Four victories and a bowl berth are not good enough for the Modesto Junior College football team.
The Pirates insist there will be no sharing of the Golden Gate Conference title.
They're confident they will go undefeated in league by beating their final GGC opponent, West Valley, in today's 1 p.m. game in Saratoga.
West Valley tasted victory for the first time last week, beating Hartnell 54-18.
"We have to win," defensive lineman Jeremy White said. "We have to be the undisputed champions. We can't have people looking at us saying we're only the conference co-champs."
Modesto (5-4, 4-0 GGC) clinched at least a share of the GGC title last week in a 43-34 victory over Diablo Valley. It also assured itself of an appearance in its own Graffiti Bowl on Nov. 17, likely against the winner of the Mid-Empire Conference.
Laney (8-1, 4-0 MEC) and Merced (4-5, 3-1 MEC) play for that honor today at Merced at 1 p.m. Laney beat Modesto 34-28 in last year's Graffiti Bowl.
Modesto already knows how it feels to be a conference champion. It would be the first MJC team in 27 years to win a title outright, with three co-championships coming in the 1990s.
Head coach Sam Young said the team has kept everything the same this week. There was no excessive celebrating the Diablo Valley victory and all it meant. At Monday's practice it was back to business for a team whose quest isn't quite over.
"We want to finish on a high note," Young said. "The players are aware this is something that doesn't happen every day. We're not looking ahead."
Defensive lineman Shawn Turner is savoring the championship feeling, which is still sinking in. He played at Downey High, winning just one game in his varsity career.
"It feels good to play for a winning team," Turner said. "It feels good to know I had something to do with it."
Turner has 10 tackles and an interception this year. He said Modesto needed its non-conference games, in which it went 1-4, for a young defensive unit to come together.
The Pirates' defense took its lumps early, allowing 40 points or more in each of Modesto's four losses. Only one GGC team has scored 40 points on Modesto -- Chabot, in a 63-40 Modesto victory on Oct. 27.
"In the beginning of the year, we had a lot of new guys coming in who didn't know the defense that great," Turner said. "Things started picking up when we became one."