VALLEY GLEN — With no reliable passing option at quarterback, the Glendale Community College football team turned to its steady ground attack to try and mount a comeback against L.A. Valley College in its Pacific Conference American Division opener on Saturday night.
With two long fourth-quarter drives consisting solely of running offense and ending in Timothy Broughton touchdowns, the Vaqueros gave themselves a chance to pull out a come-from-behind win, but when your entire arsenal consists of rushing plays, the clock becomes your enemy very quickly.
Time ran out on Glendale, which suffered its fifth straight loss to begin the season, 30-21, despite a continued improvement from its defense and a solid 251 offensive yards on the ground. Joseph Wiggan was the leading rusher for the Vaqueros with 112 yards in 19 carries.
“We’re just missing out on our quarterback and trying to make something out of nothing,” said Broughton, who carried the ball 17 times for 81 yards and two scores. “We were just shorthanded today … and we just tried to move the ball as much as possible.
“Our defense is getting better and better every week. Our tackling is becoming better and our heart is getting bigger and bigger every week. I love our defense, we’re getting better and we’re going to pull out a win soon.”
With starting quarterback Kevin Hunter sidelined by an injury he incurred in last week’s game against Allan Hancock, the Vaqueros turned to backup Darren Orsbern to start the game under center. He didn’t attempt a pass in the first half before giving way to third-stringer Anthony Carter at halftime. Carter failed to complete a pass in four attempts.
“That was probably about two [pass attempts] too many,” Vaqueros Coach John Rome said.
Actually, it was one too many. Carter’s last attempt of the game was intercepted by Valley’s Patrick-Jan Dayao and returned 51 yards to the Vaqueros’ 12-yard line inside the final minute of the third quarter, setting up the Monarchs’ final touchdown of the contest, a 12-yard hookup between quarterback Christian Robertson and Vitale Neemia for a 27-7 lead as the quarter ended.
Robertson is also a backup, forced into action by an injury to starter Dan Owen last week. Robertson completed 13 of 22 attempts for 173 yards and two touchdowns, as the Monarchs also ran the ball heavily, but were held to 135 yards.
Deflating as the interception and subsequent score were, Glendale wouldn’t quit and answered right back with an 80-yard, 11-play drive to pull within 27-14 on Broughton’s two-yard run at the 9:42 mark of the fourth quarter.
Glendale’s defense then forced a three-and-out by Valley, leading to another workmanlike drive, this time for 70 yards, helped out by a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. Broughton cut the lead to 27-21 with a 24-yard burst with 3:49 left to play and a pair of timeouts remaining in the Vaqueros’ back pocket.
The beginning of the end for Glendale’s hope of getting the ball back with a chance to win came when its onside kick was secured by Valley’s James Lupeheke at the Glendale 48-yard line, setting up a Monarchs drive that ended with a 21-yard field goal with 14 seconds on the clock.
“We had to go for the onside kick,” Rome said. “We felt that if we used the two timeouts we had remaining and kicked it deep, they could have killed more clock. With an offense that had to run, we felt we had to get the ball back sooner and give ourselves more of a chance.”
Valley scored the first 14 points of the second half unanswered to take control, but held only a 13-7 lead at halftime after Glendale stopped the Monarchs on four straight plays on its own one-yard line as the first half expired.
“I’m real happy defensively,” Rome said. “I thought we played pretty good and we stopped the long pass plays that had been hurting us.”
Glendale also got an interception in the third quarter from Mario Rodriguez and a big boost on special teams when Osa Aikhionbare returned a punt 67 yards for a 7-0 lead with 3:24 left in the first quarter.
The Vaqueros struggled with field position throughout the first half, beginning three of their five possessions inside their own 20, including two drives that began at the eight- and three-yard lines, respectively.
Aside from Aikhionbare’s kickoff return, each Vaqueros possession ended in a punt, including punts from their own nine- and six-yard lines. The first set up a 65-yard, seven-play drive that saw the Monarchs take a 13-7 lead on a one-yard touchdown run by Michael Johnson with 4:07 to play in the opening half after Valley had pulled to within 7-6 at the 9:39 mark of the second quarter on a two-yard Johnson run.