New confidence for football this season

Freshman+wide+receiver+Ricky+Carrigan+Jr.+makes+a+catch+during+practice.+Carrigan+was+awarded+Most+Valuable+Player+by+his+team+last+year+at+Cabrillo+High+School.

Freshman wide receiver Ricky Carrigan Jr. makes a catch during practice. Carrigan was awarded Most Valuable Player by his team last year at Cabrillo High School.

Lauren Gandara

As fall slowly approaches, so does the football season, and with many new faces coming in to play for the Cerritos College football team, head coach Frank Mazzotta said a championship is the goal for his team early on.

“We have several kids coming in right now that are skilled position kids, probably as good as we’ve had in awhile,” said Mazzotta about the new players coming in this season. “(We’ve got) a couple of real nice receivers, a couple of good defensive backs (and) two excellent quarterbacks.”

However, even with all of this new talent, he said that it has been difficult selecting the offensive line and defensive line positions.

As far as conditioning is concerned, Mazzotta said the coaches are sticking to the same routine as they always have, keeping three things in mind: “the speed of the kids, the strength of the kids, and then also (their) brains.”

“(We) try to be faster, stronger, and smarter (than everybody else),” Mazzotta added.

Offensive line player Zachary Taves, who is coming from the University of Montana, said that he chose to attend Cerritos College because of the good football program.

He said that the conditioning is different than from the University of Montana but the intensity is still the same.

“I feel that we’ll be in shape to do anything that comes in our way,” he explained.

Middle linebacker Will Peppard, returning this season after redshirting last year, noted that the team in general has a lot of speed.

“We (were bigger) my freshman year, so this year we’re a lot faster with (our) size–on top of that–and I think we’ll do pretty (well).”

This is Peppard’s third season on the team. He played his first season back in fall 2011 and was redshirting this past season due to an injury.

The way he is preparing himself to return this next season outside of practice is by going to the gym four times a week, speed training, and conditioning with his little brother.

Coming from OCC College, running back Elijhaa Penny said about his new coaches, “You won’t find any other coaching staff that’s willing to work just as hard as you will and do their part.”

He said that as far as his team is concerned, there’s a lot of local talent and thus thinks his team will do pretty well.

Penny said he works with his trainer on speed training and goes to the gym outside of practice.

Coach Mazzotta said of his team, “We’re just in our final phase where we’re working on our speed training that we have everyday, and then we have our weight training, which we do everyday, and now we’re on the field doing the mental part of it (all).”