Last week, the combination of the hopeful momentum boost of a quarterback change, the continued presence of one of the most effective running backs in the Pacific Conference and the opportunity to break a losing streak against one of the weaker teams in the state added up to nothing more than one of the Glendale Community College football team's most confounding losses yet this season.
The Vaqueros lost freshman signal caller Ki Bae to a dislocated finger in his throwing hand, lost the game, 13-0, to Los Angeles Southwest to remain winless in conference and, adding further insult to injury, lost sophomore running back Collin Keoshian in all probability for today's 6 p.m. conference game against host L.A. Valley. Glendale Coach John Rome expects Keoshian to be suspended by the conference for a hit dished out on the final play against Southwest, but as of press time had yet to hear official word.
If there's any reassurance for the Vaqueros in going into a game back in a state of flux at quarterback and without the centerpiece of their offense, it's probably that they're matching up with a Valley squad that has gone 0-7 with an average margin of loss of more than 25 points.
Then again, the Vaqueros (2-5, 0-4 in conference) are currently looking up in the conference standings at a Southwest team that inhabits the bottom of the state ranks in offense and defense after absorbing last week's loss at much closer to full strength than they will be today.
"We're back to square one with the quarterback position and we've lost one of our better offensive lineman and our best running back," said Rome, who also dismissed starting tackle Steven Escoboza from the squad for a violation of team policy. "Other than that everything is hunky dory.
"One thing we did very well [against Southwest] was control the line of scrimmage defensively. Offensively, we got controlled, they controlled the line of scrimmage on us. We need to control the line of scrimmage on offense and without our big back, that might be very difficult."
Bai hurt his finger in the second quarter and did come back in the game in the fourth quarter Saturday, but freshman Nick Blackmon, who started the first five games of the season before being benched for Bai in the fourth quarter against West L.A. on Oct. 13, has taken all the reps in practice this week, Rome said. Freshman Walter Moctezuma will become the primary ball carrier for the Vaqueros.
Moctezuma, who is second on the team with 193 yards in 45 carries and one touchdown, will look to offset the likely loss of Keoshian, who leads the conference with 132.2 rushing yards per game after piling up 133 on Saturday.
"Our plan is to try and get Walter some space," Rome said. "He might run from spread position a little bit more and he's going to need some space."
While the Vaqueros never got going on offense last week, their defense was solid, keeping Southwest off the scoreboard until midway through the fourth quarter. Valley's offense, which is ranked one spot below Glendale's at 67th in the state, may take on several forms during Saturday's game as the Monarchs continue to tinker away.
"They've run some spread, they've run some power I, they've run some old fashioned Nebraska wing," Rome said. "They're kind of trying to find their personality. They'll run it all against us, I'm quite sure."