In 2010, the Pierce College football team was lead by a sophomore receiving core, two experienced quarterbacks, two sophomore defensive linemen and the leading tackler at linebacker.
This fall, when the Brahmas take the field at the newly renovated, John Shepard Stadium to defend their back-to-back Pacific Conference Championships and American Division Bowl Championship, it will be with new players at nearly every key position.
Pierce loses the only quarterbacks to complete a pass for them a year ago, as well as their top two rushers, their top six wide receivers, three All-Conference offensive linemen, two All-Conference defensive linemen, two kickers and their defensive leader at middle linebacker.
“That’s what is so exciting about college football: it changes from year-to-year-to-year,” said head coach Efrain Martinez. “That is what recruiting is all about; you go out and get some prospects you think are prospects and hopefully they pan out.”
Heading into 2011, the Brahmas will rely heavily on their defensive secondary. The squad is highlighted by cornerback Oliver Johnson, an Arizona State commit, and Gerald Bowman, who is probably the best defensive player in the country, according to Martinez.
“We’ve got a lot of pressure on us,” said Bowman in reference to the secondary. “I think we can play up to our standards and high expectations.”
Bowman, who is being recruited by a slew of schools, is “eliminating and evaluating” teams and should have a top five selected by the end of the spring.
Last season, Bowman was third on the team in tackles with 58 while intercepting one pass from his free safety position en route to a first team All-Conference selection.
The linebacking core is in holding pattern as it heads into summer work outs. Jake Minster, the Brahmas second leading tackler last season, is waiting on a scholarship offer from Villanova and could leave if offered, according to Martinez.
Offensively, the Brahmas will rely on running backs Josh Johnson and Greg Wanamaker as their young passing game matures. Wanamaker, out of Lindenwold High School in Lindenwold, N.J., is still recovering from surgery on his leg, which he injured in the Brahmas upset victory over Fullerton College on Sept. 18.
“Right now, my chances are looking really good, thank God,” said Wanamaker about his probability of playing this season. “I’m working hard; that’s motivating me just to overcome adversity and prove everybody wrong.”
Wanamaker said he is undergoing physical therapy with the trainers to improve his weaknesses.
Joining the Brahma staff this year is Robert Garcia, a defensive line coach from San Fernando High School. Garcia played for John F. Kennedy High School before moving on to play for UCLA.
The Brahmas start their quest for a three-peat Sept. 3 at Bakersfield. Last season when playing the Renegades, Pierce struggled on special teams, losing 41-52.
An essential part of the Brahmas’ special teams a year ago, Mike Pearson did not play in the game versus Bakersfield. Pearson, who had the team logo cut in his hair for the Brahmas bowl victory over San Bernardino Valley College, said the team is calling their kickoffs this season “The Hit Squad.” Pearson guaranteed the Brahmas logo will be back in his hair this season.
Fans can see the new look Brahmas in the new look Shepard Stadium on Sept. 10 versus rival Moorpark College.
Pierce starts the defense of their back-to-back Pacific Conference titles Oct.1 at West Los Angeles College.
The Victory Bell will be on the line again Nov. 12 as the Brahmas conclude their regular season by hosting rival Valley College.