City College football is off to its best start in over 20 years

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RYAN CULLOM

Craig Moropoulos (center), City College head football coach, discuses tactics with the offence on Monday, Aug. 29, at La Playa Stadium. This is Moropoulos’ 10th year as the head football coach and has led the team to a 5-2 record so far this season.

OTHMAN MECHKOR, Sports Editor

The City College football team is off to its best start in over two decades and the squad has its eyes on winning a bowl game, which they haven’t done in 33 years.

Elijah Cunningham, second year wide receiver, believes this season’s athletes are no more athletic than the ones before them. Nor are they bigger, faster or stronger, he said.

“We want the team to be competitive in every game,” Head Coach Craig Moropoulos said. “Play hard, be positive and stay loyal.”

Cunningham and fellow wide receiver Jason-Matthew Sharsh, said that the most impressive part of this season is the chemistry among the team on and off the field.

They also attribute it to the eight new coaching additions that were made in the off-season. The coaches, four of whom are City College alumni, all have an exceptional background in football. One of the new hires, running back coach Ed Duras, played for City College during the 1982 Mission Bowl championship.

Having alumni on the coaching staff makes for a more receptive team, Cunningham and Sharsh said. If they are aware that one of their coaches once had a successful season at the same college it encourages the players and coach to perform better.

If Moropoulos can lead his team to win the final three games of the season, it will be his best record during his City College tenure.

Every season begins with optimism to make it to a championship bowl game, but this season is the most promising.

The last time the Vaqueros ended the season with a bowl game and less than two losses was in 1991, where they had a record of 9-2. They went on to play in the Potato Bowl, but lost to Fullerton College, 45-13.

This season practices are different because they are set at a much faster pace. The coaches take the smallest of errors personally, because they know everyone can perform at a high level.

“We practice like we play,” said Cunningham.

Selflessness is a quality that is hard to find amongst two-year college athletes because everyone wants to make their own highlight reel presentable to a four-year university. That’s what makes this football team so different.

“If I’m getting into the end zone a lot, I say, ‘that’s enough for me, let’s get somebody else in the end zone,’” said Running Back Perry Martin, who is out for the remainder of the season because of an injury.

Having a talented group of running backs, wide receivers and quarterbacks makes it hard for everyone to get the expected playing time that they each want. But the players and coaches have agreed that if you want to win games, you need to support and play with one another as a team, which is exactly what they have done.

“We love each other,” said Demetrius Vinson, freshman running back. “We all see how talented we are and we all know that we can do this. We’re confident and we’re doing well.”

Vinson broke the school record for all-time rushing touchdowns earlier this season against College of the Desert.

Moropoulos and his team have high hopes, which are within reach. Four more wins will give them a record of 9-2 and a bowl game trophy to take home.

“I don’t like to look too far ahead,” Moropoulos said, “but I’m proud of this team.”