The Glendale Community College football team was steadfast in its aerial defense in both halves of its season finale against Los Angeles Southwest college on a hazy Saturday afternoon.
In their final American Metro Conference game of the season, the Vaqueros tallied five interceptions in the first half and added three in the second.
Glendale’s eight interceptions capped the season with a 47-20 home victory over L.A. Southwest at Sartoris Field.
“We just took advantage of what they gave us,” Glendale head coach John Rome said. “We probably could’ve thrown the ball a lot more, but they’re down numbers and we wanted to have some class. It’s about decorum and doing the right thing.”
“We’re just happy to win. We’re just happy to end the season on a positive note.”
It was the first win of the season at home for the Vaqueros, and the victory gave them a 3-3 conference record, as the squad finished 3-7 overall after an 0-6 start.
“Like I told you, I felt like we were going to get better as the season went on,” Rome said. “We were so young, and I thought we were going to get better as the season progressed.”
It couldn’t have ended any better.
The Vaqueros scored the most points in the first half this season (34) and recorded six turnovers in the first two quarters, scoring on three of the turnovers.
Quarterback Nathan Eldridge threw for two touchdowns and 125 yards on eight-of-13 passing and running back Adayus Robertson punched in two scores in 12 runs for 86 yards.
“Considering early-season struggles, and to finish the way that we did, I just felt like each game we were getting better as a team,” Eldridge said. “Just to end on the good note was definitely satisfying.”
Defensive back Christian Alvarez caught two of the Vaqueros’ eight interceptions.
“Cover-two is my thing, and when it comes to it, it’s like a outer-body experience,” Alvarez said. “I had to work for those picks. They weren’t thrown to me, so I just thank God and thank my ability to play.
“Being 5-foot-6, it’s an honor to get two picks today. I just want to thank everybody, especially my coaches.”
Momentum swayed big time for Vaqueros early in the game, as defensive back Justin Fernandez started the interception frenzy at the with one at the 13:39 mark of the first quarter.
Glendale went on to punt on that drive, but L.A. Southwest muffed the kick and the Vaqueros recovered on their 22. Running back Daniel Torres capped a two-play drive with a six-yard touchdown run for the 7-0 lead with 1:47 to go in the first.
Alvarez grabbed the Vaqueros’ second interception of the game about five minutes after the scoring drive to set up Glendale on its 44. Eldridge threw his first touchdown pass to Christopher Lee two plays later for a 49-yard score and the 14-0 lead at the 5:54 mark.
Diontai Jenkins was the next Glendale player to record an interception, the third for the Vaqueros with 5:09 remaining in the first. However, the Vaqueros failed to score on the drive.
An interception from Vaqueros linebacker Pablo Guardado made it a fourth for Glendale. Eldridge made good on the turnover with a 24-yard throw to Jalen Lawrence for the 21-0 lead with 11 seconds left in the frame.
Like a broken record, the Vaqueros started the new quarter with an interception with just 10 seconds gone, and this time by Khaled Wahezi, who returned the offering for a score to make it 28-0.
Robertson closed out the first-half scoring for the Vaqueros with a 14-yard run and the 34-0 lead with 7:13 left in the second quarter, before the Cougars fired back with two quick touchdowns to make it a 34-13 at the break.
Lawrence opened the second half with a 96-yard kickoff return to up the lead to 41-13.
Alvarez picked off his second pass with 2:03 left in the third quarter after the Cougars cut the Vaqueros’ lead to 41-20.
Anthony Parhms caught Glendale’s seventh interception, which led to a nine-yard touchdown run courtesy of Robertson early in the final quarter for a 47-20 score.
Defensive back Eddie Reyes nabbed the eighth and final Glendale interception with 9:06 left.