With four league championships and two national championships under their belt since 2008, expectations are always high for the Pacifica Islanders and 2016 is no different.
The Pacific Coast Football League is already two weeks underway and to no surprise the Islanders are sitting at 2-0, heading into this weekend’s PCFL Game of the Week against the Capital City Fury.
Most recently, Marshawn Lynch was in attendance to watch the Islanders knock off the Solano Chiefs 29-6 at home to follow up a 44-0 week one road win against the Southbay Eagles.
“I’d say we are a defensive team,” Islanders owners Brian Martinez told DFUSA. “Over the years, we’ve always had strong defense. There have been years where we’ve had a strong offense though too. We always seem to have a strong running game. We’ve always had a really good offensive line and good running backs.”
The primary strength of the Islanders defense is their very strong secondary, led by 6-foot, 185-pound safety Roman Runner and 5-foot-9, 190-pound cornerback Paki Gordon.
“He’s always been a terror in the league,” Martinez said of Gordon. “The last two seasons, around week eight or nine, (Runner) had left to play professional ball in Europe and has been real successful over there. He’s a real standout.”
Another star leads the group of linebackers in 6-foot-3, 260-pounder Tony Barnes.
“He moved and played for a team in Sacramento last year, “Martinez said. “He’s still living there, but he’s just going to drive back and forth.”
Offensively the Islanders are led by 6-foot-3, 195-pound quarterback Myles Gates who led them to a national championship in 2011, defeating teams from Georgia, Washington and other states in the process.
“He’s been playing professional ball in Europe,” Martinez said. “He played for a team in Serbia called the Belgrade Wolves. They made it to the European equivalent of the Super Bowl last year. They ended up losing that game, but Myles played a heck of a game.”
Offense and defense can only get a team so far because special teams are also such a vital part of a successful team. Luckily for the Islanders, they have a star in that phase of the game too.
“Our punter Brian Powers was a scholarship punter at Ole Miss and he’s led the league in punting every year and is a fantastic athlete,” Martinez said. “He’s a backup quarterback, a backup kicker, and a great part of our team.”
Since their inception in 2008, Pacifica has seen several stars with very impressive football resumes wear their colors.
“We had a running back who played for the Kansas City Chiefs named Jamar Julien, who was out of San Jose State,” Martinez said. “When he got out of the NFL, his uncle was playing for us, so when he moved back to the bay area his uncle told him about him and he came out. He spent a number of years with us and obviously it was great to have a running back with NFL experience.
“Directly after him, we got a running back fresh out of UCLA named Jason Harrison. He was a fantastic athlete and running back. They were two of the best I’ve seen at this level. They even overlapped for a short time.”
This caliber of player has helped the Islanders have consistent success for several years.
“In 2008, we were named national champions by Minor League Football News and Minor League Football Association,” Martinez said. “Minor League News didn’t have a game for the championship, it was more of a poll. The Minor League Football Association had games and there were 10-12 leagues from across the nation that were a part of that. We beat a team from El Paso, Texas. to win the MLFA national championships.
“Then in 2011, Minor League News started hosting a championship game and we beat a team from Georgia to be named champions by them and then two weeks later we played in the Minor League Football Association championship against a team from Washington State and beat them as well.”
After winning national titles in 2008 and 2011 and winning their league in 2008, then three consecutive years from 2011-2013, the Islanders fell just short of another title last year against the North Bay Rattlers. It’s a new year now and Pacifica is already on track to have another successful season.
— Pacifica Islanders (@PacIslanders) March 22, 2016