The Glendale Community College football team had no business being so
close to West L.A. after the first quarter of Saturday's Western
State Conference Southern Division game.
The Vaqueros had minus-24 yards of total offense in the opening 15
minutes and didn't record a first down until the second quarter. But
they trailed by two at the end of the first quarter and were down by
just five at halftime.
Fortunately for GCC, it had Evgeni Mameev and the Oilers lacked an
offense, for the most part.
Despite mustering 31 yards of total offense through two quarters,
GCC prevailed with a 17-15 victory at Culver City High to improve to
2-2, 1-1 in the division.
Vaquero Coach John Cicuto explained GCC's resurgence in the second
half this way.
"All of a sudden we started to make things happen," he said. "They
got confident and they got excited."
And they turned to quarterback Steve Martinez, who did just what
GCC offensive coordinator John Rome wanted, and that was to sustain
Martinez, a freshman from L.A. Wilson High, replaced a struggling
Kenneth McDaniel in the third quarter and quickly went to work.
Chris Berroud's 14-yard touchdown run with 14:28 left in the
fourth quarter gave GCC an 11-8 lead. Berroud had minus-three yards
rushing in four carries in the first half, but the sophomore finished
with 93 yards in 20 carries.
"We all came together," Berroud said. "In the first half, we were
all unfocused and we brought it together in the second half."
GCC opted to kick the ball to Oiler speedster Solomon Jones on the
ensuing kickoff, and the Vaqueros almost lost the game because of
their decision. Jones returned the kickoff 85 yards for a touchdown,
as West L.A. retook the lead.
"I should have squibbed kick," Cicuto said. "That was my fault."
Mameev helped the Vaqueros redeem themselves.
His 32-yard field goal, his third of the day, with 2:10 remaining
provided the game's final score, and GCC's defense took care of the
The Vaqueros forced the Oilers to turn the ball over on downs on
their final drive.
"For four weeks in a row, our defense has met the challenge," said
Cicuto, whose team allowed 252 yards of total offense.
Martinez certainly met the challenge, as well. He completed five
of seven passes for 86 yards.
"Coach just told me to stay ready the whole game," Martinez said.
"I knew there was a chance I was going to go in.
"I was just trying to keep the chain moving and keep [our] defense
off the field."
Cicuto said Martinez will replace McDaniel as the starting
quarterback when the Vaqueros play East L.A. at 1 p.m. Saturday at