SBCC football looks ahead to ambitious, milestone season


Antony Marchiando



City College football plays its first game at 4 p.m. Saturday taking on San Bernardino Valley College at La Playa Stadium to kick off the Vaqueros 60th season.

After finishing with its best record since 1996, seven wins and three losses, head coach Craig Moropoulos and his young team look forward instead of back.

“Last year was last year,” Moropoulos said. “We finished last year.”

Moropoulos said he isn’t nervous about the youth of his team either. Of the 78 players on the Vaquero squad, 62 are freshmen.

“It’s common at the two year level,” Moropoulos said. “But we got some other guys that are experienced and hopefully they can act as leaders.”

Key returners include Offensive Lineman Ivan Malinarich-Campos (No.56) and Safety Zach Arnell (No. 1).

The strong safety, who has interest from multiple Division one schools including Hawaii, BYU, Arizona and Utah, is only one of two returners on defense. The sophomore from Rancho Bernardo High school in San Diego said he is excited to start his sophomore campaign and thinks the team is “ready for week one.”

The returners and young coaching staff are aiming to lead the team to its first Western State Conference title since 1991. However, with the loss of starting quarterback and current Cincinnati Bearcat Jarred Evans, the Vaqueros are day to day with the decision for the week one QB.

“Anytime you have a young team you’ve got to rely on the older guys,” Moropoulos said. “In high school it’s the seniors. At this level it’s the sophomores.”

Arnell said he is ready to step up and take charge on the defense. He knows his role and can’t wait to step out in front of the Vaquero faithful.

“The coaches are looking to me to be a leader,” Arnell said. “I pretty much have to play that leadership role. I’m ready”

In the 60 years since the programs inception at City College, the Vaqueros have had 11 coaches and 13 bowl appearances. The last bowl game that City College participated in was in 1997 under former head Coach Chuck Melendez. The revamped football program at La Playa stadium has one common goal: get better with each rep and play as a team; the rest will follow.

“Every chance you have to perform a rep is a chance to get better,” Moropoulos said.

The coaches aren’t the only ones happy with the remodel. The fans that have been following the team for decades are finally seeing glimpses of the ‘90s when the school played in three bowl games.

When UCSB booted its football program because of funding in 1992, the only collegiate football program in Santa Barbara then belonged to City College.

“We’re trying to bring the program up to the standards of the school,” Moropoulos said.

The coaching staff underwent a major remodel and came out with eight new coaches last season, two of which are ex NFL players and a whole new system. A new defense was the core of the operation and the result was a seven-game winning streak.

“Anytime you bring in young coaches there’s good and there’s bad,” Moropoulos said. “There’s inexperience but there’s also a lot of energy. And I think the kids buy into that.”

The Vaqueros play their next game against Allan Hancock at 4 p.m. on Sept. 13 at Righetti High School.


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Editor Note: An earlier version of this story stated that there were 99 players on the Vaquero squad. This has since been corrected.