The MSJC football team will open their 2013 season on Saturday when they host Santa Monica College at 1 pm at Carl Quandt Stadium on the San Jacinto Campus.
The Eagles are coming off three straight winning seasons, including a 9-2 record and a trip to the Patriotic Bowl last year. In each of the past three seasons the Eagles have finished just short of the Mountain Conference title racking up three straight second place finishes. "Our main goal is to win the conference", said head coach Casey Mazzotta, "we have done some good things the past few seasons, but we haven't quite been able to get over the hump and claim a conference championship."
MSJC will have some experienced players to help try and reach their goal as they return 6 starters on each side of the ball. The defense will be led by 2012 All State selections Dejon Brown and Brett Layton. Brown, an outside linebacker, led the Eagles in tackles last year with 81, 11 of those tackles were for negative yardage. Layton, a cornerback, was the team's leader in interceptions with 7. Jason Dixon, Sam Schwab, Roosevelt Pearson, and Leroy Holt also return as starters from a season ago while Aaron Kelly moves into a starting role after plenty of playing time last year. Five of the Eagles top 7 tacklers return from the 2012 campaign. "I think our strength on defense is our experience as well as our speed and athleticism," said Mazzotta.
Offensively the Eagles return the Mountain Conference's top rusher from last season in Superiorr Reid who racked up 1,510 yards on the ground while scoring 16 touchdowns. Reid will have the comfort of running behind three returning starters on the offensive line. Rogelio Moreno, Kelvin Shelton, and Prenece Ward all return up front along with tight end Tim Bruzzesi. Other returners at the skill positions include running back/wide out Michael Harrison who ran for 357 yards last year and had 186 yards receiving. Wide out Jamion Lindsey also returns after catching 20 passes as a freshman a season ago. Heritage High graduate Chad Virgil will take over the quarterbacking duties for MSJC. According to Mazzotta the freshman has had a strong camp and is ready for the challenge that lies ahead. "Offensively our strength will be in the running game with Superiorr returning and three offensive linemen back, we hope that experience will count come game time."
MSJC's 9-2 season last year was the best at the school since 2001 and came on the heels of two 6-4 seasons. Talking about the difference between the previous two seasons and last year Mazzotta said, "I think our kids finally believed in the program and what we were doing and it allowed us to win the close games."
Michael Harrison (top) was a duel threat last season as a runner and receiver he hopes to help the Eagles to a Mountain Conference title this year. Dejon Brown (bottom) returns for MSJC after leading the team's defense in tackles last season.