There is no shortage of positive story lines among the four local teams competing in community college bowl games Saturday.
Diablo Valley (6-4) will host Laney (5-5) in the inaugural East Bay Bowl, the teams' first meeting since 2005. Kickoff is 1 p.m. in Pleasant Hill.
Chabot (6-4), which has earned back-to-back Golden Gate Conference titles for the first time since 1981, heads north to face College of the Siskiyous (9-1) in the NCFA Central Division Bowl at noon in Weed.
Emerging Contra Costa (7-3), the Bay Valley Conference champion, faces Monterey Peninsula (5-5) in the Living Breath Foundation Bowl at 1 p.m. in Monterey.
The Comets have 17 wins overall in coach Alonzo Carter's first three seasons, after they had just three victories in the previous three years combined.
"My biggest goal was to change the mentality of the team: Play smash-mouth offense and good defense," Carter said. "That's old-school Bill Parcells, Jimmy Johnson, that type of stuff. That's our philosophy. Our team doesn't score a bunch of points. We want the game to be ugly."
DVC coach Mike Darr wants the East Bay Bowl to be a beautiful thing for everyone involved.
"What could be better than hosting in the postseason?" Darr said. "It's a great situation to have these schools that are 20-some miles apart finally play each other again. These kids were in middle school the last time these two schools met."
Darr characterized the Vikings' season as bittersweet.
"It's been a real special group that has played incredibly well," he said. "We are literally four plays from being undefeated against some very good teams."
DVC quarterback Quinn Kaehler, the Mid-Empire Conference Offensive MVP, ranks second in the state in yards passing per game (370.4) and touchdowns (36). Three Vikings wideouts made first-team all conference -- Diante Jackson, Andre Lewis and Cameron Rowlan -- among 12 DVC selections. Kyle Kragen is seventh in the state with 11.5 sacks.
Laney, the GGC co-champs with Chabot, boasts defensive back Jamal Mayo, among 10 all-conference picks. When the teams last met, Laney beat DVC 35-24 on October 2005 in the GGC.
Contra Costa clinched the BVC title with a 33-14 win over rival Los Medanos on Nov. 10. Rashad Hall leads the Comets with 1,300 yards rushing. Linebacker Eriquel Florence, the BVC Defensive Player of the Year, led a stout defense with six total sacks and 8.7 tackles a game.
Chabot coach Danny Calcagno, the GGC Coach of the Year, is thrilled to advance this far after starting the season 0-4.
"I thought the kids did a pretty good job of showing resolve and staying with it and rallying up," Calcagno said.
Calcagno gives high marks to his offensive coaches Nick Goulet and Neal Fromson. Quarterback Brandyn Eckhart emerged from a slow start to complete 70 percent of his passes over the final three games. Casey Jennings had 48 receptions. Hunter Rockwell (727 yards) and Asante McCrae (553) paced the running game.