Photo by Ed Beyer
Both Citrus College head football coach Ron Ponciano and Marauder head coach Perry Jehlicka had mutual respect for each other.
"They might be the best 1-4 team I've ever seen. A handful of plays here and there and you're looking at the least a 4-1 team," Jehlicka said of his opponent Citrus, at home on Saturday night against the Owls. "They do a tremendous job over there and they are very well coached."
Ponciano had the same feelings regarding his counterpart.
"They are a typical AVC team. Sound coaching. He does a great job over there. They care so much about their athletic program and it shows with their facilities. They have always been steady and always do things the right way," he said. "They're better than they are on film and that's a scary thought. I love playing in that stadium; it makes other junior college coaches jealous."
The two teams will meet on Saturday night at Marauder Stadium, which promises to be an exciting game in which Citrus holds a 14-13-1 all-time record against AVC. The Marauders won last year's meeting, 38-31.
"I guarantee it will be a great game," Ponciano said.
AVC enters the game on a high note following its dominance of Mt. San Jacinto and coming off last week's bye.
"When you play five games, it takes its toll on the body. It was a good time for us (to have a bye). Some guys we were able to let heal and do some therapy. Hopefully we can start a run for the next five. Our motto is go 1-0 each week," Jehlicka said. "At this point in the season , freshmen should be liking sophomores and sophomores like juniors."
In addition, to having the majority of the team healthy, AVC returns Jarmez Zubor, who was suspended for two games inside the East LA game. Zubor is a great pass rusher and run stopper and Jehlicka is delighted to have him back in the lineup.
The Owls enter the game with a 1-4 record, but don't let that fool you. Three of the four losses by Citrus have been by three points and a 13-point loss sprinkled in with one victory by a single point.
"We have found ways to lose. Like the old saying goes, if you ain't winning, you're learning and we've been doing a lot of learning," Ponciano said. "But it's a work in progress. The way we've been losing leaves you scratching your head. We just have to stay positive. We had an incredible week of practice and in the past when we've practiced well, it's translated to the game."
The Marauders enter Saturday evening' showdown in a similar boat as Citrus.
AVC could easily be 3-2 if not 4-1 or even 5-0, but it hasn't gone that way so far for the Marauders.
"Everyone is playing for first place right now. Hopefully we can do enough to be on up on them," Jehlicka said. "Obviously neither of us had the preseason you would have liked. It's about taking care of yourself. We've gotten better each and that's how you judge yourself."