The Chabot and Laney college football teams will renew their rivalry Saturday, and Gladiators coach Danny Calcagno can't help but be excited.
"It's a big game," Calcagno said.
It also figures to be a close game after a 6 p.m. kickoff in Hayward.
Both teams are 4-2 overall and 1-0 in the Golden Gate Conference. Chabot, with a young and improving offense, is riding a three-game winning streak in which it has not committed a turnover.
Laney, with a ground-and-pound attack and a strong defense, has won four in a row.
Chabot beat Laney 37-36 last season in a thriller after the Eagles failed to convert a two-point attempt in overtime. It was Chabot's first victory over Laney since 2004, Calcagno's first year guiding the Gladiators. The teams did not meet in 2010 and 2011. Chabot leads the all-time series 18-17.
Laney will be Chabot's fourth opponent this season ranked among the state's top 15 on defense for points allowed, also including American River, College of San Mateo and Diablo Valley.
"They can run the football, and they're very good on defense," Calcagno said of Laney. "They're fast. They're big up front. We've got our work cut out for us, and we're looking forward to the challenge."
Chabot freshman quarterback Zach Lujan is averaging 179.2 yards passing per game and is completing 61.7 percent of his throws.
"He's been solid. He's been awesome," Calcagno said of Lujan. "He's been really efficient in just managing the game."
Lujan will be tested by a staunch Laney secondary, featuring shut-down corner Jamal Mayo. Laney's Valentino Miles is averaging 111.8 yards rushing a game.
Chabot's Jayde Rowe carried 31 times for 190 yards and three touchdowns in a 33-28 win over Merced last week.
The Glads' defense pitched a second-half shutout after allowing 22 points in the first half, with Merced's only additional score coming on a punt return.
Chabot is seeking a third consecutive GGC title, after sharing the crown with Laney in 2012. Adding to the rivalry is the fact many of the teams' players attended the same high schools.
EX-COLTS RUNNING STRONG: Two former James Logan High distance runners are thriving in college. Cal State East Bay freshman Sarah Perrin is one of the top newcomers in the California Collegiate Athletic Association, and Las Positas sophomore Abraham Espinoza has been on a record-smashing run.
Perrin, a four-time James Logan Cross Country MVP, recently finished 11th overall and No. 2 on the team in the San Francisco State Gator Invitational, in a season-best time of 22 minutes, 42.8 seconds over 6 kilometers. The Pioneers finished fourth, led by ninth-place Odyessa Tapia.
Perrin was also 27th at the UC Riverside Invitational and 30th at the Stanford Invitational.
"She's an integral part of our success this year," Pioneers coach Ralph Jones said of Perrin.
The Pioneers are preparing for Saturday's CCAA meet at Chico State.
Espinoza started the Las Positas season with a smasher. He finished fifth at the Fresno City Invitational at Woodward Park in a school-record time of 20:53 over the 4.0-mile course.
Espinoza also finished fifth in the 8K Open Division in the Santa Clara Bronco Invitational. He set the LPC record at the American River Beaver Invitational, and looks to contend for his first Coast Conference meet title in Salinas on Oct. 30.
Dedicated to fitness and nutrition, Espinoza runs 75 to 80 miles each week and is a "great team member," Navarro said. He has drawn interest from six or seven four-year programs, Navarro said.