Vaqs in search of first victory

GLENDALE — Glendale Community College football Coach John Rome knows full well about the dynamics surrounding Allan Hancock College's stalwart offensive attack.

Rome can reflect back on the last two seasons, when the Vaqueros and Bulldogs were members of the Northern Conference's National Division and the Bulldogs averaged 56 points per game against Glendale's shell-shocked defense. While the Vaqueros are no longer in the same division with the Bulldogs, they still must face them this season.

The teams will meet in a nonconference contest at 6 p.m. today at Righetti High's Warrior Stadium.

There will be plenty for Rome's squad to think about while making the 160-mile trip to Santa Maria with hopes of picking up its first win of the season.

"They are very tough and very physical," said Rome, whose squad suffered a 55-27 road loss to the Bulldogs last season and a 57-55 triple-overtime defeat in 2008 at Sartoris Field. "They have a very good offense and they like to run the ball and throw to [tight end] Scott Cathcart.

"So, the only thing we can focus on are the things they allow us to do. We've worked a lot on improving our tackling."

The Vaqueros (0-3) have struggled on defense, having allowed 37.6 points per game in nonconference losses against Pasadena, Golden West and East L.A. They are coming off a 33-13 road loss against East L.A. on Sept. 18.

The Bulldogs (1-2) will look to snap a two-game losing skid. They were handed a 22-21 loss by host Moorpark on Sept. 18, as the Raiders kicked a winning field goal with three seconds left in the game. Allan Hancock has averaged 406.6 yards of total offense per game this season. Cathcart has caught 17 passes for 311 yards and three touchdowns.

That's a point that Rome drove home to the Vaqueros.

"We are young in the secondary and we do occasionally give up the big play," Rome said. "We want our defense to spend less time on the field."

In last season's meeting, the Bulldogs scored 28 straight first-quarter points.

With the Vaqueros set to begin competition in the American Conference's South Division against visiting L.A. Valley on Oct. 2, a respectable performance against Allan Hancock might go a long way in determining the team's psyche.

"We want to improve on a lot of things so that we can put the players in position to succeed for the rest of the season," Rome said. "We have to get better on offense and defense, along with our tackling and special teams."

Rome said the Vaqueros will once again start with Steven Batista at quarterback. The Vaqueros had Batista, Kevin Hunter and Greg Jimenez share the signal-calling responsibilities against East L.A. The trio completed 13 of 32 passes for 158 yards. Hunter threw two interceptions and Batista threw one.

Batista completed five of nine passes for 75 yards, including an 11-yard touchdown toss to Patrick Donahue.

"We will start Steven," Rome said. "He's had a week to learn and take a step back and catch his breath.

"We tried Kevin and saw some flashes of good things, but Steven is more experienced at the collegiate level."

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