The Offense Stops Here : Valley College Defensive Unit Leaves Its Opponents Sputtering and Muttering


Pity George Swade, coach and offensive coordinator at Harbor College, who has the unenviable task of devising a plan to move the ball Saturday against the Valley College defense.

He might have better luck talking George Burns, the 89-year-old comedian, into opening a 30-year IRA account.

Valley’s defense, which is ranked second in the state among junior colleges, gives up an average of only 180.6 yards a game. It is largely responsible for Valley’s 2-0 record in the Southern California Conference, 6-1 record overall, and No. 12 ranking in the state.


Valley has allowed opponents just 58.4 yards on the ground. And when opponents choose to throw, they are successful only 26.4% of the time.

Even so, teams have been twice as successful through the air, gaining an average of 122.2 yards a game. And that’s still pretty bad.

“They look like an awesome team,” Swade said. “They’re big. They’re talented. And they have no apparent weakness. Other than that, we have them whipped.”

Valley’s defensive prowess should not come as a surprise. Last year Valley had the fifth-best defense in the state, allowing 226 yards per game. Now it’s better.

Valley Coach Chuck Ferrero, who has worked with defensive coordinator Bob Meyers for 13 years, said he is not surprised by the success of the unit.

“I expected them to do well,” he said. “They’re a high-character group. Every great team has a lot of leaders.”


Alain Greer, a 6-1 1/2, 266-pound tackle, and Clark Watson, a 5-11, 210-pound outside linebacker, are two of the standouts on the defense.

Meyers said that Watson was born to run--and that Greer was born to stuff the run.

Said Meyers about Watson, who runs the 40 in 4.55: “He’s a tremendously gifted athlete. He can run fast and he hits hard. He’s got great range, and he can make the play when the ball is on the other side of the field.”

Said Meyers about Greer: “Football is in his genes. He’s got great size and he can run the 40 in 4.7. He can bench press over 400 pounds. He usually has to play against two guys and some have put three on him. But he hasn’t played a game that he’s been beaten.”

The Monarchs use an eight-man front, which is one reason it’s so difficult for opponents to gain yardage rushing.

The longest run against the Monarchs this season was 26 yards. Glendale is the only team to have even moderate success rushing against Valley. The Vaqueros gained 137 yards on the ground and handed the Monarchs their only loss, 28-15.

Still, Glendale managed an average of only three yards per attempt. Most coaches would have been thrilled by such an average. Meyers had his Valley defensemen running sprints all week.


Said Glendale Coach Jim Sartoris: “I don’t know if I would say they are the best we’ve played this year--Santa Monica and Pierce played us tough--but I would say that they certainly rate as one of the toughest in the area. I thought they were strong stopping the inside running game, and that immovable object (Greer) was something.”

Only two of the starters on Valley’s defense are freshman--end Danny Duffy and inside linebacker Ron Johnson. Joining Greer and Duffy on the line are tackle Chris Glaze and end John Pennington.

At linebacker, Derrick Sawyer and Marty Steward join Johnson and Watson. The defensive backs are Chris Truitt, Darrell Harts and Arthur Lee White.

Said Ferrero: “I like to have tough kids. I don’t enjoy coaching pampered kids. They are tough mentally.”

While the defense has often been spectacular, Meyers thinks it can get better.

“I think there is always going to be pressure on you to play well every time out,” Meyers said. “But if you like winning, you’re going to try your best. We’ve had our bad plays, series, and quarters, but we’ve not played poorly for an entire game.”

Valley’s defense has scored three touchdowns and two safeties, helping an offense which started slowly.


Although the Monarch offense is averaging 275 yards a game, it still takes a little good-natured ribbing from the players on defense.

“They were kidded a lot at the beginning of the year because they weren’t moving the ball and scoring many points,” Greer said. “But we had our quarterback (Andy Ramos) get hurt in the Glendale game with a knee injury, and we had to bring in Neosia Morris, who was a wide receiver. But he’s done the job and the offensive has come around.”

It is possible, of course, that the offense has improved merely so it can survive a practice session against the defense.

Meyers said it helps that the defensive has faith in what the coaches are telling them.

“The fact that the kids believe in what we are doing for them is important,” he said. “They know that even if we yell at them, we’re doing it because we want to see them get better. That’s why they are willing to give their time, trust and perspiration.”

But just how much better can these guys get?

Well, that’s Mr. Swade’s problem.