Photo by Bill Sobalvarro
LOS ANGELES – Forget about the 0-2 record for the Marauder football team. The team is really coming together.
If it weren't for a couple of missed assignments on defense or turnovers that turned into scores, AVC could enter Saturday evening's game on the road against East Los Angeles College with a 2-0 record.
"We lost to two good teams (College of the Canyons and San Diego Mesa College). Some of the disciplinary issues of fundamentals have costs us games," AVC head coach Perry Jehlicka said. "Against COC we had some defensive mistakes. (Against SD Mesa) the score was not indicative of how we played. We still haven't played all three phases of the game yet."
In the first two games of the season the Marauders were defeated 42-30 by COC, followed by a 24-7 loss at SD Mesa, in which the offense struggled.
"I like the work we put in this week. I am pleased with our practices," Jehlicka said. "I thought we had a productive week on all three phases of the game. We want to see improvement every week. They know we're playing a quality team, but the kids are looking forward to it."
Last week, AVC's defense was solid allowing only 204 yards of total offense to the Olympians. Two turnovers that resulted in scores put the game out of reach for the Marauders.
AVC led 7-0 at halftime, but the offense struggled to put the ball in the end zone. Quarterbacks Armani Edden and Michael McPeek were sacked a total of five times. The Marauders' lone score came when Edden connected with John Johnson from 61 yards out giving them their only lead of the game. AVC finished with a total of 218 yards of offense.
"We need to focus the entire game and stay disciplined. I think we'll shake off these two losses and play a complete game," AVC receiver Blake Verrett said. "We had a pretty good week of practice. We're brothers. We have to play as a team."
Fellow receiver Jordan Wayne agreed.
"We show glimpses of being a good football team. We have to play for each other instead of as individuals. We have to stay focused for all four quarters," he said. "I feel like we're getting in the groove of things. I have a good feeling about this game. I don't know what it is. This game will turn our season around."
Certainly Wayne is no prophet, but he may have a valid point.
The Marauders hold an 8-4 all-time record against the Huskies, including a hard fought 29-25 victory last season at home.
"They were a 9-2 football team last season with a lot of confidence," Jehlicka said. "They have very good skilled players and they're very aggressive and athletic. In many ways we are very similar. This should be a matchup of two very good football teams."
Like AVC, ELAC is coming off a Week 2 loss. The Huskies lost last week to Allan Hancock College, 21-13. However, ELAC (1-1) is 1-0 at home this season with an opening season victory, 31-22, over Orange Coast College.
AVC, which is only averaging 44 rush yards per game, will look to exploit the Huskies' run defense, which is allowing 202 rush yards per game. That means DJ Payne and Brandon Edwards will have to increase their production. Last week Payne rushed for 34 yards on five carries and Edwards finished with 24 yards on nine carries.
The Huskies also struggled on the offensive end finishing with only 161 yards of total offense and only 10 yards rushing. ELAC converted only 3-of-16 third down conversions. On the season the Huskies are only 6-of-29 on third down conversions.
"Everybody will be focused for Saturday," Verett said.