The Glendale Community College football team will start the 2011 season the same way it did the last one, in a matchup with Pasadena City College.
Whatever the Vaqueros learned about the Lancers from that meeting, which resulted in a 41-20 loss, may not mean much in preparing for the rematch today at 6 p.m. at PCC's Robinson Field.
Having installed Coach Fred Fimbres, PCC's fifth head man in the last seven seasons, less than two months ago, the Lancers are a program coming off a 4-6 season in a state of flux with less than half of their 2010 roster returning.
Then again, as third-year Glendale Coach John Rome sees it, flux could aptly describe the state of his own program from any given season to another.
"Every year in junior college changes," Rome said. "We have such a huge transfer-turnover rate, really more than 50% of your team is new [every fall]."
Aside from the usual turnover on the field and some reshuffling within Rome's staff, the Vaqueros have made some key changes from last season, in which they suffered through a 1-9 campaign with a 1-5 record in the Pacific Conference's American Division.
Sophomore quarterback Kevin Hunter will take over the reins of the offense after spending most of last season as a backup and will get his first test against a Lancers defense that ranked 28th in Southern California in total defense, one spot above the Vaqueros.
"He's picking up stuff a lot faster this year, he's taken a big leap in responsibility and knowing how to audible and what not," Vaqueros right guard Ronnie Marquez said. "He's just understanding the offense that much better."
The running game, spearheaded by returner Omar Barrera-Sanchez, will figure heavily in Rome's plan of attack against the Lancers' defense that surrendered just over 151 yards on the ground per game last year.
"Defensively, we know they have a new coordinator and we don't know exactly what he will do," Rome said.
Middle linebacker Grant Haggard and defensive lineman Khambrel Gomez are PCC's top returners on defense.
The Vaqueros' new-look 4-3 front will get its first test against a Lancers team that will likely run the same basic offensive formation as last year that that ranked ninth in Southern California in passing and 18th in total offense.
"We expect for them offensively to be much like they were last year," Rome said. "We need to get aligned correctly and make sure the defense is fit to the offensive formation. That's the first thing we have to be able to do."
St. Francis High graduate Justin Posthuma figures to get the start at quarterback for the Lancers.
"I think he's a tremendous athlete and an extremely intelligent young man with great leadership skills," Rome said. "We expect him to play absolutely at his best game."
Wayne Peters is the Lancers' top returning receiver from a passing attack that averaged 251 yards per game.
Last year, the Vaqueros' loss to the Lancers in the season opener was the onset of a nine-game losing streak.
The Lancers also have a bitter taste left from last season, as a hot 4-0 start was forgotten behind a six-game slide to round out the schedule for a last-place finish in the Southern Conference National Division.