NORTHEAST GLENDALE — It was improved from the previous week's meltdown, but as its head coach said, it still wasn't "good enough."
The Glendale Community College football team made strides on offense and defense in Saturday's nonconference home game against Golden West College. But the Vaqueros still made too many mistakes on offense, had too many lapses on defense and couldn't make crucial plays in a 39-22 loss, their second straight to start the season.
"Because we're young, everybody [got] a little bit better," Glendale college Coach John Rome said. "But we just weren't good enough."
Glendale college, which lost to Pasadena City College, 41-20, in its opener, was within 10 points with six minutes remaining in the fourth quarter when Antonio Bray had an 89-yard kickoff return for a touchdown. The game became even more intriguing when the Vaqueros' recovered the ensuing onside kick.
But their offense stalled and turned the ball over to Golden West, which covered 48 yards in eight plays, capping a four-minute drive with a 12-yard touchdown run by Robert Cruz.
"We didn't make big plays when we had to," Rome said. "We couldn't stop Golden West when they had the same opportunities. That's a maturing process."
The Vaqueros have maturing to do on offense and defense.
"Offensively, I would like to see us better in our passing," said Rome, whose starting quarterback, Steven Batista, was eight of 21 for 151 yards and a touchdown, but threw two interceptions for the second consecutive game. "Defensively, I thought we tackled better. I would like to see us continue to tackle better."
They might also need to start better too.
The Vaqueros have struggled in the first half of both of their games. Their offense has yet to total more than 82 yards in the opening half and their defense has been suspect at best. Their woes in the first half led to their downfall.
"It's playing at that game speed [that leads to the first-half struggles]," said Rome, whose team allowed 28 points and 276 yards in the first half to Pasadena City College. "We can't simulate that game speed at the practice field. It takes us by surprise."
The Vaqueros didn't surrender as many points (20) or yards (239) in the first half to Golden West, but their woes were enough to put them in another deficit.
The Rustlers (1-1) dominated the lines, totaling 115 yards on the ground in the first half and 220 for the game. Golden West attempted just 10 passes in the first half, but two of those went for touchdowns. The second passing touchdown was a 16-yard strike on a fourth-and-goal situation that capped a 16-play, eight-minute drive. The pass was the only one of the drive.
"We need to tackle on [fourth] down," Rome said. "On any of those fourth-down situations, you'd like to see a more experienced team make more stops and we didn't do it. That will come with time."
Golden West scored on three consecutive possessions to take a 20-2 lead at the half. Glendale college's only score of the half came on a botched snap that went out of the end zone for Golden West. Offensively, the Vaqueros didn't produce much in the first half, amassing just 75 yards in 25 plays. They improved in the second half, as Joshua Nakamoto had a pair of two-yard rushing touchdowns, the latter of which cut Golden West's lead to 20-14.
That's as close as the Vaqueros would get.