GCC football gears up for homecoming game

By Sam Morales

GCC’s upcoming homecoming game against Phoenix College could be a challenge. The two rivals play each other Saturday Oct. 24. It’s surely a game not to miss.

Michael Bell, head coach of GCC’s football team, shared some thoughts on the challenges the team might face. “We’ve had some bad luck and misfortune the early part of this season. We’re trying to regroup, get it going. This is one of the toughest leagues in the country at the junior college level, so if you’re not ready to play, every game is tough. The biggest challenge is just getting to play a different team in our league,” Bell said.

GCC’s football team has had some close games, but so far is 1-3. Their one win was against Mesa Community College. However, GCC was 8-3 in 2012, and 5-5 last season. There’s still time for GCC to make a comeback. According to ACCAC (Arizona Community College Athletic Conference), Phoenix College stands at the bottom with a record of 0-3.

Nathan Diflorio, a defensive lineman for the team, predicts a win for his school. “The fact that we’re playing Phoenix College is always nice. Personally, they’re a weaker team so it’s a chance for me to get more highlights, film. I think they’ll come out somewhat strong in the first quarter. However, I think we’ll break them down and hopefully score a lot of points,” Diflorio said.

The rivalry between the two schools is nothing new. “I played here thirty years ago and that was our big rival, and had been for many years. We all went to high school together, and played against each other. Some would go to Phoenix College, some would come to Glendale. For that week we’d hate each other, and then after the game we were all friends again,” Bell said.

Diflorio even played one of his former high school football teammates last year when he versed Phoenix College.

Coach Bell and Diflorio both agreed Scottsdale is more of their rival now. “That’s the school to beat. It’s either us or them every year,” Diflorio said.

Ten years ago GCC’s football team was undefeated, and so far is the only team in Arizona to be inducted into the NJCAA Hall of Fame.  In fact, the 2015 team plans on having a barbecue for the 2005 championship team. Bell thinks it’ll be a nice opportunity for the current players to meet with the championship team.

When asked if homecoming is different from any other game, “We try to treat each game the same. It’s good the school gets involved and you get that recognition, but as far as it being any different, they do paint the field differently. I’m not sure if they’ll put the Gaucho head out there or not,” Bell said. “Other than that, it’s another chance for our guys to get exposure. They’re all in pursuit of earning a scholarship to a four year university. It’s another opportunity for them to play well and prove that they can move on to a four year level.”

As for the team’s strengths, Diflorio believes the defense is what opponents should watch out for.

For the past three years, GCC has had a winning streak against Phoenix College. Let’s hope GCC will be able to add a fourth year.

Diflorio is looking forward to the homecoming game. “It definitely means a lot since that’s our last home game,” Diflorio said.

According to Glendale Community College’s website, the homecoming game will be from 7-10 p.m. at GCC’s Matt O. Hanhila Field. Tickets are $5 for adults, $3 for seniors, and free for GCC students and employees with a current college ID.