Comets reach new heights
Published: Wednesday, May 18, 2011
Updated: Wednesday, May 18, 2011 18:05
In just his first season as coach of the Contra Costa College football team Alonzo Carter turned the once laughable Comets into a Bay Valley Conference title contender.
In 2009 CCC's football squad finished last in the BVC, managing only one win to finish the season 1-9.
The 2010 season, however, gave Comet fans something to be excited about as the football team went from cellar dwellers in the BVC in 2009 all the way to second place in the BVC in 2010.
Before the start of the season expectations where higher than usual due to the hiring of coach Carter. That optimism stemmed from his success coaching at McClymonds (Oakland) and Berkeley high schools where he turned those teams into league champions.
Finishing the 2010 year with a 4-6 record (2-2 in the BVC) was a huge step for the Comets after finishing the previous two seasons with only one win. For the first time in four years the squad won its opener and also won back-to-back games in the same season.
Led by BVC defensive MVP defensive end Niko Aumua, the Comets finished third in the conference in total defense, third in scoring defense and number one in sacks with 29. Aumua, who will transfer to Washington State University in the fall on a football scholarship, alone had 12 sacks. But for Aumua, it wasn't just the sacks that earned him the BVC honor. He also totaled 63 tackles, 25 for a loss, grabbed three interceptions, made three fumble recoveries and batted down five passes.
Carter told The Advocate, in an interview during the season, that CCC was ranked in the top 10 state-wide in every defensive statistic and a large part of that was due to Aumua's play.
The new Comets' coaching staff had a tough job on their hands trying to turn around a team that has had trouble winning games. The first game of the season was an eye opener as the Comets convincingly beat Monterey Peninsula College, 32-18.
Though the team did grow into a BVC contender, a 4-6 record still shows that there is room for improvement.
"We made a lot of progress last season," Carter said, "but we are not yet satisfied and we're not where we want to be." This was coach Carter and his staff's first year with CCC and three games into the season assistant coach Nick Iano took over as the offensive coordinator.
Carter said, "We went through a lot (in 2010), transitioning to a new coaching staff and getting the players to catch up."
And the team played competitive football all season long, except for a 52-21 blowout loss against American River College in Sacramento on Oct. 23.
Having undersized offensive and defensive linemen was a major disadvantage for the team in 2010.
Against ARC the small CCC defensive line was run into the ground as the Comets gave up 256 rushing yards, four rushing touchdowns and 6.3 yards per carry.
Carter said, after the ARC game, "They just ran on us. They kind of wore us out."
Aumua said that the ARC game showed the disadvantages of having a small defensive line. "We really need to hit the weights," he said.
After winning their season opener the squad lost three straight games (Diablo Valley, Los Medanos and Mendocino colleges).
They then won two straight against Gavilan College and College of the Redwoods before going through their second three-game losing streak (ARC, Solano and Shasta colleges).
The team finished the season on a high note by beating Yuba College 20-19 in Marysville. It was the team's first win against Yuba in six years.