Sabatella leads GCC honorees

GLENDALE — Though the Glendale Community College football team didn’t qualify for the postseason for a second consecutive year, several of its players caught the attention of coaches throughout the Northern Conference’s National Division.

The Vaqueros, who finished 3-7 and 1-5 in the competitive division this season under first-year Coach John Rome, had six players pick up postseason accolades. One secured first-team honors, while the other five were selected to the second team.

“We feel fortunate,” Rome said. “It’s always nice to be recognized.

“We were a couple of plays away from being 6-4, and that probably would have put us second in conference.”

Sophomore offensive tackle Nick Sabatella, a St. Francis High graduate, was named to the conference’s first team. Sabatella provided leadership up front and helped open up holes for the Vaqueros running backs.

Sabatella wasn’t sure at first if his body work would merit such honors.

“I came in hoping to improve my play because I knew there was room for improvement,” Sabatella said. “It means a lot to me to be honored by the coaches.”

Rome said he often relied on Sabatella to help jump start the Vaqueros’ line.

“Nick is a very intelligent player who came here and earned a starting position,” Rome said. “He made the calls on the line, and he’s technically sound as a blocker.”

Sophomore offensive guard Marc Valdez and freshman Nick Bryant were named to the second-team offensive unit.

Like Sabatella, Valdez played a key role in anchoring the Vaqueros’ line by providing the necessary protection for the team’s running backs and quarterbacks.

Bryant, a wide receiver/H-back, was named the second team’s all-purpose player. He rushed for 280 yards in 23 carries and one touchdown.

“We knew we could use Nick just about anywhere,” Rome said. “We had to because he never left the field.”

Freshman Josh Stangby and sophomores Michael Klintworth and James Antaplyan were named to the conference’s second-team defense after turning in respectable numbers for the Vaqueros, who moved to the Northern Conference after years of participating in the Western State Conference’s Southern Division.

Stangby proved to be a workhorse for the Vaqueros, as he performed well on special teams. Stangby had 20 kick returns for 400 yards. Plus, he had 13 rushes for 178 yards and three touchdowns. He finished with six tackles and 683 all-purpose yards.

“Josh did a great job for us,” Rome said. “He didn’t let the ball hit the ground, and we have high expectations for him next year.”

Klintworth and Antaplyan routinely led the Vaqueros on defense.

Klintworth, a defensive end, had 45 tackles in nine games. He collected 25 solo tackles.

Antaplyan, a cornerback, notched 40 tackles and a pair of interceptions. He finished with 25 solo tackles.

“Michael is undersized compared to others in our conference,” Rome said. “He represents what we like our program to be characterized by.

“We recruited James as a wide receiver, then we started him at defense. He’s the best defensive back we’ve had game in and game out in years.”

College of the Canyons’ Hayo Carpenter and Marquis Jackson were named the conference’s offensive and defensive players of the year, respectively. The Cougars captured the division title, going 5-0.


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