GCC football stalls out of gate in home defeat

NORTHEAST GLENDALE -- Glendale Community College was very happy to see Collin Keoshian return to the field for its American Division Pacific Conference football game against Santa Barbara in this year’s installment of “The Battle of the Vaqueros” after serving a one-game suspension. It seemed mutual, as the host Vaqueros gave him the ball repeatedly and the big back produced throughout. However, with the rest of the offense dormant until the game was out of hand, it was not enough, as Glendale lost 36-18 Saturday night for its sixth consecutive defeat.

“The result didn’t change, but the bottom line is it’s nice having the kid,” Glendale Coach John Rome said of his feature back’s return. “He’s such an appreciative kid who works so hard. He’s just a great young man.”

Keoshian finished with 27 carries for 184 yards and one rushing touchdown. On his fourth carry of the second half, a five-yard run, the 240-pound sophomore went over 1,000 yards on the year. He finished the night with 1,072 yards so far this season with one game to go, putting him currently twelfth all-time on the Glendale single-season rushing list. With comparable production next week against Los Angeles Pierce, Keoshian could crack the top five as Glendale will look for its first conference and home win.

“It was great to be back,” Keoshian said. “What can I say? The O-line did amazing, my fullback did amazing, receivers blocked amazing. Everybody blocked great.”

Santa Barbara (4-5, 3-3 in conference) got its fourth rushing touchdown of the game with 40 seconds left in the third quarter, resulting in a 34-0 lead. The nine-yard scoring run came from Mike Peterson to cap a 10-play, 71-yard drive during which quarterback Jarred Evans went over the century mark in yards on the ground. The freshman finished with a team-high 111 yards on 10 carries for a gaudy 11.1 average. After the Peterson score, Glendale’s Bobby Baker got a hand on the kick attempt to block a PAT for the second week in a row.

Glendale (2-7, 0-6) scored all its points in the fourth quarter, making the final tally and quarterback Ki Bae’s statistics look much better than they were. Predictably, Keoshian got Glendale on the board first with a one-yard touchdown run with 11:26 left in the fourth, after gouging the Santa Barbara defense for runs of 25 and 33 yards on the drive. The ensuing PAT kick attempt was blocked at the line and then returned the length of the field by Santa Barbara’s Mitch Nelson for the visitors’ only two points of the quarter.

Unpredictably, Keoshian then threw for Glendale’s second score, taking the handoff from Bae and throwing a perfect spiral to D’Angelo Blake in the end zone for a 32-yard touchdown with 5:00 left.

“I [threw for a score] like every game in high school out of a Wildcat in eight-man football. So, I mean, it felt like a flashback to high school,” Keoshian, who came out of Santa Clarita Christian, said.

The majority of Bae’s yards and completions came after that, including a short pass to Walter Moctezuma that the running back turned into a 17-yard touchdown with his second effort in the game’s final minute. Bae, who did not complete a pass in the third quarter, ended up 15 of 33 for 131 yards, with the one touchdown and one interception. The pick-off came in the second quarter when the freshman, facing a heavy rush, threw the ball up for grabs, and it was pulled down by Olefemi Odaido and returned 92 yards for a touchdown.

“I wish Ki had played a little bit better,” Rome said of Bae, who started his third game after being a back-up before that. “I think it’s always easier being the second-stringer coming off the bench.”

Glendale used Keoshian to control the clock in the first half, handing the ball to him to start all five of their drives, leading to 60 yards in the first quarter on nine carries and 15 carries for 90 by halftime. This resulted in a Glendale advantage in time of possession 17:30 to 12:30, although the defense could do little to control the legs of Evans when the visitors did get the ball. The freshman carried the ball seven times for 83 yards and two touchdowns, doing the majority of the work on offense to lead the visiting Vaqueros to a 21-0 advantage at the break.

“We make mistakes. In our first four series there was one bad play in each series that stopped us and we’re just not good enough to overcome that mistake. In the second half we kind of got a little rolling and playing a little bit better,” Rome said.

Evans capped Santa Barbara’s opening drive with a 37-yard touchdown run when he rolled out, high-stepped past a couple defenders, and found his way into the right corner of the end zone. Evans struck again at the end of Santa Barbara’s 16-play, 96-yard drive that spanned the end of the first into the second quarter with a four-yard rushing touchdown. On the drive, Evans converted a fourth down and two to go with a four-yard scamper and later one through the air with a 27-yard back-shoulder completion to Steven Jerome. He finished 9 of 14 for 158 yards and was intercepted once, by Dennis Vaughn in the the third quarter.

With the Glendale loss, the Battle of the Vaqueros all-time series is now tied at 21-21-1.

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