While California's community college football hierarchy has been reorganized into a three-tiered playoff system, the state schedule makers did make an effort to preserve some long-standing geographic rivalries. It's odd to think that Southwestern College no longer has any other San Diego County teams to call league rivals. Instead, the Jaguars will be facing Santa Ana, Riverside, Golden West, College of the Desert and Orange Coast in the reorganized Tier II Central East Conference.
League play kicks off Oct. 16 when SWC hosts College of the Desert. Kick-off is 6 p.m.
The state playoffs escaped budget cuts but have been reduced to just four teams and two rounds. The top two teams from Tier I qualify (conference champions), along with the next two ranked teams, regardless of conference, division or tier, thus giving all teams a chance at winning a state title. Teams also can qualify for non-playoff bowl games.
The Jaguars are 2-2 through four games and it’s unlikely at this point that the Chula Vista JC squad will garner enough votes to challenge for a state playoff berth. But it could be a different story once league play kicks off.
Mt. San Antonio College is the defending state champion and is ranked #1 among Southern California teams.
Southwestern kicked off its 2010 schedule by facing its three closest geographic rivals in its first three games. The Jags fell, 23-13, to Palomar College in their season opener. SWC played well but the Comets — ranked eighth in the nation — had just too much more of what the visitors did not.
The Jaguars cleaned up on San Diego Mesa, 26-0, on Sept. 11 before falling by a score of 45-31 to longtime regional power Grossmont on Sept. 18.
Both Palomar and Grossmont (currently 5-0 and the only undefeated team in the state along with Mt. SAC) compete in Tier I; San Diego Mesa is now classified in Tier III.
SWC obviously fits in somewhere between Tier I and Tier III.
After a bye week on Sept. 25, the Jags got back in the win column following last Saturday’s 43-41 triple overtime thriller at Mt. San Jacinto College. The Eagles (2-3) are a Tier III Team.
Southwestern hosts San Bernardino Valley (another Tier III team) Saturday, Oct. 9, at 6 p.m. SBV is 2-2 on the season.
The Jaguars have had to rework their rushing game because of an injury to preseason All-American Aaron Harris (Granite Hills). SWC got its first 100-yard rusher of the season in last week’s victory at Mt. San Jacinto: freshman fullback Arona Tuiafono from Pago Pago American Samoa. Tuiafono rushed 23 times for 106 yards.
“Arona was the workhorse in overtime and put together the key runs in the third overtime to win the game,” SWC coach Ed Carberry said.
Sophomore Orville Roachford (Otay Ranch) added 51 yards on 14 carries and scored one touchdown in the overtime period.
The Jags utilized the talents of their two true freshmen quarterbacks to secure the victory. Victor Perez (Chula Vista) completed 12 of 23 passes for 176 yard and one touchdown while Ryan Van Nostrand (Olympian) was eight-for-11 with 51 yards and one TD pass.
With freshman tackle Marc Pouvave (Monte Vista) and guard Frankie Kascinta (Steele Canyon) dominating their opposing defensive counterparts, SWC tailback Thomas Tutogi scored two touchdowns and also scored the game-winning two-point conversion. Ramsey Iapala (Sweetwater) paved the way with a monster lead block on Tutogi’s game-winning conversion.
“Our defense battled all night against a huge offensive line led by two Pac 10-sized offensive tackles,” said Carberry, whose team led 28-10 at halftime before being caught at 28-all to force overtime.
Tutogi, playing two ways, led the Jags with 17 tackles while Jacob Coogan (Mater Dei Catholic) registered six stops. Carberry said freshman defensive tackle Aaron Lozano (Olympian) had “his best game of the 2010 season.”
“The key play of the night was stopping the mandatory two-point conversion in the third overtime to give the offense the chance to win the game,” the SWC coach said.
Freshman Eugene Simmons (Patrick Henry), who Carberry said had “a big game in special teams” in the loss to Grossmont, scored on a punt return to help lift the Jags. Freshman Julius Miller (Olympian) had two sizable kick-off returns to set up the SWC offensive unit with favorable field position.
Freshman place-kicker Chris Navarro (Eastlake) booted five PATs in the game.
Ryan Woods threw for 452 yards and completed six touchdown passes to lead Grossmont. Alex McLeland had seven catches for 114 yards while Jedon Matthews (Horizon Christian) grabbed three scoring strikes. Connor Derby recorded one punt against the hosts for 88 yards. Former Eastlake Titan Henry Simon led the Griffins with a pair of sacks.
Perez threw for 239 yards in the loss while Hawthorne’s Josh McCoy had 104 receiving yards. Will Clark (Mar Vista) recovered a fumble that set up a Perez TD pass to Ben Ijah (Murrieta Valley).
The SWC defense held Grossmont to just 39 rushing yards on 29 attempts.
Grossmont limited Perez’s effectiveness with four sacks.
Santa Ana (4-1), Riverside (3-1) and Golden West (3-2) all sport winning records in advance of Central East Conference play.
Tuiafono leads SWC with 273 rushing yards, followed by Roachford with 186 yards.
Perez tops the Jags with 667 passing yards and five TDs; Van Nostrand has thrown for 167 yards and one touchdown.
Top receivers for SWC include McCoy (212 yards, two TDs), Barstow’s Rob Jones (206 yards, two TDs) and former BVHS standout Andrew Grimes (182 yards).
Navarro leads the Jaguars in scoring with 21 points, followed by Tutogi with 18 points and Tuiafono with 14 points.
Tutogi is SWC’s defensive leader with 32 tackles, one sack and one fumble recovery. Floyd ranks second with 24 tackles, followed by teammate Eric Gilbert (Steele Canyon) with 23 stops.
Navarro’s longest field goal this season is 44 yards. It came in the season opener against Palomar.
Players of the Week
Southwestern 43, Mt. San Jacinto 41 (3 OT)
Offensive Player of the Week: Aaron Tuafono (Fagaitua, American Samoa)
Defensive Player of the Week: Tama Hugo (Tafuna, Pago Pago)
Special Teams Player of the Week: Julius Miller (Olympian)
Big stick: Ramsey Iapala (Sweetwater), Jake Coogan (Mater Dei Catholic)
Grossmont 45, Southwestern 31
Offensive Player of the Week: Orville Roachford (Otay Ranch)
Defensive Player of the Week: Thomas Tutogi (Chula Vista)
Special Teams Player of the Week: Eugene Simmons (Patrick Henry)
Big stick: Nick Floyd (Grossmont)
Southwestern 26, San Diego Mesa 0
Offensive Player of the Week: Victor Perez (Chula Vista)
Defensive Player of the Week: Ramsey Iapala (Sweetwater)
Special Teams Player of the Week: Donald McCuddy (Bonita Vista)
Big stick: Ramsey Iapala (Sweetwater)