De Anza football fall 2022 season recap: New coach lights a spark


Andrea Saldana

De Anza College is on the offensive side at the line of scrimmage. They played the Foothill College Owls at the Saturday game on Nov. 19.

Michael Marowelli, Staff Reporter

The De Anza College football team went undefeated in the month of September with a 4-0 record. However, after beating the Yuba College 49ers in week seven, the ship started to sink, and they finished the season 5-5.

Compared to last season, they finished with a three-win increase, compared to  2-8 last year. De Anza’s total scoring increased from last year to this year, from 196 total points to 254, as well as yards per game, from 306 to 365.

The Mountain Lions’ first month was a success as they cruised past Cabrillo College (24-0), Gavilan College (56-21), San Jose City College (29-13) and Hartnell College (27-7) before losing to Los Medanos College by a score of 35-20.

Jason Hawkins, 13, wide receiver for the De Anza College team, dodging the Foothill defensive tackle on Nov. 19. Hawkins is currently a freshman. (Andrea Saldana)

23-year-old De Anza defensive lineman Sosefo Moeki, a business administration major, said his favorite moment of the season was playing against San Jose City College. 

“They beat us (at De Anza) last year. And we played with only about 30 guys last year due to COVID reasons,” Moeki said. “And when San Jose City College came out with a brand new field, they had a big ceremony and we were the first ones to play on the new field and we were the first ones to beat them. So it felt good, just to go back and not necessarily get revenge, but also just to get that one back from last year.”

Coming off their bye week after losing to Los Medanos, De Anza had a dominating win over Yuba College, 38-14. In that game, De Anza’s quarterback Antevious Jackson,18, business major,  threw for 306 yards and four touchdowns, while running back Chabo Wright rushed for 150 yards and a touchdown.

Foothill Owls running back Deston Hawkins steps across the end zone line, scoring the team’s second touchdown of the game. (Grayson Kunz)

Unfortunately, after this win against Yuba, De Anza’s winning season fell apart.

De Anza, after starting 5-1, went on a four game losing streak, finishing 5-5. 21-year-old wide receiver Steven Alaniz, a psychology major, talked about the team’s mindset and what the team was thinking during the four-game losing streak.

“The main focus of the team during the four-game losing streak was how we can bounce back and really revitalize (the team) and bring back the winning culture that we had in the beginning of the season,” Alaniz explained. “So we really wanted to focus on minimizing mistakes, penalties and those types of errors, and really just kind of talking as a collective unit and just understanding, ‘we need to bounce back and finish the season the way we started it.’”

De Anza’s head football Coach Joe D’Agostino explained a new milestone for the team under his tenure throughout the 2022 season.

“There were areas of success. When I got here, they had just gone 2-8, so to go from that to 5-5 in the same conference playing against the same teams shows a lot of heart,” D’Agostino said. “There’s room for improvement but winning three more games shows there was a lot of improvement.”

Jackson had a good season, said Coach D’Agostino. Jackson, as a freshman, came in and won the starting job, and completed 66.8% of his passes, throwing for 2,141 yards with 23 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. 

“He had a good year for sure.” D’Agostino said. “He finished top 10 in the conference in passing touchdowns. Unfortunately he got injured and missed 2.5 games because he suffered a scary neurological injury. There’s still room for improvement but he had a good year.”

De Anza and Foothill football players run to tackle each other and capture the ball during the football game at Foothill College on Nov. 19. (Saira Ahmed)

On the defensive side of the ball, Moeki stood out the most, statistically, for the Mountain Lions. Moeki racked up 37 total tackles and 6.5 sacks, which benefited him as he received First Team All Conference. 

This was Sosefo’s first year as a defensive tackle after switching from Linebacker. “I think I’ve made a lot of progress just being a first-year defensive lineman,” Sosefo said.

According to Coach D’Agostino, Sosefo has multiple Division 1 offers to play defensive tackle, ranging from University of Nevada Reno to San Jose State University, after this season’s performance.

Both coaches and players are excited for the upgraded weight room facilities De Anza will have during the off season, and returning players will now have the opportunity to further grow and improve.

Keshawn Noriega, 21, linebacker for the De Anza College Mountain Lions, pushing a Foothill College player on Saturday, Nov. 19. (Andrea Saldana)