Comets complete season objective
Comets victorious over Lobos earning them the Living Breath Foundation Bowl champions.
Published: Wednesday, January 23, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, January 23, 2013 14:01
The 2012 Contra Costa College football season can be summed up as being sensational.
Behind the leadership of third-year coach Alonzo Carter, CCC (8-3 overall, 5-0 in the Bay Valley Conference) re-established its winning image as the squad won the Living Breath Foundation Bowl on Nov. 17 after winning the Bay Valley Conference championship.
“The season was exciting,” Carter said. “We started out a little sloppy but during the course of the year it was good to see the guys mesh.”
In the bowl game against Monterey Peninsula College (5-6 overall, 4-1 in the Coast Conference), the Comets extended their winning streak to six as they defeated the Lobos 39-25 giving them their first bowl win in recent memory.
The Comets proved they deserved the bowl win by returning a kickoff for a touchdown, nabbing four interceptions and securing solid quarterback play from their sophomore Lamar McKnight.
“We were sold by the coaches to bring CCC a championship and win the BVC,” freshman defensive back Terrence Alexander said. “We had a hunger to win and we didn’t want to fail our coaches and they didn’t want us to fail.”
While the Comets won the bowl game by a sizeable point spread against the Lobos, their season was not easy.
CCC began on a bad note as it suffered a 20-point loss to Foothill College, losing 33-13 on the road.
After the loss, Carter reprimanded the team, questioning their character and challenging them to buy into his guidance.
“Carter told us that we knew what we could do and we had the potential (to do well),” sophomore tight end Tavio Howard said. “Focus and detail was the theme of our season and that (ultimately) built morale.”
The pep talk by Carter motivated the Comets to snag wins in their next two games against Gavilan (32-2) and De Anza Colleges (13-10).
The Comet defense carried the squad early in the year as the secondary unit picked off 10 interceptions in the first three games.
CCC’s offense, however, was not able to match its defensive intensity as sophomore quarterback Lamar McKnight struggled to connect with his receivers while sophomore running back Rashad Hall found troubles rushing the ball due to battling a leg injury.
As a result of the Comets offensive struggles, they dropped two consecutive home games to Sacramento City College (29-21) and Hartnell College (20-19 in overtime).
“Our high point of the year was when we defeated De Anza College due to them being a highly ranked team,” Carter said. “The loss against Hartnell hurt because it was in overtime and we failed to get the win at home.”
Entering its bye week with a 2-3 overall record, the Comets used the week off to rest and attempt to turn their season around.
CCC did just that as it was able explode over Yuba College in a 41-10 result.
The Comets got their offense rolling against the 49ers as they had 522 combined yards while the defense contained Yuba’s star running back Juan Johnson to 14 yards rushing.
“After the Yuba game I began to realize that this team could get to a bowl game,” Carter said. “We played very physical and it looked easy. Guys were on the field having fun and all phases were working for us.”
The Comets went on to win five consecutive games prior to reaching the Living Breath Foundation Bowl game.
CCC relied heavily on Hall, who rushed for 1,402 yards and 16 touchdowns, and its defensive back unit which led the state with 28 interceptions.
“It was a lot of hard work we put in this season,” Alexander said. “Throughout conference play we played at a different level and we decided to keep the momentum going.”
McKnight was also able to find his rhythm when conference play began as he threw for 1,103 yards, 11 touchdowns while only being intercepted three times.
Comet wide receiver Ronald Butler became McKnight’s favorite target as he finished the season with 55 receptions for 857 yards, scoring 13 touchdowns.
“Before (suffering) those two losses against Sac City and Hartnell, we had our heads held high,” Howard said. “Those losses got us grounded and from there we knew what we had to do. We knew our boundaries.”
The Comets proved to doubters that they could defeat their opposition through their athleticism and physical style of play.
Since winning the bowl game, Carter, who was named BVC coach of the year, said that he has been on his job to send sophomore players off to four-year universities.
“It was good to see the guys believe in what you teach,” Carter said. “Everybody wants a scholarship, but the guys have to trust the script of playing for a junior college to be able to gain the benefits.”