The Chabot football team will look to continue its momentum after an unexpected week off when it hosts perennial state power City College of San Francisco at 6 p.m. Saturday at Gladiator Stadium.
The Gladiators (4-2, 1-0 Bay 6) saw their scheduled home game against Santa Rosa Junior College last week postponed indefinitely because of the massive Kincade Fire in Sonoma County, which forced the cancellation of SRJC classes and athletic activities, etc.
So, Chabot, ranked No. 23 in the state Junior College Athletic Bureau Coaches Poll, has turned its attention to a massive showdown against No. 10 CCSF (5-2, 1-1), which precedes tough matchups on the road against No. 1 College of San Mateo (7-0, 2-0) and at home against No. 20 Laney (3-4, 1-1).
What's coach Eric Fanene telling his players after what amounted to a second bye week?
"We control what we can control," Fanene says. "All these scenarios because we don't know if we have to make up the game, we're not making up the game. Everyone knows that five wins kind of locks you into a bowl game and that's big to us. Playoffs obviously is what we want to do, but you have to win out to win a playoff (bid). Basically, it comes down to we control our own destiny."
The positive about getting an extra week off is it allowed a lot of banged-up Chabot players to get healthier.
"We love being healthy going into these last three games that we have, a grinder -- San Francisco, CSM and Laney," Fanene says.
Fanene appreciates his team's resilience this season. The 28-23 road win over Diablo Valley College on Oct. 18 was a big shot in the arm for the program. Chabot's Ponove Veimau, who's been battling ankle and shoulder injuries all season, led the ground game with 149 yards on 16 carries, and quarterback Chayce Akaka showed off his cannon for an arm and his wheels, completing 6 of 15 for 197 yards and two touchdowns, also running for 42 yards.
"They came to play against DVC," Fanene said proudly. "That was a really proud moment for me to win on the road, open up Bay 6. … I'm happy with the way we're running the ball and the way we're stopping the run, and so it goes hand in hand."
Veimau also showed his mettle earlier in the season, running for 108 yards and two TDs in a 30-20 win over Siskiyous on Sept. 28.
Akaka didn't have to throw often against DVC, but he delivered when he did throw. "Oh yeah, Chayce is special, man," Fanene says. "Not to take away credit from everyone else, but when you have Chayce Akaka you always have a chance to win a game. But that goes with the defense; we've got to still play great defense to make sure we secure that win, but he's a special guy. You've got to prepare for that guy, it's hard."
Fanene also credits the coaching staff with doing an excellent job calling plays against DVC, which packed the box.