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Hiring Carter helps turn around record

Second-year coach improves ball club

Published: Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Updated: Wednesday, December 7, 2011 14:12

In 2001, the football team finished the season with a 7-3 overall record, 2-2 in the Bay Valley Conference. The following eight seasons Comet teams combined for a 20-60 overall record with 2008 and '09 being the worst two seasons of the stretch, as the team was only able to muster one win over those years.

In 2010, Alonzo Carter was hired by Contra Costa College in hopes of turning around a struggling football program that had finished last in the BVC standings for two consecutive years.

"To me it made sense," Athletic Director John Wade said. "Berkeley (High School) was a huge school but they never had success in football until Carter arrived."

Wade said that he felt that Carter would be a great fit for the Comets because of his familiarity with the young student-athletes in the area.

"I told coach, with him, we could turn the program around and things worked out," he said.

Thus far the Carter era has done just that. In two years the team has produced a 10-10 record and two second-place BVC finishes.

"When I took over we were last in defense and last in offense," Carter said. "For us to go from last (in Northern California) to top 10 in two years is a result of players and coaches."

This season the football team produced 10 All-BVC players, five of whom are freshmen including running back Rashad Hall, linebacker Enriquel Florence and defensive lineman Demetrius Cherry.

"We have a recipe of how to blend players from across the country and help them become more of a family," Carter said. "They understand how to look out for each other on and off of the field."

The second-year coach cannot take all of the credit for the football program's resurgence and said his staff was instrumental in bringing wins to the struggling team.

Offensive coordinator Nick Iano's efforts contributed to the team's improvement from scoring an average of 19 points a game in 2009 before Carter, to 29.9 points a game in 2011. The Comets also saw an increase in the yards per game average. In 2009 the offense averaged 253.4 yards per game compared to 327 yards per contest in 2011.

Cornerback Cameron Fuller, who played for CCC during the Comets' one-win season in 2009, said the team's struggles were due to poor team management.

"We weren't practicing the way we needed to, to be successful," he said. "We had the personnel necessary to win games but we didn't have the mindset or the drive that a top-tier team would have."

Fuller said the differences between Carter and the previous Comet coach "are like night and day."

In 2011 Otis Yelverton was hired to assume the duties of defensive coordinator. During his first year on the job, CCC's defense posted its best defensive statistics over the past 10 years.

The defense, giving up an average 21.6 points and 274.4 yards per game this past season, is a vast improvement from the two years prior to Carter's arrival when the defense allowed more than 43 points and 400 yards per game on average.  

Assistant coach Vince Bordelon said the 3-3-5 defense he implemented was to take advantage of the team's speed.

"We played to our strength," he said. "We changed our system to fit the personnel we had."

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