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GCC football self destructs in loss to L.A. Valley

VALLEY GLEN — On paper, the Glendale Community College football team looked to have its best chance to pick up its first American Division Pacific Conference win of the season and end a four-game losing streak when going on the road to face a Los Angeles Valley team that was winless.

But to accomplish this, the Vaqueros would have to do without their best weapon on offense, with running back Collin Keoshian suspended for the game, starting tackle Steven Escobaza removed from the team, quarterback Ki Bae starting only his second game, and a myriad of injuries. However, on the field, even all those missing components might not have made up for the astoundingly poor execution at the start. Against Glendale, the host Monarchs looked like a team with a zero in the back of their record rather than the front as they put up 35 unanswered points in the first quarter en route to a 57-18 win.

“I’ve never seen anything so erroneous, error after error,” Glendale Coach John Rome said of his team’s early execution. “I mean, really good teams can’t overcome that and we haven’t shown we can do that without self-destruction.”

Los Angeles Valley (1-7, 1-4) had not scored more than 22 points in any of its games before facing the Vaqueros Saturday night. The Monarchs passed that mark 7:04 into the first quarter, starting with a 94-yard return of the opening kickoff by Antonio Bray. That score, just 14 seconds into the game, marked the Monarchs’ first lead at home of the season.


On the ensuing possession, Glendale (2-6, 0-5) turned the ball over on its second play when a shotgun snap sailed past Bae’s right shoulder and was recovered by Valley’s George Alvarez at the Vaquero 21-yard line. The defense held with a sack on third down by Justin Slaughter leading to a punt. But three plays into the next drive, the Vaqueros again fumbled a snap and this time it was immediately turned into points when Bryan Beaman scooped it up and went 19 yards for a touchdown.

Glendale then tried to answer, but instead punted without getting a first down. Two plays later, Bray got his second touchdown of the first quarter on a 50-yard run up the middle. Continuing the calamity of errors, on Glendale’s next play, Bae, now under center, dropped the snap and it was recovered by Monarch Alfy Hill at the Vaquero 18-yard line. Valley converted this fumble, the third of the quarter, into points after a short drive on a 16-yard screen pass from quarterback Bradley Hunt to Bray for the sophomore’s third touchdown of the contest. With 3:45 left in the first quarter, Bray scored his fourth touchdown on a 14-yard touchdown pass from Bradley, several plays after Glendale muffed a kickoff. So, on the strength of four Bray touchdowns and four Glendale turnovers, the host Monarchs had an insurmountable 35-0 advantage after one quarter.

“Early mistakes kind of hurt us. After the mistakes we just tried to stay resilient,” Bae said.

For Glendale, Walter Moctezuma filled in admirably for Keoshian as the Vaqueros’ primary ball carrier. Keoshian was held out of the game by Glendale in anticipation of the denial of an appeal of his suspension for a hit that happened on the final play of a 13-0 loss to L.A. Southwest College last week.


“We didn’t get any clarification of [Keoshian’s] status from the commissioner, so we held him out,” Rome, who expects the running back to be back next week, explained.

Moctezuma carried the ball 19 times for 56 hard-fought yards and two touchdowns. The freshman’s first score came 34 seconds into the second quarter on a nine-yard run to the right, completing a 34-yard drive set up by a fumble recovery by freshman Devon Bonner. However, Glendale only ended up with a net gain of four points when the point-after kick attempt was blocked at the line, then picked up by Winston Rose and returned the other direction for two Monarch points.

The Glendale defense took the ball away again on the next Valley possession when Davion Holloway stripped Bray and the Vaqueros recovered. The defense held again on the next possession, which ended in a punt after Slaughter got his second sack of the first half. After that, the Monarch defense decided not to wait for its offense to score again when Rose intercepted Bae and returned the ball 59 yards for a touchdown.

After a 53-yard kickoff return by Eugene Gandara set Glendale up at the Monarch 39-yard line, the Vaqueros squeezed out a touchdown in the final minute to go into the break trailing, 44-12. The late score came on a six-yard touchdown pass from Bae to Jess Reed in the back left corner of the end zone on fourth down with 38 seconds to go. Reed, a tight end who also handles the punting duties, led his team in receiving with five catches for 28 yards.

Steve Carranza took over at quarterback for the Monarchs in the second half, and they scored on their first drive of the third quarter. The touchdown came on a one-yard run by Royce Long, after which Vaquero Bobby Baker broke through and blocked the extra-point kick attempt. Moctezuma scored his second touchdown on the Vaqueros’ next possession, running it in from two yards out.

Valley scored the only points of the fourth quarter by capitalizing on Glendale’s sixth turnover, a fumble by Mario Rodriquez, with a 14-yard scoring pass from Carranza to Keith Redmond. After that, Glendale was not done turning the ball over, as it muffed a punt later in the fourth, but both teams were done scoring.

“We’ve just got to do our best in these last two games and play our hardest. Keep our heads up and hope for results,” Reed said.