Vaquero Football Team Gets Ready for Fall Season

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el-vaquero-staff-writer/" class="creditline">OFELYA MARTIROSYAN
El Vaquero Staff Writer

Practice began three weeks ago for the Glendale College football team, which will be taking part in a new playoff system that may allow for dreams of making it to the championship game come true.

Ready to take on another season, the Vaqueros will be playing against Orange Coast College on Saturday at Glendale High School.

Head coach John Cicuto, who is also the President of California Community College Football Coaches Association, said that because of tight budget, this season’s match-ups will be chosen geographically to help cut travel costs.

The state championship game was usually determined by a poll voting system. However, based on the new playoff bowl structure Southern and Northern California have been divided into five separate divisions. Each division includes eight teams.

The southern division consists of Glendale, Citrus, East Los Angeles, L.A. Southwest, West L.A., Santa Monica, L.A. Harbor and Compton colleges.

The winner of every division along with three other at-large teams will compete against each other. The number one team of Southern California will play against the number one team of Northern California in the state championship game.

Cicuto said that good leadership and reliability are the most important means of success for a team. “The problem last year was lack of leadership from our sophomores,” he said. “You’ve got to have a strong foundation; your foundation starts with the strength that sophomores coming back bring.”

The team has 65 players. Some of the returning top players with most experience include: on offense: Ricky [Ricardo] Valenzuela, Nick Bronk, wide receivers Tommy [Thomas] Riley and Getro Elize and on defense: Jayson Lipscomb, inside lineman Josh Martin, Fred Gamble and Robert Harris.

Sophomores Adam Freeman, K. [Kenneth] McDaniel and David Parker will be the three quarterbacks of this season.

Cicuto is assisted by nine coaches on his staff.

“I’m excited for this year because the types of sophomores we have coming back are good people, [who] understand the importance of discipline, school, sacrifice and working within a team environment. They are going to be good leaders,” said Cicuto.

Most essential qualities of a good team player and a good leader are having priorities in line, being mentally as well as physically disciplined, being team oriented and punctual.

“Without those things you’re fighting an uphill battle continually,” said Cicuto.

Cicuto begins his 15th season as Vaquero head coach and 29th season at GCC.

The veteran coach said, “I’ve been very blessed being at Glendale College because in my 29 years we’ve had good teams, good players; we’ve played in every bowl game in Southern California.”

Although it may seem that a game with good strategy is the most important thing in football, it is education that comes first for Vaqueros.
All team members during the season have to be full-time students with 12 units. The sophomores have to have completed 24 units in a season maintaining a minimum of 2.0 GPA.

What makes Cicuto feel accomplished is when some of the players have the opportunity to continue to play on scholarships using football as a “vehicle” to pay for their education.

“What makes me feel the best is when they graduate from four-year college. That’s what highlights my season.”