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Mt. SAC Football prepares to debut new stadium, 2021 season

Mt. SAC Football team before the game
Photo Courtesy of DavesSportsImage

(Walnut, CA) After a five-year "home" road trip, the Mt. SAC Football team settles into its new digs at Hilmer Lodge Stadium.

The new facility features a multi-million dollar scoreboard, Heritage Hall and a stadium capacity of 11,500, which is expandable for larger events.

Longtime Mt. SAC Football coach Bob Jastrab simply describes the stadium as, "…..It's like a new car. It's beautiful. It's wonderful."

The beautiful facility was actually available for the 2020 season, but all sports were canceled last fall by the CCCAA.

The Mounties begin the season with two consecutive games on the road at L.A. Valley (Sept. 4) and Saddleback (Sept. 11).

The first game at Hilmer Lodge Stadium for 2021 will be Saturday, September 18, against San Bernardino Valley College.

In the last competitive season in 2019, the Mounties returned to the CCCAA State Playoffs after a 7-4 season record, winning the National Conference Central Division.

After the five-game non-conference schedule, the Mounties begin conference action, Thursday, October 14 at El Camino.

Two new teams in the conference this year are Riverside City College and Chaffey College. RCC was previously in the National Conference Southern Division and Chaffey came from the American Conference Metro Division.

San Diego Mesa and Fullerton left and both joined the National Conference Southern Division.

"The strength of our team this year is the D-line," Jastrab said. "That's always been one of our strongest areas."

Players to watch: sophomores Tupu Alualu, DL and Siliato Tuia, DL, who both played at New Mexico Military Institute last season. Inoke Katoa, also a sophomore on the defensive line, played for Mt. SAC in 2019. Also included is sophomore Tre Mariney on the D-line.                                           

On the offensive side, a three-way battle is at the quarterback position: Alex Flores, Ike Udengwu, and Ethan Hery.

"On any given day, each one does something good," Jastrab said.

Another skill position to watch for is sophomore wide receiver, Bryce Pierre, a transfer from Chaffey College.

""I think he has a chance to play on Sundays," Jastrab added.

Jastrab commented on the excitement of his players just to be back after a year off from playing football.

"I can actually see it on their faces," said Jastrab, who has over 100 players in the program. "They are just glad to be back.

"We're trying to get kids in the right direction. For the sophomores, it's huge for their mental well-being. For any kid, just to have that opportunity to move on and do something better is great."

Jastrab continued, "….the bottom line is the kids need to be out there. When you take football away, the motivation is not there. It's good to be back in a positive environment."

Evans Roderick retires

Someone missing from the sidelines is longtime football coach and counselor Evans Roderick, better known as "Rod".

Rod was seen in the stands recently in a scrimmage game at the stadium, which is his first time away from the field – but not by much.

"He is a guy who coached me when I played here and has mentored players through the years," Jastrab said. "The difference that he made on and off the field was huge.

Roderick was the defensive coordinator when Jastrab played for Mt. SAC.

"He was good for the kids with his leadership and knowledge."

When Roderick came back to coach football with Jastrab, he was the special teams' coordinator and quality control.

Roderick was in the program and counseling for 45 years.

Follow Mt. SAC Football on Twitter @mtsacfootball

Follow Mt. SAC Athletics on Twitter @MtSAC_athletics or Facebook @Mountie.Athletics

For additional information, please contact the Mt. SAC Sports Information Office at 909.274.4630.