John Lango thinks Gavilan football is going to be pretty good
this upcoming season. The program has qualified for postseason play
the past two seasons
– including a trip to the Clo Bowl in Santa Rosa last year –
under the Rams head coach, so that’s saying something. The reason
for Lango’s optimism is an influx of new players from local high
schools – including a solid corp of Live Oak High products, a host
of quality returners and a few
key signees from out of the area.
John Lango thinks Gavilan football is going to be pretty good this upcoming season. The program has qualified for postseason play the past two seasons – including a trip to the Clo Bowl in Santa Rosa last year – under the Rams head coach, so that’s saying something.
The reason for Lango’s optimism is an influx of new players from local high schools – including a solid corp of Live Oak High products, a host of quality returners and a few key signees from out of the area.
With former Gilroy High, Gavilan and 49er quarterback Jeff Garcia set to his annual golf tournament on June 25 to raise funds for Gavilan’s football program – as well as Gilroy High’s – Lango is looking at good times ahead.
“I think we’re going to pretty good again,” said Lango, reeling off a list of local athletes verbally committed to playing for the Rams in 2005.
The coach is especially happy to have Hollister’s Central Coast Section First Team linebacker Anthony Vasquez join the team. Vasquez, a monster in the middle for a Haybalers team that advanced all the way to the CCS Division I finale last season, will improve a linebacking corps that is already a strength for the Rams.
“We return our QB, three running backs, a tight end and a wide receiver, and three offensive linemen, including two starters,” said Lango.
“I think everybody (in the Coast Conference is) on an even playing field,” he said, noting that the Rams had a shot at winning the conference outright.
“We can be better than we have (been) in a long time.”
Lango said the program’s philosophy was to keep players from area high schools close to home, where they can develop with a support network.
“We want our local kids to stay local,” he said. “We get young men who may not have started for Darren (Yafai) at Gilroy High School because they didn’t mature yet – physically, not mentally. Jeff (Garcia) was the same. You may not have played a lot in high school, but this is another chance for you.
“And if you look at the history, all the best players to come out of Hollister, Live Oak and Gilroy came through Gavilan. We’re talking players like Jeff Garcia and (Live Oak’s) Jeff Ulbrich.”
Live Oak products committed to Gavilan include offensive linemen Justin Frost, Dustin Vertin and John Pedersen, wide receiver Shaun Standridge and tight end Tim Abbott.
The quintet was a key to the Acorn football team’s resurgent season which included an 8-3 overall record, a third-place finish in the Tri-County Athletic League and a berth in the CCS Division I playoffs.
Gavilan has its first home scrimmage, against Merced, on Aug. 25 and its first game on Sept. 4.
The team will play four games on the new turf at Mustang Stadium and one at Hollister-San Benito High in 2005.
For more information about the Jeff Garcia Invitational golf tournament, contact co-chairs Darren Yafai at 847-3340 and John Lango at 848-4875.
Players from the following schools have verbally committed to Gavilan College for the 2005 football season:
John Pedersen, DL/OL
Shaun Standridge, WR/DB
Dustin Vertin, C
Justin Frost, G
Tim Abbott, TE/WR
Anthony Vasquez, LB
Nick Kostielney, C
Brett Brennan, DT
Tim Martinez, LB
Louis Gutierrez, RB
Joe Cano, LB
Kevin Collins, DE
John Torres, OL