Vaqueros football aims to stay unbeaten against San Bernardino Valley

It’s been a while since the Glendale Community College football has had its head above water and it’s a feeling the Vaqueros don’t want to let go of any time soon.

Not only over .500 for the first time since October of 2009, but batting 1.000 after opening the season with a 27-10 road win over El Camino Compton College on Saturday, the Vaqueros are well ahead of pace from the last two 1-9 seasons that saw the team go winless until well into its Pacific Conference American Division schedule.

“The freshmen expect it, they don’t know any better, they haven’t been through what we went through last year,” Glendale Coach John Rome said. “Our sophomores are ecstatic about it and feel that their offseason meant something and they’re improving.

“We just have to continue to be better. We’re still a ways away. We’re by no means a complete product.”

Just how far the Vaqueros have come and how far they’ve yet to go could become much clearer Saturday when they continue the nonconference portion of the schedule against San Bernardino Valley in their home opener at 6 p.m. Saturday at Sartoris Field.

San Bernardino Valley also enters with a 1-0 record after defeating Antelope Valley, 33-20, on Saturday at home.

“We think they’re very well-coached and they do a very good job running a multiple type of option offense,” Rome said.

That offense is led by freshman quarterback Ethan Hillyer, who completed 24 of 44 passes for 247 yards against Antelope Valley while spreading his three touchdown passes around between three receivers.

Running back Jordan Mixon flirted with 100 yards rushing, carrying the ball 18 times for 93 yards, while the team did not have a rushing touchdown.

“I think their quarterback’s a very good football player, he can orchestrate and run their offense well and it looks like they have a very good tailback,” Rome said.

Glendale’s offense showed improvement from last season in the passing game in the opener, as Nick Blackmon connected with Eugene Gandara and D’Angelo Blake on first-half touchdown passes, but he was replaced under center by fellow freshman Nate Weston in the second half, where the Vaqueros failed to score.

Rome said he’s wary of Wolverines sophomore defensive end Jay James-Eakins, who recorded 11 tackles and two sacks against Antelope Valley in leading a team defensive effort that totaled four sacks, two fumble recoveries and an interception.

“Defensively, we think they have excellent personnel,” Rome said.

Rome’s own defense played well against Compton, limiting the Tartars to 240 yards of offense and putting six points on the board via a 35-yard interception return by Matt Lopez.

“I think at some positions we’ve grown and gotten better over this past year,” Rome said. “I hope we can stop the run, I think we’re physical enough.”

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