The Glendale Community College football team had one last chance to salvage September and register the Vaqueros’ first win of the season in a home game against Mount San Jacinto College.
However, despite a valiant comeback attempt, Glendale was unable to completely climb out a deep hole, coming up short in a 50-28 loss to the visiting Eagles Saturday afternoon at Satoris Field in the Vaqueros’ final nonconference game of the season.
“When you come close and you know you have a chance and you come up on the short end, those things hurt more,” Glendale coach John Rome said.
After trailing by 28 points early in the second half, Glendale (0-4) clawed its way back to within one touchdown following a nine-yard scoring run by Elijah Washington with 12:12 to go in the game.
The defense then held Mount San Jacinto without a first down to force a punt. Vaqueros Kai Jackson received the kick and returned it 40 yards to set up the hosts 25 yards out from a potential touchdown to erase the deficit in full.
The Vaqueros had scored touchdowns on their previous four drives, but this drive did not go their way. It ended with a punt after not gaining a first down and quarterback Nathan Eldridge being sacked on third down.
On the ensuing drive, the Eagles had a fourth down at the 31-yard line needing 16 yards. Eagles quarterback Brett Virgil heaved a pass into the end zone into a mass of four players, two from each side. The ball landed on the turf, but the Vaqueros were called for pass interference to keep the drive alive. Soon after, Eagles Quran Bouldin scored a rushing touchdown covering 16 yards. After the successful two-point conversion, the score was 43-28 and the comeback lost steam.
“I kind of lost my composure a little,” Rome said of the call. “It is awfully hard to accept a penalty after a great stand like that and to have [the flag] be that late. If it came out immediately you say, ‘OK, I can accept that,’ but when it comes out so late you kind of question that.”
Both teams caught fire on offense in the third quarter, combining for five touchdowns.
Mount San Jacinto, which held a 21-0 advantage at halftimer, got it started with some trickery. Eagles Karl Oates stood under a punt, nonchalantly caught the ball and stood in place for a moment. This fooled the Vaqueros into thinking the freshman had called a fair-catch, but he never did. Oates then took off and went 70 yards for a touchdown and a 28-0 advantage.
Eldridge then took over at quarterback. On Eldridge’s first snap, the sophomore handed off to Tre Fugate, who ran the ball around the left side of the line and galloped 63 yards for the host’s first points of the game.
“Usually, it just takes one big play [to get the offense going],” Eldridge said. “With a big play on the second series, Tre had a nice run. The linemen picked up some nice blocks. I think that is when we realized we could play. We just needed some life in us and from then on out we just let that momentum carry over.”
The Glendale defense then came up with a stop. In Glendale’s ensuing drive, the Vaqueros went 60 yards, sparked by the running of Eldridge. He capped the drive with a one-yard keeper for a touchdown and finished the possession with four runs for 49 yards. He finished with 95 yards on the ground in seven carries.
Mount San Jacinto quickly answered using a huge kick return plus a Glendale personal foul that gave the Eagles a short field from the 20-yard line. Virgil finished it off with an 11-yard touchdown run. Virgil led all rushers with 151 yards in 14 carries including two scores.
Vaqueros Jalen Lawrence then returned the kickoff 72 yards to set his team up at the 19-yard line. Soon after, Fugate recorded his second touchdown of the day from two yards out to cit the lead to 35-21 with 3:21 left in the third quarter. The freshman finished with 73 yards on nine carries.
The Vaquero defense, which was led in tackles by Michael Stanford with 10, held strong again. Glendale got the ball back and drove 78 yards, leading to the Washington nine-yard score to draw the hosts to within 35-28 with 12:12 remaining in the game.
But Mount Jacinto responded with two touchdowns thereafter.
Glendale finished with 295 yards rushing and was paced by Washington, who had 19 carries for 114 yards. The Eagles had 279 yards on the ground.
Glendale was shut out in the first half despite leading in time of possession 16:58-13:02. However, it was Mount San Jacinto that put up the points by scoring on its first two possessions and adding a third touchdown with 6:32 left in the second quarter.
Vaqueros quarterback Jorge Amaya earned his first start of the season and went 10 of 21 for 93 yards with one interception before giving way to Eldridge early in the third.
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