Next Saturday, September 1, the Saddleback College football team will host the Mt. San Antonio Mounties, as the Gauchos kick off the 2012 season.
Last season ended on a down note for the Gauchos, as they lost in the 2011 Golden State Bowl to the Riverside Community College Tigers, 31-14. Despite the disappointing end to their season, the Gauchos finished 8-3 on the season, and 3-2 in conference games.
Saddleback set several school records in 2011, including most points per game (40.5), most yards passing in a season (3,725), most points scored in a quarter (35), and tied the school record for most passing touchdowns in a season (34).
It remains to be seen how the Gauchos will deal with the loss of several of their key players from last season, including quarterback Ben Gomez, who set school records with 33 touchdown passes and 3,651 passing yards last season, and wide receiver Rodney Woodland, who caught 65 passes for 1,094 yards and 12 touchdowns.
Running back James Poole, who led the team in rushing yards with 305 yards, and defensive back Jake Johnston, who led the team with 73 tackles, also have left the team.
The season opener versus Mt. San Antonio will be the eighteenth time that the Gauchos and the Mounties have played each other. In the previous 17 matches, the Gauchos have gone 8-9, and have lost four of the last five games.