Rams open season

The 2003 Coast Conference football struggle for superiority
begins Saturday afternoon when title-hopefuls Gavilan College and
DeAnza College square off at 1 p.m. on the Dons’ turf.
Both schools own one national title, but those crowns are from
decades ago and the Coast Conference has shown itself not to be
among the most menacing in the past few seasons.
By BOB BURCH

The 2003 Coast Conference football struggle for superiority begins Saturday afternoon when title-hopefuls Gavilan College and DeAnza College square off at 1 p.m. on the Dons’ turf.

Both schools own one national title, but those crowns are from decades ago and the Coast Conference has shown itself not to be among the most menacing in the past few seasons.

Gavilan coach John Lango, although confident his 2-4 unit can come out on top after the four-game conference campaign, conceded that Hartnell, boasting the past two titles, should be favored to win the conference in the next month of play.

“The conference was balanced last year, and the non-conference play this year indicates more of the same,” Lango said.

“The conference boils down to a bunch of teams that haven’t won a lot,” said DeAnza coach Mike Mitchell. “The neat thing is that anybody can beat anybody. It’s a new life for us. I think every year in the conference that a team can lose once and still win it all.”

DeAnza has one victory entering conference play, although the win over College of Marin should tweak the interest of Gavilan fans. Marin handed Gavilan its first of four losses this fall.

“DeAnza has many good players back from last year’s team,” said Lango. “Their defense is stellar, although it may not be as fast as last year. They have an experienced quarterback back (J.P. Melert) and two good running backs (Ricardo Lopez and Donyell Johnson.)”

DeAnza gave up a last-minute touchdown in 2002 and lost to Gavilan 21-14.

The Rams have a 6-4 edge in the series. DeAnza rolled past Gavilan 44-28 at DeAnza in 2001.

“We’ve spent a lot of practice time in red zone offense,” noted Lango. Gavilan dropped a 6-3 contest to Sequoias last week, despite surpassing the Giants in total offense.

Former Baler Nick Buzzetta, the starting quarterback two weeks ago who was sidelined with a hip injury, is still doubtful for the DeAnza game.

Hartnell, Gavilan’s foe next week, drew the first-week bye.

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