Photo by Bill Sobalvarro
SAN DIEGO – The Marauder football team is looking to bounce back from a tough 42-30 loss at the hands of rival College of the Canyons last Saturday night at Marauder Stadium, why it travels to San Diego Mesa College on Saturday.
AVC head coach Perry Jehlicka said, "the effort was there, but the execution wasn't."
"I thought we had a lot of intensity, but we had some busted coverages. It was just one of those early season mistakes," he said. "Some of those drives they (Canyons) earned, but when you have a blown coverage, it wasn't an earned drive. Hopefully we can fix those mistakes."
Last week, Cougars' quarterback Andrew Brito tossed five touchdown passes and passed for 243 yards against AVC's defense. Still the Marauders (0-1) went into the locker room tied 21-21.
It was a game of catch up for AVC, as COC never trailed in the game. Each time the Cougars scored, the Marauders would match. That is until the second half began.
COC outscored AVC 21-9 in the final two quarters en route to the victory.
"I think offensively we didn't play with the same energy in the second half as we did in the first," Jehlicka said. "We didn't play with the same efficiency and there was a lack of execution. If we play four quarters of football, then the score might have been different."
Jehlicka knows his team can get past the final two quarters of the game against the Cougars.
"Our kids are so resilient and they have responded well in practice," he said. "We've had good practices and we watched a lot of video and learned from it. We've (our coaches) addressed some issues. We expect a good performance on Saturday."
A good performance is definitely going to be needed against a confident SD Mesa team which had a convincing 32-7 road victory against Grossmont College.
The Olympians (1-0) were led by freshman running back Logan Vallo. Vallo rushed for 103 yards on 18 carries and scored three touchdowns. Look for him to be the featured back on Saturday and should get the majority of the carries for SD Mesa, which rushed for 147 yards as a team.
In addition, quarterback Spencer Moyer passed for 147 yards on 19-of-32 and one score. The Olympians might try to mirror what COC did a week ago following Brito's performance. Also, AVC's defense only allowed 34 yards rushing against the Cougars.
"I think we played pretty well. The things that concerned us coming in is that we didn't have a scrimmage. Logistically speaking, there are things we want to tighten up," SD Mesa head coach Peter Lofthouse said. "These past two years we've had our ups and downs. We feel like we have a lot to prove and we're playing with a chip on our shoulder. Each week we want to go 1-0."
Lofthouse said he expects a much more competitive game than he faced in week one.
"When I watched film, I think they're a very good team. They definitely have a great game plan that fits their scheme. Defensively they are very fast and run to the football fast," he said. "Their players believe in the system. They are so active and physical. I'm very excited for Saturday. AVC is a very good team. This has been on our mind all week."
Jehlicka reciprocated the high praise for his counterpart.
"They're a quality opponent. Their win against Grossmont states that," Jehlicka said. "I actually like traveling on the road. You actually get to spend more time with the kids. We'll relish the opportunity."
Last week against COC, AVC's running back by committee gained a total of 99 yards. It must be able to run the ball to alleviate some of the pressure off starting quarterback, true-freshman Armani Edden. The Olympians' defense only allowed 32 yards rushing against Grossmont and a total of 187 yards of total offense against the Griffins.
Edden did impress in his first collegiate game as he finished 14-of-23 for 119 yards and three touchdowns. Edden completed his first nine passes and the 10th was a dropped pass.
"I thought we competed better in the first half than we did in the second half (against Canyons). Overall we competed pretty well and I think we corrected our mistakes," said Edden. "We watched the film and we know that we have to play all four quarters every time we step on the field. I think we're very prepared for this game. We're so focused on getting the win. I know we're ready to go and there is a lot of energy flowing."
Jehlicka like what he saw from Edden and backup quarterback Michael McPeek, who finished 4-for-10 for 68 yards and one touchdown.
"He (Edden) played a solid football game," Jehlicka said. "We have proof that we have two quarterbacks that we feel we can win with."
If history repeats itself that bodes well for the Marauders. Last season in 2016, AVC lost its opening game to Canyons and came back to defeat the Olympians, 34-27, the following week. The Marauders hold a 7-5 advantage all time against SD Mesa.