Photo by Ed Beyer
LANCASTER – Confidence does not equal cockiness.
The Marauder football team is playing its best football of the season, but that doesn't mean it is taking this Saturday night's game against LA Valley College for granted.
And why would it.
Despite the fact that the Monarchs (4-3, 1-1) have lost three of their last four games doesn't mean much to the Marauders, which enter the game with a three-game winning streak.
"They (LA Valley) have a good football team. They lost to a quality (Allan) Hancock team," AVC head coach Perry Jehlicka said. "Their back is against the wall because they want to stay in the hunt for a conference championship. They won't go down without swinging. But our kids understand the magnitude of this game and what's at stake. We're a confident bunch right now."
The Monarchs are coming off their worst loss of the season, a 43-7 drubbing at the hands of Allan Hancock, while AVC (4-3, 2-0) is fresh off its decisive 17-7 victory on the road against Santa Barbara City College.
"The past few years it's always been a battle. It's going to come down to execution. They are very well coached and have great offensive schemes," LA Valley head coach Matt White said. "I think we've been through every game type situation this season and hopefully this helps us in the long run. I'm sure we'll have our guys prepared and so will they. It should be a good one."
In the victory against Santa Barbara, Marauder running back DJ Payne went wild. Payne, who was named Conference Player of the Week, rushed for a career-high 244 yards, which catapulted him to seventh in AVC history all-time for rushing yards in a single game.
"This is a huge game for us. We've had a great week of practice to prepare for this team and we feel great coming into it," said Payne. "We have focused on getting the offense more consistent every day and I believe this game will show it."
AVC's offense has been putting up gaudy numbers, however, quarterback Armani Edden and the rest of the cast has been efficient.
"We're playing against a good defensive team," Jehlicka said. "But kickoff is at 6pm and at 9pm we hope to stay in first place. Our deal is to take care of AVC. That's all we can control. We like to control our own destiny and we still have a chance to do that."
The Monarchs and the Marauders share two common opponents. LA Valley defeated College of the Desert, 28-7, while AVC lost to the Roadrunners 56-50 in four overtimes. The Monarchs were easily handled by Mt. San Jacinto 47-33, but the Marauders defeated the Eagles 31-7.