SAN MATEO — That loud smack you heard last season during College of San Mateo football games came when Francis Maka put a hit on somebody on special teams. Like a bull on the streets of Pamplona during that annual run, Maka huffed and puffed and pulverized anyone in his path.

Consequently, Maka, a 6-foot-3, 250-pound linebacker out of Bellarmine Prep, has seen his role grow exponentially this season. He's now a standout on one of the state's top-ranked defenses.

Riding a six-game winning streak that dates to last season, the Bulldogs (3-0), ranked fourth in the state, travel to Saratoga to play West Valley (2-1) in a non-conference game Saturday at 1 p.m.

CSM coach Larry Owens said they built the defense this season around Maka, a fierce outside linebacker and excellent athlete who transferred to CSM after trying to walk-on at the University of Arizona.

"Francis brings toughness to our team," Owens said. "Last year he made the plays on special teams."

Asked about what went wrong at Arizona, Maka said, "I was not doing the job there, and CSM gave me the opportunity to do it better."