But before 3rd year Head Coach Kenny Lawler took control of the reins, the Pasadena program was in some disarray, and was suffering through some uncharacteristic lean years. Last season, Lawler took a big step back to that tradition as the Lancers had their first winning team in 5 seasons, finishing 6-4.
Before coming to the City of Roses, Lawler was a defensive assistant at Mount SAC.
His former cohorts cut him no slack last week, as the Lancers lost to the Mounties 46-20 in the opener. Although that is not the way you want to start a season, the Mounties are, after all, reigning SoCal champs and highly regarded this season. Despite the loss, the Lancers were only outgained 376 yards to 351. Two interceptions deep in their own territory by SAC closed the door on them, but gaining that many yards against an always tough Mountie Defense is a promising sign.
Nick Ponce has taken over the starting QB job, and he responded with a solid 17-30 for 220 yards. His main target this season will be Owen Dixon who had 35 catches last season. Titus Mack, Jamal Daniel, Sean Carraway, and Eldrin Jones give them depth at the position. Jones can also play QB. The running game will feature Josh Morgan who had 11 catches out of the backfield against the Mounties. Morgan averaged almost 6 yards per carry last season in a limited role. His 86 yards rushing and 85 yards in receptions last weekend demonstrate his versatility. Anthony Pines will complement Morgan. Craig Mobley returns at Center to for the Offensive Line. Phil Hibbard, Jobari Coleman-Wilson, and Aderious Simmons are also part of a solid front line.
Zack Falldorf returns at Defensive Tackle, and Carlton Hudson holds down the other side. Derek Mack and Julius Harris are the mainstays in the defensive backfield, along with Eugene Palmer and Cuin Carruthers. Roman Pula, who also plays offense, and Jeremy Aguilar are two big Freshmen Linebackers who will make an immediate impact along with Sophomore Marquis Ross. All three of these guys are about 250 pounds.
The kicking game has been improved with Anthony Bermudes and punter Chandler Blevens.
Although Coach Lawler is used to a tough schedule having come from the Mission, he sees the new alignments as an even tougher row to hoe. "I believe the new conference alignments are more competitive than the old Mission Conference. From top to bottom, every week will be a bloody battle. I think ours is the most competitive division in California." How does he think this year's team will fair? "My overall expectations are that we should be competitive in every game." Judging by the progress the Lancer program has made under Lawler's guidance, I expect Pasadena to soon be back to not only be competitive, but to get back its elite status in JC football.