COMPTON — The sweet taste of victory, but far from perfection.
The Glendale Community College football team shut out Compton College in the first half of the teams’ American Metro Conference game Saturday, and went on to claim its first victory of the season, 40-14, on the road.
“We thought we could run the ball,” Glendale head coach John Rome said. “We had a lot of time on possession, so we felt pretty good about it. We know that they’re down and struggling, so we thought we weren’t going to pour it on them because we’ve been on the other side of it.”
The Vaqueros (1-6, 1-2 in conference) led the Tartars, 13-0, after the first half and shut out an opponent through the first two quarters of a game for the first time this season.
Compton scored midway in the third quarter to make it a two-possession game, but Glendale retaliated with three scores and forced one turnover en route to its first victory.
Compton (0-6, 0-2) came into the game with 23 eligible players, who throughout the night had trouble avoiding cramps as the game continued on.
“That’s it,” Rome said. “We know we’d keep them in the game by playing crummy, which we did. At times, we made a lot of mistakes and it’s just a perfection that we need to work for. At least an expected level of perfection and we fight that some times.”
The Glendale ground game amassed 169 rushing yards backed by scoring efforts from backs Daniel Torres and Quinn Sheaffer, along with quarterback Nathan Eldridge.
Torres registered 76 yards in eight carries and one score, while Sheaffer had a touchdown in seven carries. Along with 31 rushing yards and two touchdowns on seven carries, Eldridge threw for 96 yards and two touchdowns and completed seven of 12 attempts.
“We just tried to fix up on some mental errors that we were making in the first half,” Eldridge said. “Once we realized that we needed to come out stronger and eliminate those mistakes, we could compete with these guys. They did a great job of fighting back the whole game.”
Glendale shed 5:18 off the clock on its first drive and settled for a punt on the Compton 39.
Nevertheless, the Vaqueros’ defense stuffed the Tartars with two consecutive three-and-outs, and on the second punt, the home side gave the visitors decent field position at the Compton 30. Glendale scored five plays later on a 10-yard touchdown pass from Eldridge to Job McGinty for a 6-0 lead with 2:46 left in the first after the Vaqueros missed the extra point attempt.
Though the Vaqueros started the second quarter on Compton’s side of the field, Glendale couldn’t capitalize and had to punt.
Glendale found the end zone on its next drive after Torres gave the Vaqueros a 16-yard gain to the Compton 6. Eldridge capped the 1:04 drive with a one-yard quarterback sneak for the 13-0 Glendale lead after the extra point with 10:56 left in the half.
Compton gained momentum on its next drive after the Tartars converted a fourth down play with fake punt. A 34-yard pass play then put Compton on the Glendale 15. Though the Tartars gained a yard on the next play, Compton was hit with an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty that pegged them outside the red zone with 5:52 remaining in the half.
The teams traded three-and-outs before the Vaqueros marched down to the Tartars’ 17 with a chance to score before halftime. Glendale settled for a 39-yard field-goal attempt, but kicker and Crescenta Valley High product Chris Wood kicked it wide right to maintain the Vaqueros 13-0 halftime lead.
The Glendale defense forced a Compton three-and-out to start the second half before Robertson got the offense rolling.
With possession on the Compton 30, the Glendale running back pieced together 28 yards in four carries before Eldridge scored on a two-yard run to give the Vaqueros a 20-0 lead with 10:25 left.
Compton made it a two-possession game after a 74-yard run to the end zone to cut he Glendale lead to 20-6 with 9:14 left.
Despite success on their previous drive, the Tartars muffed a snap on their next possession and Glendale defensive back Cody Taniguchi picked the ball off the ground with 6:12 left in the quarter. Sheaffer converted the turnover into a 10-yard touchdown and a 27-6 Glendale lead with 5:11 left in the third.
After the Tartars turned the ball over on downs on their own 20, Torres carried the ball three times to cap the scoring run with a nine-yard scamper and gave the Vaqueros a 34-6 advantage at the 3:14 mark of the third.
“We talk a lot about execution and taking advantage of the field we have,” Torres said. “We definitely took advantage today — at least 75 percent of the time, we did. A few times we fell short, but overall, I thought we did well.”
Glendale tacked on another score after Eldridge found receiver Jalen Lawrence for a 53-yard catch-and-run touchdown and a Glendale 40-6 lead with 9:47 remaining.
Compton completed a 36-yard pass to the Glendale 15 with 7:02 left to test the Vaqueros, and two plays later, the Tartars connected on a nine-yard touchdown pass and completed the two-point conversion to cut the Vaqueros’ lead to 40-14 with 5:04 left.