ACTON — Glendale High football has itself a winning streak.
On the strength of four touchdown passes from quarterback Van Haslett and a huge late sack from Dart Smith, Glendale staved off Vasquez for a 32-27 victory and its first winning streak since 2013.
“This is great, said Haslett, a transfer from La Salle who completed 12 of 25 passes for 229 yards and four touchdowns while also rushing for the game-clinching first down on a two-yard sneak on the final drive. “This is everything I wanted.”
The Nitros (2-1), who are above .500 for the first time since 2011 and for the first time past the first week since 2008, overcame a slow start with 26 second-quarter points and then held off a comeback by the Mustangs (1-3), who lost for the second straight season to Glendale.
“The second quarter we got the momentum and the momentum is a monster,” Haslett said. “We connected on some big plays.”
Big days were aplenty for Glendale, as running back Nate Huiza came on in relief and had 22 carries for 104 yards and a touchdown, receiver Anthony Luna had five catches for 107 yards and three touchdowns, while Jaasiel Santiago had three grabs for 59 yards and a touchdown and also one of three Nitros fumble recoveries on defense.
“We have not one a close one in my time here, so that was a fun one,” Nitros coach George Maiale said. “Those are the best.”
Down, 7-0, going into the second quarter, Glendale scored 26 second-quarter points and held a 26-15 halftime lead. However, it was Haslett’s 10-yard touchdown strike with 5:23 to go in the third quarter that put Glendale up, 32-21, which also stood as the game-winner.
Vasquez scored on a 22-yard Isaiah Calvin (24 carries for 108 yards and three touchdowns) touchdown and the subsequent Calvin two-point run drew the Mustangs within 32-27 with 4:51 to go.
Vasquez recovered the ensuing onside kick, but wasn’t able to put any offense together, thanks in large part to a huge personal foul penalty. Finally, on fourth and 21, Smith produced Glendale’s only sack of the night.
Four plays later, Haslett clinched the game with a fourth-down sneak for a first down.
“Defense pulled through,” Haslett said. “That was incredible.”
Vasquez scored on its first drive of the game via a Calvin four-yard run as the Mustangs were winning the battle at the line of scrimmage regularly.
But Glendale began to take over in the second stanza.
Haslett threw three touchdowns and Joseph Manukian and Santiago fumble recoveries led to touchdowns.
Chris Ibarra also came up with a huge touchdown-saving tackle in the third quarter on a 64-yard Vasquez run. A play later, Tony Alvarez recovered a fumble on the Glendale two-yard line.
Big plays and big performances were aplenty as the Nitros head into Pacific League play with two wins in a row for the first time in a long time.
“It’s incredible,” Maiale said. “Haven’t had this in a longtime.
“I’m happy for these boys, they’ve worked really hard for this.”