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#13 Ranked Monsters Open 2012 Season

When 17 football athletes graduate to Division 1 schools — all with degrees in hand — teams would call the next season a rebuilding year, but with the Eastern Arizona College Gila Monsters football team it’s time to reload with equal and maybe even higher caliber players.

Affable head coach John O’Mera sat at his office desk and explained the success of the program is that everybody — from the top to the bottom, from the trainers to administration, from tutors to teachers and from the assistant coaches to the community — have contributed. “I give the school compliments on getting them educated and prepared to move on. “It’s also the kids who do their part to graduate,” Coach O’Mera said. Some of the players who are being recruited are coming from Division 1 schools where their grades were not up to standards for play in the given program or NCAA requirements. Once they are done at EAC, they are recruited right back into the top Division 1 schools. Of the 17 who graduated last year, Travell Dixon signed with Alabama and Mohammed Seisay will suit up for Nebraska.

Recruits come from everywhere, but coach O’Mera said, “A lot of it is just turning over stones. It’s the coaches that come here recruiting and see the school and campus and are happy with our results. It’s word of mouth.” He gave most of the credit to two coaches, “The guys who really do it are coaches Anthony Redding and Chenelle Jones. They get in there and dig and look around for kids that will fit into our program,” he said.

Friendly is another word he used in describing the atmosphere of the campus, students and especially the community when other coaches and recruits visit. “They see the full stadium and all the people around the track, all the fans,” he said.

The Idaho-born coach who previously coached football at New Mexico Military Institute after eight years — three bowl games — now two consecutively, and a lot of winning both on and off the field, coach O’Mera, said, “I want to thank the community for all their support. They pack the house every Saturday night and stick with you whether you’re great or down and out.”

The Eastern Arizona College Gila Monsters football team will start the season with three home games Aug. 25 and 30 and Sep. 8 playing Pueblo Steel, Green River College and Team Jordan (Tucson), respectively. Start times are 7pm.

Contributing article by Jay Murphy

Eastern Arizona Courier Sports writer