In seeking to be more competitive this season, the Glendale Community College football team has risen to the level of its competition against some of the better teams in its American Division Pacific Conference, dropping games narrowly to Antelope Valley and Santa Monica.
Now, the question facing the Vaqueros is how to best prepare for a team that has no obvious strength.
Los Angeles Southwest, which is ranked dead last in the state in offense at 148.4 yards per game and 66th out of 70 in the state in defense in giving up 36.6 points per game, may present a prime opportunity for the Vaqueros to get back on the winning track after suffering three straight losses to fall to 2-4 and 0-3 in conference.
But Glendale Coach John Rome cautioned against overlooking a desperate team that may throw different looks at the Vaqueros over the course of the game, which will be played at 6 p.m. Saturday at L.A. Southwest.
“Of course, you go on tendencies, but you have to play good fundamental football, you have to get better at the elements of the game that transcend any particular formation or any style of offense,” said Rome, whose own 63rd-ranked defense will look to turn a corner after giving up 428 total yards to West Los Angeles last week. “If they’re doing multiple types of offenses because they can’t quite jell, then you have to be fundamentally sound and that’s what we’ve tried to work on.”
Coming off one of its worst losses of the season on Saturday, a 41-6 home setback against West L.A., there may be an element of unpredictability to the Vaqueros’ own offense, as well. Rome has made a quarterback change in favor of freshman Ki Bae, who replaced Nick Blackmon under center late in Saturday’s game and led the Vaqueros’ lone touchdown drive, which he capped himself with a 16-yard run with 1:59 to play.
Saturday will mark the first start of the Bae’s career, as he was a backup at South Pasadena High, as well.
“He’s performed well, he’s very intelligent,” Rome said. “He didn’t play a lot of football in high school, he’s sort of a career backup.
“We didn’t give him much of a shot at being the quarterback in the spring and summer, but he’s one of those kid’s who’s persevered and he gets better every practice. We’re very happy with him.”
Regardless of who is taking the snaps, the ball figures to find its way into the hands of a running back more often than not. Collin Keoshian still leads the conference in rushing with 132.2 yards per game, despite being held under 100 yards rushing on Saturday. Walter Moctezuma should also get some carries after rushing 10 times for 59 yards against West L.A.
But the success of the running game, and offense as a whole, may ultimately come down to how much the Vaqueros’ untested quarterback can influence the game.
“I think with the inability that we had last week to move the ball when they stacked up the defense to stop our run because of inefficient quarterback play, everybody saw a blueprint of how to stop us unless we can get better,” Rome said. “That’s what we spent our time this week trying to improve upon.”