GLENDALE — There was incredible energy surrounding the Glendale Community College football team as the Vaqueros opened the season against Antelope Valley College at Sartoris Field on Saturday.
As the Marauders marched through the Vaqueros’ entrance to warm up on the field, the Glendale players took the gesture to heart.
Though insulted, Glendale was unable to capitalize on its chances on offense and mistakes on the special teams doomed the Vaqueros to a 27-21 loss to Antelope Valley to start the season.
“We gave this game away,” Glendale coach John Rome said. “There were way too many special teams mistakes. Offensively, we left some opportunities. Lots of dropped passes. Missed assignments early, but that’s okay because that happens. Defensively, I thought we could’ve tackled better, but I thought, for the first game out, we did a pretty good job.”
Vaqueros starting quarterback Nathan Eldridge delivered a seven-of-21 passing effort for 91 yards, two touchdown and an interception. Sophomore quarterback Jorge Amaya played much of the fourth quarter, amassing 100 yards and a touchdown on eight-of-15 passing.
“I thought we could’ve been better,” said Rome of his quarterback duo. “I thought Nathan had a nice rhythm. I think getting plays under their belt will make them better. I don’t know if we’ll ever settle on one quarterback, but I know we’ll have two that are capable. I think Nathan, with all the experience under his belt, will continue to get better.”
Glendale receiver Jalen Lawrence registered three touchdown catches in eight receptions for 109 yards. Defensive backs Quran Bouldin, a Hoover High grad, and Christian Alvarez both intercepted passes for the Vaqueros.
“We tried our best and we just did what we had to do,” Lawrence said. “We were already focused on [switching quarterbacks], so we just had to make plays. I’m just trying to get a win for my team.”
The Vaqueros’ opening possession lasted 47 seconds, and the ensuing punt was blocked by Marauders freshman Jaylin Cochran, who returned the ball for the opening score to give Antelope Valley the lead at 14:04 in the first.
“It was a typical first game, probably for both teams,” Antelope Valley coach Perry Jehlicka said. “Like I told our kids, I didn’t like the way we played at times, but I liked the way we played at other times.
“First half, I thought we didn’t play very well, but I was pleased how we kept adjusting. I saw a football team getting better for four quarters, and that’s all you can do in your first game.”
On Glendale’s third drive, running back and St. Francis grad Elijah Washington helped the Vaqueros march down the field to set up Lawrence’s first touchdown catch on a 14-yard throw to tie the game at 7 with 5:23 left in the first.
The Marauders regained the lead with 10:51 remaining in the second quarter on an 82-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Brian Adams to receiver Errius Collins to set up a 14-7 advantage.
Eldridge connected with Lawrence for their second touchdown on a 49-yard throw to tie the game at 14 with 2:40 left in the half.
Antelope Valley took a 17-14 lead with 9:51 remaining in the third on a 29-yard field goal and extended its lead to 24-14 eight minutes later on a 15-yard run.
The Marauders converted another field goal on a 32-yard kick to take a 27-14 lead with 3:33 left in the game.
Lawrence capped the scoring with 16.4 seconds left on a 15-yard touchdown reception down the middle.
Adams completed 15 of 30 passes for 149 yards and a touchdown for the Marauders.