and the Mounties could be just as
effective as they were last season when they led the conference in run defense.
Another position that saw its numbers rise over the summer, Fisk needed to
replace five players from last season. Donte Nicholson, who was supposed to head
to the University of Washington, ended up at the Walnut campus, much to the
delight of Fisk and his staff. He could wind up starting at either cornerback or
strong safety, while a pair of red-shirt transfers should also work their way
into the starting lineup. Robert Spinks (6-2, 190, Los Altos), who was at
Palomar last year, along with Citrus transfer David Musa (6-1, 185), should help
comprise three-fourths of the secondary. Possibly look for red-shirt freshman
Floyd Ike to find his way into the lineup.
"We picked up a couple of solid transfers to go
along with Donte Nicholson," said Fisk. "We need to work on our depth at
Sophomore David Ignash (5-10, 180, Irvine) converted 31-of-35 extra points and
10-of-14 field goals last season to finish third in the conference in scoring
with 61 points. He will be competing with freshman Ryan Kileen, a gifted kicker
from Norco. Red-shirt e freshman David Frymark (Northview) and freshman Dominick
Milano (Los Altos) will fight it out for the punting job.
SCHEDULE – Local rival Chaffey, who went 9-2 last season, including a win over Palomar in the Southern California Bowl, will be the Mounties first opponent of the year. After a game against another good team, Ventura, Mt. San Antonio will embark on the difficult Mission Conference schedule that awaits them. They will look to defend their share of the Northern Division title (with El Camino) as the season progresses. They will have revenge on their minds against the Warriors, who handed them their only divisional loss last year.
2000 MT. SAN
ANTONIO COLLEGE SIGNINGS
|Michael Adams - LB||6-1/200||Tuskegee (AL) Univ.|
|Kevin Barton - S||5-9/175||Cal State -
|Stephan Boka - RB||6-2/225||Morgan State|
|Yannick Boka - OL||6-3/350||Morgan State|
|Jeff Cordova - QB||6-2/205||Tusculum (TN) College|
|Andre Cyrus - WR||6-1/175||Tusculum (TN) or
Midwestern (TX) St.
|Daniel Filemu - DL||6-3/290||Minnesota St. - Mankato
|Keith Hall - RB||5-10/190||Tuskegee (AL) Univ.|
|Jason Heilman - OL||6-3/275||Temple University|
|Jermaine Jackson - TE||6-3/245||Oregon St.|
|Joseph Looney - FB||5-10/240||Tuskegee (AL) Univ.|
|Robert May - LB||6-1/230||Florida State Univ.|
|Jo Jo Mesa - LB||6-1/235||Western Michigan Univ.|
|Paul Okumu - LB||6-0/225||San Jose State|
|Danny Perez - OL||6-5/300||New Mexico|
|David Pontecorvo - OL||6-2/280||Valley City St. (ND)|
|Dameion Ramsey - CB||5-8/175|
|Josh Rangel - DB||6-1/19|| Texas Tech
|Ernie Romero - PK||6-0/180||Cal State - Northridge|
|Frederico Samuel - DL||6-4/290||SW Missouri State|
|Aaron Schafer - FB||5-6/230||Cal Poly - SLO
|Brian Serna - OL||6-4/275||Portland State|
|Richard Simms - OL||6-1/350||Baker (KS) Univ.|
|LaVon Smith - DB||6-2/225||Tabor (KS) College|
|Ray Teague - RB||6-0/225||Bethany (KS) College|
|Andre Vizcarra - OL||5-9/260||Bethany (KS) College|
|Taco Wallace - WR||6-1/185||Kansas State|
|Jerome Washington - DL||6-1/300||Morgan State|
|Chris Williams - RB||5-11/195||Southern Utah|
|Gerald Williams - DB||6-2/185|| Texas
A&M - Kingsville
|Stephen Williams - DL||6-0/220||University of San Diego|
|Bryce Woolridge - QB||6-5/220|| Central Methodist (MO)
MT. SAN ANTONIO COLLEGE – THE LAST SIX YEARS
8-3: Lost to Saddleback, 21-20 in the Orange County Simple Green Bowl