Glendale Community College football looks to nab conference win
Football: Vaqueros hope to overcome special teams gaffes at Santa Monica, snap a 10-game losing streak.
Glendale Community College freshman quarterback Sean Murphy is hoping to lead the Vaqueros to a conference road win Saturday at Santa Monica. (Raul Roa/Staff Photographer)
So, when seen-it-all, done-it-all Glendale Community College football Coach John Rome admitted to being part of something different Saturday evening, he was part amazed, part baffled.
“I’ve been a head coach for 36 years and I’ve never seen anything like it,” Rome said of the Vaqueros’ 37-30 home loss to Antelope Valley College on Sept. 28. “I’ve never been a part of four kickoff returns for touchdowns in one game. I don’t know what to say.”
Rome isn’t expecting to see quite the same explosion when his team attempts to snap a 10-game American Division Pacific Conference losing streak Saturday at Santa Monica College at 1 p.m. The Vaqueros’ previous conference win, a 38-17 road victory versus Santa Barbara City College, came on Oct. 29, 2011.
Yet, before Rome could talk about this Saturday, he expelled some demons in regards to last Saturday.
Glendale (2-2 overall, 0-1 in conference) and Antelope Valley (1-2, 1-0) combined for an unbelievable 542 yards on special teams alone last week. Those numbers come in comparison to 470 combined passing yards and 386 yards on the ground.
Unfortunately for Glendale, there was no happy ending, as the final of four spectacular kickoff returns for touchdowns came from the Marauders’ Alexander Byers, who scored a 77-yard touchdown with 1:06 remaining in the game that turned a 30-29 Vaqueros’ lead into a seven-point defeat.
In a season in which the Vaqueros have looked dominant in two victories and shaky in two defeats, the common denominator has been special teams.
“We gave up two returns, so obviously that’s not good, but we also had a mis-snap on an extra point that resulted with a 80-yard return. So, special teams gaffes on our behalf resulted in 21 points,” Rome said of the Antelope Valley defeat.
The Vaqueros also surrendered 15 points directly via special teams in the squad’s 45-18 defeat at San Bernardino Valley College on Sept. 14.
Both performances led to an unusual step from Rome this week as the coach held tryouts for a new kicker of kickoffs.
“Kickoffs are a specialty that we’ve had trouble with over the years. We think we found a guy,” said Rome, who declined to state who the player was. “Hopefully, it will be better this week.”
Yet, Rome contends that the special teams’ miscues masked another negative and positive for Glendale.
“The one thing that’s been killing us has been the dropped passes. Balls that have actually hit receivers’ hands would have resulted in 11 more touchdowns, believe it or not,” said Rome, as his team dropped seven passes Saturday. “Throughout the course of the season, we’ve been able to overcome some and we haven’t others. The drops seem to be more glaring in the losses.”
On the flip side, lost in the fireworks has been a steady defense, which is currently ranked third in the American Division Pacific Conference in allowing 23.8 points per game. The Vaqueros also own conference-best marks in interceptions (11) and sacks (14) are tied for the lead in touchdowns (two) and fumble recoveries (five).
Glendale’s defense aims to make its impact against defending conference champion Santa Monica (2-2, 1-0), which is last in the conference in touchdowns (nine) and points-per-game average (22).
Santa Monica opened conference play with a 32-23 victory at West Los Angeles and the Corsairs have an efficient passer in freshman Steven Hamm, who has completed 39 of 78 passes for 496 passes and three touchdowns in three games.
The Corsairs, though, have struggled on defense this season, having allowed 30.75 points per contest, which is fifth-best in conference.