They went from the mighty Mission into the National Southern Conference, where now they not only have to contend with former Mission powers Fullerton, Palomar, and Saddleback, they also get to tangle with former Foothill powerhouse Grossmont. But Coach Taylor and his cohorts are ready for the change. "I think this new alignment is best of Community College football in Southern California. All the top teams have to play the other top teams in order to win and advance."
After a slow first half against fellow buccaneers, the Santa Monica Corsairs, the Pirates put it in high gear in the second half to win the opener last weekend 27-3. Taylor Hughes, a returner with some game experience led the charge at QB for the offense. His play in the 2nd half (6-7 for 95 yds and a score) sparked the team after a sluggish 1st half where the Pirates were blanked and down by three. Sean Reilly (10-16 76yds) started the game and played well, but the more experienced Hughes replaced him to get things rolling. Cameron Hall should be their go to guy at Wide Receiver this season, along with David Doll. The running game will be led by Kevin Ah-hi, a strong runner who had over 800 yards last season, and Ray Holley will get plenty of time packing the pigskin too. The Offensive line will be anchored by Jacob Hayes (6-1, 328) and freshman James Cervantes. The Pirates have two solid bouncebacks taking care of the kicking game in kicker Ryan Casano (TCU) and punter Jacob Fields (Marshall).
On defense, Matt Henry holds down the Mike Linebacker spot, and Dean Deleon, who had a fantastic 75 tackles last year, returns as a DE/OLB. He will put the pressure on opposing passers. Shad Baicthal returns at Safety and picked one off against Santa Monica, flying 60 yards downfield for the score that knocked the Corsairs out. Ben Soza also had a pick from the other Safety position.
Orange Coast knows that winning this conference, or even garnering an at large berth, will be no easy task, but the task will be difficult for everyone. "We’d like to win it all, but we’re really going to have to mature quickly with so many new faces. But I have a dedicated staff who have all worked hard to mold this young group." The Pirates will tangle at home against L.A. Southwest, and then play a tough Golden West contingent before entering those shark infested waters. But hey, they’re Pirates, they love the water, especially new ones where new victims abound. Arrrrrrrrrrrr!