GLENDALE — In its previous game, the Glendale Community College football program accomplished the task of ending its 11-game American Division Pacific Conference losing streak with a comeback win on the road versus West Los Angeles College. Going into its game Saturday hosting Los Angeles Southwest College, the Vaqueros had a chance to start a streak going in the positive direction.
That prospect looked dicey out of the gate at Sartoris Field as Glendale spotted the visiting Cougars an early advantage, but then the Vaqueros clamped down on defense and exploded on offense to blow out L.A. Southwest, 54-9, to record consecutive conference victories, move above .500, and double its overall win total from last season.
“This is good group of young men and they play each game one at a time,” Glendale Coach John Rome said. “We have a quote: ‘Everybody wants to win Saturday, but who wants to win starting Monday?’ This group wants to win Monday. We come out and we practice hard all week.”
GCC (4-3, 2-2) was down, 9-0, just 3:15 into the game, but then shut the Cougars (1-6, 0-4) out the rest of way while scoring 41 of its season-high 54 points before halftime. The Vaqueros defense held the ground-based Cougars attack in check, limiting them to a 2.8-yard average on 47 rushing attempts and limiting the visitors’ passing to 48 total yards while sacking the Southwest quarterbacks seven times. Sophomore Noche Nwofer led the way with six tackles and three first-half sacks.
“We’re showing everyone what we are capable of,” Nwofer said. “We’re trying to put this conference and this school on notice that we are here and we play football.”
Glendale’s offense produced a balanced ratio between run and pass, amassing 570 total yards split almost down the middle with 292 rushing and 278 passing, highlighted by quarterback Sean Murphy’s four touchdown passes.
“Offensively, we kept the pressure on,” Rome said, “and defensively, even without a lot of turnovers, they played very, very well. They stopped the run. We stopped what [the Cougars] do best. I’m proud of our defense. I’m proud of our offense for running the ball.”
It was the ability of the offensive line and a stable of Vaqueros running backs to gain yards that opened up the passing lanes and paved the way for the dominant victory. Marquise McGuire led his team in both rushing and receiving. The freshman ran 12 times for 85 yards and a touchdown and hauled in three passes for 100 yards and another score.
Markel Mays carried the ball 10 times for 81 yards. Brandon Foley was not far behind, finishing with 14 carries for 72 yards and three scores.
The Vaqueros got their first points on the board with 10:20 left in the first when Murphy threw a 12-yard scoring pass to tight end Tanner Mays. The Vaqueros pulled ahead for good on Murphy’s second touchdown of the first quarter, which went to William Fennessy from eight yards out. The home team led, 13-9, after the first quarter.
Glendale blew the game open in the second quarter, scoring touchdowns on each of its four possessions for a 28-point frame and a 41-9 advantage at the break. The first touchdown was a three-yard run by McGuire that capped a 56-yard, seven-play drive, all of which were runs.
The next two scores came from Foley from eight and two yards out, respectively.
The final score of the half came in the final minute when McGuire broke coverage and caught a 34-yard pass from Murphy. After the break, GCC kept it going, extending its touchdown streak to five straight possessions when Murphy connected with Isaiah Bernard for a 37-yard score on the opening possession of the third quarter.
Murphy would give way to backup Brian Ponce two possessions later after Foley ran it in from two yards for the final touchdown of the contest with 6:23 left in the third. Murphy finished 16 of 30 for 278 yards, the four scores and no interceptions.
“The O-line made some great, great blocks, letting the running backs get through and do what they do best,” Murphy said.
The Vaqueros will look to extend their American Division Pacific Conference winning streak to three games next week when they host Los Angeles Valley College.
“We’ve got the best defense in the conference and we showed it today,” Nwofer said. “Our offense picked up and we’re on the way to be the best too. So we’ve just got to take one game at a time. This game is over, so now we’ve got to focus on LA Valley, protect home turf.”