SAN BERNARDINO — In a contest littered with big plays on offense and defense, special teams was the downfall of the Glendale Community College football team Saturday evening.
The Vaqueros had two field goals blocked, missed two extra points, while a botched punt led to another score as a close game turned into a blowout and a 45-18 win for San Bernardino Valley College at Wolverines Stadium in a game that lasted 3 hours and 37 minutes.
Glendale (1-1) trailed only 14-6 entering the third quarter and took advantage of a missed onside kick attempt from the Wolverines (2-0) to advance to the 13 before being turned away on a third and four.
On the subsequent play, Vaqueros kicker Dan Blackford, who had converted two previous field goals in the game, had a 30-yard attempt blocked with 12:31 left in the second half.
A little more than two minutes later, Blackford was given a second chance after Glendale defensive back Jaelan Rising-Barnwell recovered a Wolverines’ fumble at the Glendale 32.
Glendale advanced 22 yards before Blackford came on for a chip shot that was unexpectedly blocked by Steffan Kirkland, which gave the Wolverines possession at their 34 after a short return.
Despite the gaffes, the Vaqueros’ defense forced a punt.
However, the defensive victory turned into a special teams defeat when the punt was botched at the 22 and rolled all the way back to Glendale’s four-yard line, where San Bernardino recovered.
On the very next play, Kirkland cashed in with a four-yard score that put the Wolverines up, 21-6, with 9:16 remaining.
The touchdown was the first of three for Kirkland, who scored again from four yards out with 5:46 left in the third to put San Bernardino ahead, 28-6.
The freshman running back’s final score came from nine yards out with 12:15 left in the game to put the Wolverines ahead, 35-12.
San Bernardino added on two more scores, first on a two-yard plunge from Antawuan Jones with 6:39 left in the game and later on a 25-yard field goal at 1:56 that finalized the 45-18 score.
Glendale tallied a couple of scores in the second half with two touchdown passes from freshman quarterback Sean Murphy (30 for 59 for 271 yards) to William Fennessy of 17 and 19 yards, the second coming with 9:39 left in the fourth to bring the score within 35-18. The extra-point attempts were missed after both touchdowns.
Despite a combined 418 yards of offense in the first half, San Bernardino maintained a 14-6 lead at the half.
The Wolverines scored two touchdowns sandwiched between Vaqueros’ field goals.
San Bernardino took its first lead, 7-3, after a three-yard touchdown plunge from Jones with 9:37 left in the second quarter.
The Wolverines’ second score was of the more spectacular variety when quarterback Collin Willis rolled left and connected with wide receiver Darian Barrientos-Jackson in the back of the end zone for a 39-yard strike with 1:15 left in the half to put the host team up, 14-3.
Glendale took possession after the score and kickoff at its 31 with 59 seconds left and moved quickly thanks to 31 rushing yards from Marquise McGuire.
Murphy then connected with receiver Jerome Davis for an 18-yard reception that set up a 37-yard field goal from Blackford as time expired.
Blackford initially put the Vaqueros ahead, 3-0, with 14:58 left in the second quarter on a 22-yard field goal.
While San Bernardino moved the ball to the tune of 229 yards of offense, the Vaqueros defense tallied big plays to squash drives.
The Wolverines marched to the Vaqueros’ 10-yard line on their first two drives, only to be turned away on consecutive turnover on downs, the second a fake field goal sniffed out on a tackle by sophomore linebacker Noche Nwofer.
Vaqueros defensive back Nathan Weston intercepted Willis at the Glendale 15 with 7:12 left in the second quarter.