Expectations are high once again for Long Beach City College football. The Vikings are three-time defending National Central Conference champions, and have won four consecutive bowl games.
“In our eyes, we’re not trying to maintain, we’re trying to go higher,” sophomore DeAnthony Jones said. “We’re going for a national championship.”
Last year, LBCC narrowly missed the state playoffs after going 9-3 and outscoring their opponents by an average score of 40-28. The Vikings were coming off of a winless season when coach Brett Peabody took over, and are 40-15 since 2014.
“It’s up to these guys to live up to the standard that’s been set,” Peabody said. “We’re young, but the potential is there to do some really special things.”
LBCC is incredibly deep with young talent at running back, wide receiver and defensive back.
Peabody said his offensive backfield is the deepest he’s had at LBCC. Running backs Mason Brown from Serra High, and Raphael Jones Jr. from Mater Dei, lead a group that has a good mix of running styles.
Drake Peabody and his strong arm will be the starting quarterback for his dad this season, while dual-threat freshman Jonathan Murphy will also play. They’ll be throwing to a receiving corps full of speedy targets. Peabody said Tariq Culpepper, Dominic Wingfield and Jonathan Bonds were standouts during offseason workouts.
In the defensive secondary, safety Cross Poyer and cornerback Jeremiah Houston are the only returning starters, but there will be a heavy rotation of newcomers.
Dajon Owens, who started at corner last year, signed with Colorado State last month. He is the fourth true freshman defensive back to sign an NCAA scholarship this year. LBCC is also welcoming Long Beach Poly safety Josh Talbot, who is a bounce back from Washington State.
Depth is an issue in the trenches, but Peabody said Sebastian Hernandez from La Mirada is one of the best freshman offensive linemen LBCC has ever recruited. The line will also get Tyus Toomalatai back. The 6’1” 335-pound sophomore was on the 2016 team.
On defense, all-conference linebacker Darryon Burton and defensive lineman DeAnthony Jones will be key to the success of the front seven. Burton averaged six tackles per game last season. The 6’1” 235-pound Jones will be a hybrid lineman who lines up in several positions. Peabody predicts he will be one of the highest recruited players in the nation this year.
“We’re still waiting for guys to emerge as leaders, but we’re young, and that will come as they get to know each other,” Peabody said.
One of the ways his team has bonded has been by watching the junior college football documentary “Last Chance U” on Netflix. The show stars coach Jason Brown, who spent time coaching at Cabrillo High and local junior colleges.
“We talk about the show all of the time,” Peabody said. “I’ve known JB a long time. He comes across a certain way, but the bottom line is he cares about those kids. It’s tough when you do a show like that, in my opinion, because they don’t show the good stuff all of the time. They tend to show whatever they consider highlights. Much respect for JB for taking it on. I’m not so sure I would be up for that.”
Long Beach City College Football Season Preview 2018
Read more about the LBCC Vikings: http://www.the562.org/2018/08/10/long-beach-city-college-vikings-season-preview/
LBCC vs. Grossmont, 5 p.m.
LBCC @ Mt. SAC, 1 p.m.
LBCC vs. LA Valley, 5 p.m.
LBCC vs. Riverside, 5 p.m.
LBCC @ Cerritos, 6 p.m.
LBCC @ ELAC, 6 p.m.
LBCC vs. Bakersfield, 5 p.m.
LBCC @ Moorpark, 6 p.m.
LBCC vs. Canyons, 5 p.m.
LBCC @ Ventura, 6 p.m.