Things are starting to look up for the Laney College football team, but you don't have to tell that to Eagles coach John Beam.
"We're getting there," Beam said. "We're young in some ways. Our quarterbacks are young. I'm excited."
Laney (2-4, 1-0 Golden Gate Conference), which has won two of three after a rough start, will host rival Chabot (2-4, 1-0) at 7 p.m. Friday.
Chabot and Laney have had similar seasons. Chabot dropped its first four games before winning its last two. Chabot and Laney are ranked one-two in the conference in offense and defense. Chabot is ranked 16th in Northern California, one spot ahead of Laney.
Moreover, Chabot coach Danny Calcagno describes his team as inconsistent and young in places, much like how Beam describes his team.
"I still think we're a decent team," said Calcagno, who led the Gladiators to a GGC title and the Capital City Bowl in 2011. "We will have our hands full with Laney. We have to play error free."
Familiarity helps fuel the rivalry. Calcagno, formerly at San Leandro High, and Beam, formerly at Skyline, have a long-standing, respectful coaching rivalry.
Their current players can't wait for Friday night.
"Everybody has been moving faster this week," said Laney receiver Aaron George, a returning all-conference selection. "We all played some of these people in high school and probably in Pop Warner. Everybody knows who can play and who's capable of what. It raises
Gladiators running backs Hunter Rockwell (Newark Memorial) and Santi McCrae are playing well, along with linebacker Leo Migo and defensive back Jamal Jones (Dublin), who leads the GGC with five interceptions.
Beam saw lots of progress in Laney's 54-30 rout of West Hills last week. Quarterbacks Charles Cobbs (Oakland), Austin Kent and Adam Robinson (Moreau Catholic) combined to pass for 260 yards.
A pleasant surprise, Laney's Jed Barnett, a former walk-on at Cal, ranks 12th in the state averaging 39.5 yards a punt. Other standouts are center Bryce Fryan (Washington), receiver Kyle Jackson, and defensive backs Randall Shumpert (Skyline), Jamal Mayo (Skyline), Erron Christmas (Alhambra) and Quenton Dent.
"The team is coming along great," George said. "We just feel that we have to be more consistent, stay focused. We get (lackadaisical) a lot. That's the reason why we get put in the position that we're in."
What brought it all together for Laney?
"Just tired of losing," George said. "We all like to win."
MOVERS AND SHAKERS: Former Laney star C.J. Anderson (Laney 2009-10) continues to excel at Cal. He had the best two rushing games there the past two weeks, with 151 yards against UCLA and 112 against Washington State. Ex-Eagles wideout Chuck Jacobs and defensive lineman Paul Piukala played for Utah State against San Jose State, and former Laney tight end Connor Peters, a De La Salle grad, has caught a pass for a two-point conversion for Boise State.
BVC REPORT: Los Medanos and Contra Costa opened Bay Valley Conference play with wins. The Comets (2-3) routed Yuba 40-10 as Rashad Hall ran for 227 yards and two touchdowns, and the Mustangs (4-2) beat Shasta 51-46. For LMC, Matt Smith had 159 yards rushing and Mike Behr passed for 298 yards and five TDs and ran for a score.
PIONEERS UPDATE: The Cal State East Bay women's soccer team has won two in a row. Kara Yamamoto, a Saint Mary's College transfer, scored in a 1-0 win over Humboldt State on Oct. 13 in the California Collegiate Athletic Association. Nina Cefalo (Foothill), normally a goalie, scored the final goal in an 8-0 nonconference rout of Mills. The Cal State East Bay men's team (3-7-3, 16-3 CCAA) beat Cal Maritime 5-1 as Javier Martin (Mt. Eden) scored twice.
Contact Matt Schwab at email@example.com. or follow him on Twitter @schwab_matt.