The record was nothing to write home to Mom about. After all, at 2-7, you’d think it was “back to the drawing board” for the University of La Verne gridders.
But there are three individuals on the 1981 club who think differently. Surprisingly, they are not even overly concerned about this year’s efforts.
They go by “Freddy’s Group.” Or to be more specific, Fred Gomeztrejo, Mark Sankey and Jim Langley. The group makes up three fourths of the La Verne defensive secondary.
“There’s really nothing to feel that bad about,” said Gomeztrejo. “We just do our job every week and have some fun. Sure we goof around, but when it comes down to business, we get the job done.”
The group started at season’s outset when Defensive Coordinator Rex Huigens called for the starting defensive secondary by announcing “Okay, give me ‘Freddy’s Group’ on the field.”
“The first time I heard it,” said Sankey, “I didn’t know what was going on. But the name stuck and before you know it, we had T-shirts.”
And why do only these three make up the select group?
“Our interests are the same,” said Langley. “A lot of guys on this team don’t put football first, but we do. During last summer we started to get things ready for the upcoming year.”
The clan thinks of themselves as the best in the SCIAC conference .
“You know you are good when you can go into a barber shop and see a guy reading the paper with your name in the headlines,” commented Sankey.
Sankey was talking about an incident Gomeztrejo was involved in earlier this year when he went to get his hair cut and saw his name displayed in the headlines of the San Gabriel Valley Tribune sports section.
“I don’t think there’s any doubt that we are the best secondary in the conference,” said Langley. The other offenses respect us the most.”
Sankey agreed with his teammate, adding, “We don’t get help underneath from our linebackers as other teams might. Our defensive formation puts a lot of pressure on the secondary, but that’s the way we like it.”
The group, by far, did not portray a loving style during its weekly games. If someone did not perform as expected, he was indeed told by the other two.
“We’re all good friends. But on the field, when the other guy does something wrong, he gets kicked in the ass hard,” said Gomeztrejo.
Each of the three patterns himself after a certain personality in the National Football League. Gomeztrejo likes Gary Fencik of the Chicago Bears because of his aggressiveness. Sankey picks Mike Haynes of the New England Patriots for his consistency. And Langley chooses Charlie Waters of the Dallas Cowboys because “he was so slow at cornerback, they (the Cowboys) had to move him to the safety position.
Gomeztrejo, the only senior of the group, com pares this secondary to former groups in the past.
“It’s not as talented as say when we had Bruce Hines, Paul Reed and Ronnie Levise. But this group has more fun. We blend together very well.
“I’m going to really miss playing at La Verne, but hopefully, I can catch on with a team like the Orange County Rhinos,” he said.
Will this group continue without its leader?
“I don’t know, we’ll just have to wait and see,” Sankey said.
Only time will tell, but just don’t be surprised if next year Huigens is going around practice sessions yelling for “Mark’s Group.”