By Dan Gudino
The East Los Angeles College football team began its 2016 season with a 10-7 loss against Victor Valley College, with a new coaching staff, in a scrimmage game on Thursday at Weingart Stadium.
A scrimmage game runs according to rules the coaches agreed on prior to the game. ELAC and VVC played only two quarters, highlighted by the defensive effort of first year head coach Bobby Godinez and freshman safety Joey Knowles.
Godinez, also the defensive coordinator and a former All Western Athletic Conference safety at San Jose State fit well with Knowles, who had three interceptions at his safety position.
Last year, when ELAC went on the road to face VVC, the Huskies were romped 58-21,where it had seven committed turnovers. This time the Huskies protected the ball with just one turnover, a fumble.
“I think we competed and that’s the biggest thing. The guys were playing hard all the way through. From start to finish, that’s what I want to see from our team.” Godinez said.
Execution was seen from the offense as well when sophomore quarterback Jonathan Santos connected with freshman wide receiver Kenny Allen, a perfectly placed ball, in stride for an 81 yard touchdown.
“I’m excited with what I saw and I’m excited where this team is going to go, but we have to look at the film and look within to see the things we must improve before the first game against Orange Coast (College), who is no joke.” Godinez said.
The Huskies will look to prepare itself for the official start of the season Sept. 3, at OCC.
The quarterback controversy of last year will be no more.
This year a new official starting quarterback will be named on Friday. None of the coaches were willing to comment on who will be the main guy.
What was mentioned were the two finalist in the running for QB, sophomores Levi Wells and Jonathan Santos. Both returning players had snaps last year, but it was Wells who was entangled in the controversy.
When Campus News spoke with players, the same answer was given, former head coach Eric Marty played favoritism to his brother Brain Marty. This will not be the case this year, although Wells could be kept out of the starting role again.
“I can’t comment on it, but we’ll get together (with coaches) tomorrow morning and make the decision. I can say it’s two guys, Wells and Santos, they are definitely the two. We really have to slow down the film and see who is in better command.” Godinez said.
Also in charge of the decision of picking out the starting QB is new Offensive Coordinator Art Hoomiriatana, who will look to improve the QB position that cost ELAC up to 70 points in turnovers last year.
“A lot of mistakes, but It’s good to go through the mistakes now in a scrimmage than in a real game situation. We kept digging ourselves in holes with penalties, but I like what I saw. For now we’ll evaluate then make the call on who the starter is by possibly tonight,” Hoomiriatana said.
Injuries cut the game short with 20 seconds left in the second quarter when a VVC offensive lineman was down on the field with an injury. Both head coaches came to the field and decided it was time to cut the game before any more injuries occurred in a practice game.
Lower leg injuries were seen from ELAC freshman Robert Cottrell and freshman Tujaune Diallo.
Diallo was carted off the field and Cottrell was carried off by teammates to the athletic trainer’s table to be taped up. No updates were given on the specifics of the injuries.
“This was positively way better than last year. We did way better against Victor Valley this year, last year we were blown out. From the offensive line standpoint we did so good,” ELAC offensive lineman Francis Bongwalanga said.
Bogwalanga leads the o-line this year as one of the anchor points on offense.
“I’m going to make sure to maintain my blocks this year longer and run full speed every play. I’m excited about this coaching staff this year, the offensive coaches make us feel real comfortable. They work well as a group,” Bongwalanga said.
Sat. 3, at Orange Coast, 6 p.m.
Sat. 10, at ELAC v. Allan Hancock, 4 p.m.
Sat. 17, at Antelope Valley, 7 p.m.
Sat. 24, at ELAC v. San Diego Mesa, 6 p.m.
Sat. 1, at Santa Ana, 6 p.m. (American Metro Conference opener)
Sat. 8, at El Camino-Compton, 6 p.m.
Sat. 15, at ELAC v. Los Angeles Southwest, 6 p.m.
Sat. 29, at West Los Angeles, 1 p.m.
Sat. 5, at ELAC v. Pasadena City, 6 p.m.
Sat. 12, at ELAC v. Glendale, 6 p.m.