MOORPARK — At the end of a nonconference football game between Moorpark College and Glendale Community College, Vaqueros head coach John Rome sat his team in the end zone and addressed the squad about playing the second half with much more emotion than the first.
“It was more fun, wasn’t it?” said Rome, as the team concurred. “Revel in it. Enjoy it.”
In the first half, the Vaqueros amassed just 35 yards of offense and had possession for just 8 minutes, 47 seconds, as the Raiders scored five unanswered touchdowns.
Though Glendale picked it up its offense and shut out Moorpark in the second half, the Vaqueros were too far behind and fell, 34-7, at Griffin Stadium on Saturday to drop their third consecutive game to start the season.
“That was the whole gist of the post-gamespeech,” Rome said. “They played with no emotion in the first half. They have to play the whole game with emotion and it takes a lot out of you if you’re not used to doing that. It’s still football at the college and you have to be vested emotionally to hold that intensity for 60 minutes.”
In the first quarter, the Moorpark defense held Glendale to five offensive yards and intercepted Vaqueros starting quarterback Nathan Eldridge. The Raiders’ offense also scored on its opening drive on a trick play that culminated in a 14-yard touchdown pass.
In contrast, the Vaqueros’ only scoring drive spanned 8:11 across the final two quarters on 22 plays. Sophomore quarterback Jorge Amaya engineered the offense 80 yards down the field before being replaced by Eldridge after feeling a numbing sensation in his right hand.
Eldridge (two interceptions) ran 12 yards to score the Vaqueros’ first touchdown with 6:07 left in the game to avoid the shutout.
“Coach Rome talked to us at the half and he was very adamant about us finding ourselves and finding out what team we’re going to be,” Amaya said. “I think the guys responded well. We fought harder for each other. We realized that we weren’t playing them, and that we should be playing for each other.”
Amaya completed eight of 15 passes for 95 yards and an interception, which came on the third play of the second-half opening drive.
“Jorge brought a little bit of a spark, that’s true,” Rome said. “Nathan has the attributes and you can see that when he scored the touchdown. It’s nice having two sophomores that can play and you can give them a lot of playing time.”
The Vaqueros (0-3) forced two fumbles in the third quarter and had their first real opportunity to score midway into the frame. But the Vaqueros turned the ball over on downs at the Raiders’ 9-yard line at the 7:17 mark.
Moorpark (1-2) marched its way into Glendale territory and nearly scored on the following drive, but Glendale defensive back Kai Jackson recovered a Raiders fumble on the Vaqueros 5 to start the visitor’s scoring drive.
“Obviously, we misplaced the team for the third quarter and the fourth quarter last week and the first and second this week,” Rome said. “All of a sudden they showed back up. What can I say? We won the first half the week before and we won the second half this week.”
The Raiders ran the ball five times and capped a drive with a 26-yard quarterback keeper from starter Isaiah Johnson to take a 13-0 lead at the start of the second quarter after the missed extra point.
A 25-yard pass set up a five-yard run into the end zone for Brandon Archibald to extend Moorpark’s lead to 20-0 with 9:36 left in the second.
As the Vaqueros attempted to convert on fourth down in Raiders’ territory, Moorpark forced a fumble and returned it for a touchdown to take a 27-0 lead with 7:15 remaining in the half.
Another 29-yard pass set up a one-yard touchdown run for Malachi Meeks to give Moorpark a 34-0 halftime lead.
Johnson finished 14 of 22 passing for 186 yards and four carries for 54 yards and a touchdown.