Comet squad hopes to maintain 'standard'
Football team plans to keep momentum
Published: Wednesday, August 28, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, August 28, 2013 18:08
Securing the Living Breath Foundation Bowl Championship last season marks the third consecutive program football coach Alonzo Carter has turned into conference champions within a three-year period.
After winning the Oakland Athletic League title at McClymonds High School in 2001 and then winning the Alameda Contra Costa Athletic League crown at Berkeley High School in 2008, Carter took the job at CCC and brought home a Bay Valley Championship in 2012.
During the off season, key players who were instrumental in the recent success of Contra Costa College have moved on to create many question marks surrounding the success of the team. However, players and coaches are confident the team can improve on its winning ways.
“We’re trying to repeat,” Carter said Monday evening during practice. “Every year (at CCC) we come out before every game and point at that blank wall,” he said referring to the press box atop the Comet Stadium bleachers, which, before last season, was void of any bowl victories.
“Now we have (a bowl win) to point at — we’ve set a standard. We are trying to make sure we do the things necessary to be in a position to get better,” he said.
The Comets finished the year 8-3 overall, 5-0 in the BVC, after winning their bowl game.
While the Comets will have many excellent players returning, the Comets will be without former defensive coordinator Otis Yelverton who accepted an offer to be the defensive coordinator at Copiah-Lincoln Community College in Mississippi over the summer.
CCC finished the year ranked second in the state in total defensive yards allowed behind Yelverton. “Coach O,” as he was known as by players, was also the coach of the Comet softball team.
Last year’s defensive backs coach Pat Henderson will assume the position as coordinator of the defense. In 2012, CCC’s secondary helped the squad lead the state in interceptions.
“We won’t get away from what we did defensively with coach O,” Carter said. “But we will add new wrinkles.”
A season ago CCC was led by sophomore standouts including offensive lineman Desmond Harrison, receiver Ronald Butler, linebacker Eriquel Florence and running back Rashad Hall, all of who have transferred.
With Harrison at the University of Texas, Florence with former defensive end Demetrius Cherry at Arizona State and Hall and Butler going to Utah State, the Comets have many important voids to fill.
Hall ran for 1,402 yards and 16 touchdowns behind Harrison, a stout offensive line that produced the best rushing attack in the state. Butler, 2012’s No. 1 receiving target accounted for 79 of the team’s 140 total passing yards average for the year.
Florence’s transferring meant the departure of the 2012 California Community College Football Coaches Association Region III Defensive Player of the Year.
“Our offensive line is young,” sophomore running back Davonte Sapp-Lynch said. “They’ve been working hard every day getting better and better, (however), it’s hard to replace Harrison and (Damien) Parris.”
Sapp-Lynch and Carter agree that despite the departure of important personnel, the team plans for more success behind the returning players, and a host of new recruits.
The coach, now in his fourth year, said CCC should see impactful play by sophomore defensive end Lavaka Maile, as well as, Phadrae White, the receiver who sat out last year due to a broken foot. Sapp-Lynch will start as running back replacing the departed Hall and quarterback Malik Watson will take over as the signal caller for former Comet Lamar McKnight.
Also coming back for another season is cornerback Dominique Harrison, who has already committed to play at the University of Oregon next year.
“We’re going to be solid on defense,” Harrison said. “We have some young guys but we should be (OK). We’ve gotten a lot faster on defense and I think it will be an advantage.”
The Comets open up the season at home against Foothill College Sept. 7 at 3 p.m. CCC’s next game will be at De Anza College on Sept. 14. Carter said these two meetings should be the toughest contests for CCC this year.