GLENDALE — A nine-game losing streak is officially over for the Glendale High football team.
The Nitros rallied behind three rushing touchdowns from Chris Ibarra to end their misery and elongate that of visiting Ribet Academy after a 33-24 nonleague victory at Moyse Field on Friday evening.
With the win, Glendale improves to 1-2 heading into its Pacific League opener Friday versus visiting Pasadena (2-1) next week. The loss was the 14th in a row for gritty Ribet (0-3), which was competitive despite playing with only 12 players.
The Fighting Frogs are back in 11-man football after a brief stint at the eight-man level and are still in the hunt for their first 11-man victory since 2013.
Win No. 1 this season was also the first in the tenure of Glendale coach Cary Harris.
“The kids fought the entire game and really fought some adversity in the second half,” Harris said. “We started slow in both halves, but you know what, they didn’t give up and they didn’t turn on one another. They gutted it out.”
Ibarra, an All-Area second-team selection on defense, may just be the Nitros’ top option on the other side of the ball.
The senior carried nine times for 94 yards and three touchdowns, while hauling in two catches for 25 yards.
Perhaps his biggest score came after back-to-back touchdowns from Ribet gave the visitors a 24-20 lead midway through the third quarter.
Glendale responded to the deficit by marching 70 yards on seven plays capped by a 28-yard touchdown run from Ibarra, his final of the contest, to give Glendale back the lead for good, 27-24.
“I played running back freshman year and didn’t do much after that,” said Ibarra, a standout linebacker his sophomore and junior years. “I guess the new coaches saw the tape from before and put me in and I didn’t even know I scored three touchdowns today, honestly.”
Glendale built a slight cushion when Azuka Ukon (eight carries for 51 yards) punched in his second touchdown with 8:10 left. Though the Nitros missed the extra point, they still led, 33-24.
Brandon Juarez iced the game for Glendale late when he picked off Ribet quarterback Elijah Claxton in the red zone with 40 seconds left.
Claxton completed eight of 18 passes for 109 yards and two touchdowns with two interceptions.
If there was one lop-sided number nearly as big as Glendale’s roster advantage (43-12), maybe that was first downs as the Nitros won that tally, 21-6.
Yet, Ribet made up for that difference with a few home runs as the Frogs scored three touchdowns on fourth downs.
Mike Thompson hauled in a 38-yard touchdown pass in the first quarter from Claxton to give Ribet a 6-0 lead.
Thompson, who also turned in an interception, added a 71-yard touchdown run, while Kayode Agbalaya returned the opening kickoff of the second half 82 yards for a touchdown.
Claxton also hit Moshood Edu for a 15-yard score on fourth down that gave Ribet a 24-20 lead with 6:35 left in the third.
Ibarra also scored touchdown runs of one and five yards, while Ukon punched in a 15-yard touchdown scamper to give Glendale a 20-12 lead going into halftime.
Glendale’s Joseph Manukyan turned in an interception before halftime.