By Lee Patterson
Eastern Arizona College Head Football Coach, John O’Mera, was kind enough to sit down with me before practice this week to talk about his team. Although it is still early, he has a fairly good idea of who will be impact players in 2018.
EAC is coming off an 8-4 season that saw them win their 2nd consecutive Salt City Bowl and lead the country in rushing, compiling 3252 yards. Expect more of the same this season from the triple option attack that has helped O’Mera become the third most winning active coach in the NJCAA, with 134 wins in 19 years. This will be his 14th year at EAC.
The rushing attack is controlled by the quarterback and the Gila Monsters will have two that will see time this year.
Ishois Times (Sanford, NC) will be the early favorite to take snaps under center. The sophomore rushed for 264 yards and 2 touchdowns last season in a backup role. He will have to secure the football this season. He had 7 fumbles last year.
To’a MauMau (Taylorsville, UT) is right on Times’ heels this season. He hasn’t played since 2015 when he graduated High School and just returned from his LDS Mission and is working his way back into football shape. He had a great prep career in Utah, though. He threw for 1700 yards and 8 TD’s while rushing for 1700 yards and 20 TD’s.
EAC returns their leading rusher from last year with Wilbur Cooper Jr (Winterhaven, FL). He carried the rock for 744 yards and 8 touchdowns from his fullback spot. Keyshawn Lowe (Fort Valley, GA) returns to the Monsters this season as well. In 2015 he had 121 yards rushing and 3 scores in limited action.
When and if the Monsters throw the ball this season they will be looking for big TE/WR Lane Lunt (Pima, AZ). Lunt is back after serving a two year church mission and looks to be in great shape. O’Mera said that Lunt has Division I size and skill.
When you lead the country in rushing you have to have “dudes” on the O-Line to push some people around. EAC has two returners on the line.
Moses Mallory and Leone Mahe are both 300+ pounds and played together at Herriman High in Utah before coming to EAC. These two will be the anchors up front.
The Gila Monsters lead the nation in interceptions last year with 22 as a team. The “No Fly Zone” will be back this season for EAC.
Dreshun Miller (Kennesaw, GA) will be a shut down Corner for the Monsters. He had 41 tackles last season and has already committed to play at LSU next season. Joining him at Safety this season is Quandre Mosley (Brunswick, GA). The 6’3 Safety had 5 picks last year to lead the defense.
The Linebacker corps will be young but fast and athletic according to O’Mera.
Sherrod Frazier (Brunswick, GA), Demarcus Robbins and Trevon Hinton will be asked to lead a young group.
The D-Line will be anchored by Sesi Salt (Salt Lake City, UT) who spent last season at Snow College. He will be joined by Micah Stallworth (Albertville, AL) on the end to try to wreck havoc on opposing offenses.
The Gila Monsters will open their season at home September 1st against Pima College,who will be playing their final game in Thatcher, after their administration voted to drop football. EAC will then travel to Colorado Springs, CO on September 8th to take on Air Force Prep for the first time.