Falcons keen on opener against Saddleback

Luis Guzman and Larissa Calderon

The Cerritos College football team will have its first game of the season against Saddleback on Saturday, Sept. 6.

Last season, the football team finished with an overall record of 7-4 and a conference record of 4-2 last season. The Falcons finished with a 64-33 win over Grossmont in the Western State Bowl.

Frank Mazzotta, head coach, believed that the win was a culmination of a great season and a good bounce-back win after its loss against College of the Canyons.

That loss cost the team the playoffs and the conference championship, which it had won for two years in a row.

Mazzotta said that the team has many goals set up for this season, but the most important is winning the first game.

“Our goal is always to win the opener; win the conference; win our bowl game; win a state championship. We don’t look at it any different than that. If you talk to our players right now, our No. 1 goal is to win the opening game. That’s huge for us to do that, to get the season started right,” he said.

Brian Cable, athletic trainer, highlighted the player’s efforts.

“They worked real hard this summer. They’ve done all of their strength stuff. We should be good. You never know until you get to the games, but everything we’ve been told and seen, they look pretty good,” said Cable.

Christian De La Luz, freshman and offensive tackle, is anxious to start this season and appreciates the work his teammates are putting in at the practices.

“I’m really excited. I think we have a lot of good players. Everyone is working really hard and the goal is (the) state championship,” he said.

According to De La Luz, one of the things that the team is focusing on is working on its speed so it can beat its opponents.

“We’re focusing on being a lot faster than our opponents. We do a lot of speed training. The coaches say ‘speed kills,’ and we’re lifting a lot, trying to get a lot stronger and just get the tempo of the game.”

He says that everyone is talking about the first game of the season against Saddleback.

Jimmy Walker, quarterback; two-year player with the Falcons, has high expectations of the team winning a lot of games and giving its best effort.

He is excited to play against Fullerton and Saddleback. “They’re two big games for us and we have conference games that are always huge.”

Mazzota, who will be coaching his 37th team at Cerritos College, has been focusing on making the team more defensively ready for the season.

“Our strength right now on the defensive side will be our front seven – that’s our linebackers and our d-line. Some of the things we can work on is (that) we can get off the ball and communicate a lot better,” said Mazzotta.

However, he also said that it is difficult to win the first game when you only get 13 practices in before the first game against Saddleback, but he isn’t too worried because of the great staff that he has working with the team.

Beside talks of championships and strategies, coach Mazzotta also wants his players to focus on their academics. He was thrilled about the 23 scholarships his players received last year.

According to him, the easiest thing the team could do is play football, but that the player’s studies could be the hardest thing to accomplish and is something the athletes should focus on as well.

The game against Saddleback is Saturday, Sept.6 at 7 p.m.

“We have a long history of being good and the key to all of it is having good football players,” said Mazzotta.