CULVER CITY — The Glendale Community College football team started on the right foot in its American Metro Conference opener against West Los Angeles College at West Los Angeles Field on Saturday afternoon.
Behind their galloping running backs, the Vaqueros did what they could with two injured starting receivers out of commission. But the road map didn’t prepare them for four faulty trips to the red zone on seven possessions.
Glendale college scored only one touchdown on those red zone opportunities, as West L.A. tallied four second-half touchdowns to come from behind to register a 34-12 win.
“When you find a weakness, you can exploit it [and] your defense makes stops by recognition rather than by design,” Glendale coach John Rome said. “So [West L.A.] was realizing ‘hey, they’re going to run here and they’re hurting us, so this is probably where they’re going to go.’”
The Vaqueros (0-5) concerted two field goals, a 38-yarder and a 32-yard effort on two of their other red zone appearances before fumbling the ball on their final appearance with 6:19 left.
“We just have to regroup and try to get a win,” Rome said. “To talk, right now, about conference or anything else other than the first play of our next game is ridiculous. We have to get better. We have to tackle well. We’re not blocking well. We’re misfiring on our special teams.”
Vaqueros running back Adayus Robertson had 112 yards in 19 carries and teammate Daniel Torres totaled a team-high 121 on 19 carries. Quarterback Nathan Eldridge added 64 yards on eight rushes and completed eight of 21 passes for 58 yards.
The Vaqueros aerial game struggled with receivers Tyree O’Neil and Christopher Lee missing due to injury.
“We just tried to spread the ball around today,” Robertson said. “We’re hoping to get some key players back and hoping to keep working our hardest and just grind it out.
“We really think we can win conference and we expected to win this game, but we’re going to go back home, watch film, correct some mistakes and come back hard for the next game.”
Glendale college ate up most of the first quarter on its first and only possession of the frame.
Behind a solid ground effort from Torres and Robertson that equaled 41 yards, the Vaqueros moved down to the West L.A. 20. Despite great field position, Eldridge threw two incompletions, which forced Glendale college to settle on a 38-yard field goal from Cresccenta Valley High product Chris Wood that gave the it a 3-0 lead with 3:43 left in the first.
The Vaqueros defense continued to overwhelm the Wildcats on West L.A.’s second drive, which only lasted four plays before they punted.
Glendale college’s run game still dominated on its second drive that lasted 20 plays and took up nearly 13 minutes. Robertson, Torres and Eldridge marched 70 yards down the field before the Vaqueros capped the scoring run with a half-yard quarterback sneak, but a missed the PAT to make it a 9-0 with 2:29 in the half left.
The Wildcats (1-4) continued their short time on offense on their third possession, but they made the Vaqueros pay this time. West L.A. quarterback Devon Shay made three, quick and lengthy passes to three receivers to position the Wildcats on the Glendale 4-yard line, where running back Christian Williams cleaned things up and cut the Glendale lead to 9-7 heading into halftime.
Both teams punted on their first possessions of the second half before 32-yard field goal by the Vaqueros that made it 12-7.
“That was a little bit of a sin on us as coaches,” Rome said. “But on our offense, we just need to finish drives and to get the ball into the red zone.”
The Wildcats scored 27 unanswered points after the Vaqueros field goal — three of which came from rotating quarterback Markell White on runs of one, five and 10 yards.
His 10-yard score was a response to the Glendale college field goal and put West L.A. on top, 14-12, midway into the third quarter.
A muffed snap on a punt attempt cost Glendale college, giving West L.A. a spot at the Vaqueros’ 15 with 5:40 to go in the frame. The Wildcats ran a pair of ground plays before White snuck in for his second touchdown with a one-yard score to make it 21-12 with 4:02 remaining in the third.
West L.A. regained possession late in the third, but waited until 12:13 in the final quarter to give White his third touchdown and a 27-12 Wildcats lead.