Jaguars refocus on positives

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Jaguars refocus on positives

Jags linebacker Cy Pana, No. 14, pushes through the offensive line during the home game against West Hills on Sept. 28.

Jags linebacker Cy Pana, No. 14, pushes through the offensive line during the home game against West Hills on Sept. 28.

Jags linebacker Cy Pana, No. 14, pushes through the offensive line during the home game against West Hills on Sept. 28.

Jags linebacker Cy Pana, No. 14, pushes through the offensive line during the home game against West Hills on Sept. 28.

Taylor Atkinson

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Coach Connor looks to rebuild despite setbacks

The San Jose City College football team has had a tough season so far.

With a record of 1-4, it is easy to see that the losses are creating tension within the team, but there is a lot more going on behind the scenes.

“We’re here to be successful, but when you’re in a sport or you’re in anything where you’re judged on your performance alone, then it gets tough,” said Carlton Connor, head coach of the Jaguars. “No one cares about how much time you put in to prepare, no one cares about how much time you put in during the offseason to get better, they just want to see the wins and losses.”

Some students have started to speculate that “hatred” between players is to blame for the losses this season.

“It’s not necessarily that we hate each other … three quarters of these kids live together,” Connor said. “There’s no escape.”

As is the case with many sports teams, there is a family dynamic within the Jaguars, and the players are like brothers. Conflict between siblings is to be expected.

“When you start dealing with people for the number of hours that we deal with each other, you’re just going to get tired of it,” Connor said. “Has it hindered some of our progress? Sure. But those are the natural growing pains of JC football.”

Josh Pruneda, broadcasting student and former Jags football player, denied there is animosity within the team.

“I think hatred is too strong a word,” Pruneda said. “I don’t think anyone on the team hates each other, but the losing streak is very frustrating.”

Connor was not here as a coach last year so he said this season is entirely developmental.

“We had a crack in the foundation of the program so it’s definitely a rebuilding year, a reestablishing year, but we’re getting better each and every week,” Connor said.

He went on to say that offensive coordinator Shawn Thomas decided to resign before the end of the season, but his absence will not affect the team.

“He (Thomas) chose to go on to other endeavors,” Connor said. “A lot of times people get into things and don’t really understand the depth of which they get into, and I think that that was the case there.”

Injured Jags football player CJ Dia, 20, sociology major, said Thomas was a “terrible” coach.

“I felt like his mouth was a lot bigger than what he was bringing to the table, or he had never coached before,” Dia said.

During the game against West Hills College on Sept. 28, freshman defensive lineman Meke Savaii was ejected from the game for “taking a shot on a ref,” according to the KJCC radio live broadcast from that day.

Connor and Dia both declined to comment about the incident or about the player himself.

“He’s served his suspension through the proper organizations and authorities,” Connor said. “It was a two-week suspension and community service, and the young man … understands the importance of his behavior and his demeanor, and what he represents when he’s wearing that helmet and that jersey, and I don’t think we’re going to have that from him again.”

Savaii said he was instructed by Coach Connor to not speak about the issue.

“It all happened so fast that as soon as the player made his move on the ref, he was out of the game,” said Jason Guillory, KJCC radio live broadcaster. “I believe it was due to a lack of discipline on the field, as well as frustration due to the lack of offensive production and the score of the game.”

Conner says football is an emotional game and there are a number of things that can happen before, during or after the game.

“When you play this game you have to act out of character; and that doesn’t mean you don’t have good character or you’re not a good person, but just to have the ability to run around and throw yourself into other human beings at 20-25 mph consistently for 60 minutes … you’re not the regular cat on the street,” Connor said.

As for the future, Connor said the team will continue to grow as young men and as football players.

“Yes, we are 1-4; yes, we have struggled; yes, there are some things that we could do to get better, but the best thing about it right now is that we have another week,” Connor said. “The worst thing about it right now is we’re going to run out of weeks.”

He added that football and athletics at San Jose City College are an important aspect of the college community.

“I really think that people should start to look at the bigger picture and look at the value of community that the teams bring,” Connor said. “I really would like to see a more positive spin, a more positive aspect of the way that we’re treating our student athletes.”