THE WHOLE STORY: Mt. San Antonio College

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.

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 game.

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 Mounties:

QUARTERBACK – 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 spot."

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 this season. 

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.

LINEBACKERS – 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.

SECONDARY – 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 this position."

KICKERS – 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 - Northridge
(Walk-on)
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 SW Missouri St.
Josh Rangel - DB  6-1/19  Texas Tech
(Frosh)
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 
(Frosh)
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 
(Frosh)
Stephen Williams - DL  6-0/220 University of San Diego
Bryce Woolridge - QB  6-5/220  Central Methodist (MO)
(RS Frosh)

MT. SAN ANTONIO COLLEGE – THE LAST SIX YEARS

1995
8-3:
Lost to Saddleback, 21-20 in the Orange County Simple Green Bowl

1996
8-3
:
Defeated Chaffey, 34-10 in the Southern California Bowl

1997
12-0
:
J.C. Grid-Wire National Champions , USA Today National Champions , California State Champions , Mission Conference Northern Division Champions , Defeated City College of San Francisco, 38-35 in the State Championships , Defeated Bakersfield, 28-16 in the Potato Bowl

1998
7-3
No Bowl Appearance

1999
8-3
:
Mission Conference Northern Division Champions , Lost to Mt. San Jacinto, 35-33 in the Mission Conference Bowl

2000
9-2
:
Mission Conference Northern Division Co-Champions , Defeated Southwestern, 21-17 in the South County Bowl

 


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