That chance begins at 5 p.m. today, when Glendale college travels to Chaffey College for a nonconference game.
“I’ve been waiting for this [game] since last season ended,” said defensive lineman Grant Valentine, a returning all-conference first-team selection from Burbank High.
Last year was a positive one in many aspects for the Vaqueros, who concluded with a 23-14 victory against Santa Ana in the Western State Bowl and finished ranked ninth among Southern California teams.
Along the way, the defense led the way in most games, surrendering a conference-best 10 points per game.
Against a big and strong Chaffey squad, that defense could face a stiff test right out of the gate.
“The question will be, ‘Can our quickness overcome their size?’ ” Glendale college Coach John Cicuto said. “If we can, we have a chance to be really successful on defense.”
Chaffey (7-3), which finished ranked 12th in Southern California, was the Foothill Conference’s most potent offensive team a year ago, averaging 378.5 yards per game. The team returns a strong running back and some physical wide receivers.
The Vaqueros, on the other hand, will attempt to get their offense in gear after it stuttered in a few games last season.
“If we can establish a run and counter-balance with a decent passing attack, we will be all right,” Cicuto said.
Leading that attack will be a slew of running backs led by Shaun Kermah and a two-headed attack at quarterback with returning sophomore Jacob Proctor and sophomore transfer and Burbank graduate Mike McDonald expected to see playing time.
The Vaqueros, who started off last season with six consecutive wins, will try to capture the all-important first one of this campaign.
“To lose in the first game is tough for a lot of teams,” defensive back Ray McDonough said. “A week-one win is real big. It kinda sets the pace for the rest of the season.” LOCAL GCC PLAYERS SOPHOMORES Francisco Coronado (Burroughs) Robert Nichols (Burbank) Jason Barbic (Burbank) Mike McDonald (Burbank) Grant Valentine (Burbank) FRESHMEN Brian Arceo (Burroughs) Christopher Antaplyan (Burbank) James Antaplyan (Burbank) Josh Baldares (Burroughs) Anthony Seiler (Burroughs)