After a 2-0 start and 97-36 scoring rampage, the Southwestern College Jaguars have to be enjoying their new schedule courtesy of their return to the American Mountain Conference of the Southern California Football Association.
Prior to the start of the 2012 season, SWC head coach Ed Carberry pointed out the last time the Jags were in the Mountain Conference (2008), they went to a bowl game after compiling a 7-3 regular season record — the football team’s first winning season since 2000.
The Jaguars participated in the Trembley Financial Services Bowl, dropping a 45-14 contest to Pasadena at Santa Barbara City College.
Carberry said he sees many similarities to that 2008 campaign.
They start at the quarterback position, he said.
“Ryan Nelson was our QB in 2008; Brett Nelson, his younger brother, is our current QB,” the SWC coach said. “Both were hard working, accurate QBs. Brett understands the offense and can keep us playing at a high tempo.
“Frank Foster, our second QB, adds a running aspect to our game for the option — a good combo. We also have a big offensive line and are deep at the wide receiver position like in 2008.”
The Jags dumped L.A. Valley, 42-3, before 500 fans at Olympian High School last Saturday in the team’s first home game in its temporary venue (due to field renovation at DeVore Stadium).
Brett Nelson (St. Francis Pasadena) threw for 291 yards and two touchdowns — both to Vernon Johnson (Brewer/Ft. Worth, Tex.) — while also rushing for a 13-yard score.
The passing game has provided dividends so far for Southwestern. Johnson finished the game with five catches for 190 yards while Patrick Mitchell (Morse) grabbed three aerials for 62 yards.
Johnson caught a 63-yard scoring pass to ignite the Jags and later scored on a 99-yard catch-and-carry to complete a 27-0 first quarter scoring outburst.
SWC led 34-3 at halftime.
Mitchell rushed for a three-yard touchdown, Tyler Anderson (Silverado Las Vegas) scored on a 47-yard run and Kene Anigbogu (Helix) raced in from 21 yards to complete the SWC scoring.
Junior Nemorin (East Bay/Tampa, Fla.) gained 59 yards on three carries to lead the Jags on the ground.
Chris Navarro (Eastlake) and Carlos Magallanes (Bonita Vista) were both perfect on three PAT conversions.
Defensively, Khaalid Abdullah (Mt. Miguel) and Kellen De la Rosa (Bonita Vista) each made six tackles while Cameron Lee (Helix) had one pick.
Southwestern rolled up 320 net passing yards and 272 net rushing yards while tacking on 98 return yards. The Jags held the Monarchs to 98 net rushing yards and 147 net passing yards.
Carberry suggested the team’s success so far is due to what he termed “great players” currently on the team’s roster.
“The past couple of years there have been plays to be made and we haven’t been consistent enough in making those plays,” Carberry said. “So far this young season we have made those plays. Vernon Johnson has, of course, been a pleasant surprise — six touchdowns in two games is a big boost to any program.”
Johnson leads the conference in both receiving yards (13 receptions for 355 yards) and scoring (six touchdowns).
Nelson ranks second in the conference with 527 passing yards and four TDs; Navarro is second in the conference with nine kicking points, including a 23-yard field goal.
Jeremy Burgos (Notre Dame/Chicago) tops the conference defensive chart with 19 tackles, including one for a nine-yard loss.
“The defense is coming along and learning to play together as a single unit,” Carberry said. “Jeremy Burgos has had two big games in a row leading us in tackles.”
Southwestern next plays Palomar College Saturday, Sept. 15, in a 6 p.m. game at Escondido High School (the site of this year’s San Diego Section football finals).
Palomar is 1-1 on the season after dropping a 47-7 encounter at Riverside last week.
The Jags host San Bernardino on Sept. 22 to kick off conference play.
Carberry termed Saturday’s game against Palomar a “mid term” exam.
“We will see where we are at prior to starting conference play the following week,” he said.
•SWC racked up 483 net passing yards in a 55-33 non-conference win at West L.A. on Sept. 1.
•Nelson and Foster (Valhalla) each threw a pair of scoring passes while Johnson collected four touchdowns on eight catches for 165 yards.
•Nelson was 23-of-31 for 236 yards with one pick while Foster, making his JC debut, was 12-of-17 for 247 yards with no interceptions.
HIGH SCHOOL BAND NIGHT
The San Diego State Aztecs football team will conduct its annual High School Band Night during halftime of its game against North Dakota on Saturday, Sept. 15, at Qualcomm Stadium. Kick-off is 5 p.m.
SDSU is coming off a 42-7 non-conference victory against Army in last Saturday’s Fleet Week Classic. Four South County players are rostered on this year’s Aztec football team: junior tight end D.J. Shields (Bonita Vista), sophomore linebacker Andrew Feaster (Eastlake) and freshmen lineman Jonathan Henkel (Otay Ranch) and Nico Siragusa (Mater Dei Catholic).
Shields has appeared in both of SDSU’s two recent bowl games: the 2010 Poinsettia Bowl and 2011 New Orleans Bowl. Feaster played in the New Orleans Bowl.