Football kicking off with Spring Game

Mt. SAC football team at practice
By Greg MacDonald

May 22, 2024 - 12:36 AM

While many on campus are studying for finals, planning end-of-the-year celebrations, or registering for 2024 Summer Intersession classes, the Mt. SAC football team is gearing up to officially kick off its 2024-25 campaign with its 2024 Spring Game on Thursday, May 30.

“We are working to make it an event that will be fun for the whole family,” Offensive Line Coach Phill Ramirez said. “The Mt. SAC DJs will be there to keep the energy up. We will also have a food truck that will be selling taco plates. Our Mt. SAC football official merchandise will be available to purchase, and we will have a photo booth available for our students, fans, and alumni to take pictures to commemorate the day.

“It will be a day our fans and alumni will be happy they attended.”

The team’s returning and new talent will be showcased at the intersquad event, which starts when gates open at 2:30 p.m. and the game action begins at 3 p.m. at the flex field just south of Hilmer Lodge Stadium. Mt. SAC football fans old and new are in for a treat, Ramirez said.

“The community and the fans should expect to see some of the most talented community college athletes in the country compete in a way that represents the college, their families, and the community that will bring them pride,” said Ramirez, who also is a recruiting coordinator for the program. “Our student-athletes are excited to show the community and our fans all the hard work they have been putting in during the offseason.

“Our entire team is working hard every day to be the absolute best they can be. (But) a few players have stood out so far during spring practices.”

The players who Coach Ramirez highlights to watch are:

  • Juan Salas, a safety who was the leading tackler on last year’s team.
  • Julian Lopez, a returning linebacker who is stepping into a starting role.
  • Darien Jackson, a run-stuffing and QB-pressuring defensive lineman who transferred in from Black Hills State.
  • Sammy Green, a running back that amassed over 1,000 yards of total offense on last season’s team.
  • Art Avila, the lone returning starting offensive lineman who helped the team run for over 3,000 yards last year.
  • Conner May, a tight end who is transferring in from Riverside Community College.

“As a starter on last season’s State Championship team, Conner not only brings a lot of talent, but he also brings a lot of experience to a tight end room that will play a significant role in our offense,” Ramirez said. “Conner was a local standout from Damien High School who we are excited to have a part of the Mt. SAC football family.”

 The new tight end on the team is also excited to get the ball rolling on the season.

“I can’t wait to play in the spring game,” said May, who was part of the Riverside team that upset Mt. SAC in the Southern California Football Association playoffs last year, 51-48. “It’s going to be high energy and a contact-filled game. Both the offense and defense are going to come out hot, and it’s going to be a battle out there.

“The fans should expect to see a fun game that showcases all out players’ talents and how hard we have been working in the offseason. It will be a competitive game to watch!”

Regardless of how the spring game unfolds, the players will be making the next step in a storied path many others have taken.

“We want the Mt. SAC student body and the community to know that their football team is one that has a long tradition of not only winning football but also preparing student-athletes who have gone on to do remarkable things on and off the football field,” Ramirez said. “Men like Superbowl Champion Bruce Irvin, starting running back for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Rachaad White, and the head coach for the Las Vegas Raiders Antonio Pierce.

“We want the students and the community to know that if they come to a Mt. SAC football game, they will not only see outstanding and competitive football, but they may also see (a future) pro football star right in their own backyard.”

For more information on the Mt. SAC football program, visit or call (909) 274-4630.