COSTA MESA - Two games is perhaps a small sample size to make any definitive statements. But during that stretch, the Glendale Community College football team is slowly building a reputation for being a team that is unable to protect the ball.
The latest example came Saturday evening, when the Vaqueros fumbled the ball twice on their first three drives and both times it cost them touchdowns. With that, Glendale was unable to recover, losing to Golden West, 34-7, at Orange Coast College.
Glendale (0-2) remains winless after turning the ball over and establishing bad field position for the second consecutive game.
The Vaqueros fumbled on the opening play of the game and again on a kickoff return. And in between those gaffes, they started their second drive on their own 7-yard line and wound up punting four plays later.
Those miscues led to a 20-0 deficit with 5:20 to play in the first quarter.
Glendale Coach John Rome assessed the blame on his team, not on the Rustlers' defense.
"It wasn't them, it was us," he said. "Nobody made us fumble the first snap of the ball; we did that. Nobody made us turn the ball over on a kickoff; we did that. They didn't hit harder than any team we've played. We just turned the ball over."
Asked for how he planned to correct that, Rome said in jest: "We tape the ball to their hands.
"No, you practice that. And we spend time in practice doing that. We work on ball security and many things. But until we could correct those problems on a consistent basis, we're doomed to being our own worst enemy."
Glendale freshman wide receiver Darren Morrow fumbled on the first play of the game and Golden West (2-0) recovered on the opposing 34, scoring four plays later on a 26-yard run.
Unable to get a first down after starting their second drive on their 7-yard line, the Vaqueros turned the ball over. And the Rustlers scored on a 5-play, 62-yard drive, capped by a 30-yard scoring pass.
On the ensuing kickoff, Glendale's Osa Aikhionbare fumbled and Golden West scored 7 plays later on a 1-yard run.
"If we don't put ourselves in such bad field position, I think we'll have a better chance," Rome said. "Offensively we could be good, but we just keep making the same mistakes. It's all ball security problems."
The Vaqueros, however, scored with 2:38 left to play.
After recovering a fumble themselves on the opposing 40-yard line with 6:54 left, they used 11 plays to score on a 4-yard pass from quarterback Kevin Hunter to Lawrence Phillips.