While the Glendale Community College football team has certainly had its struggles over the last few years, perhaps the Vaqueros may not have a better chance to cure one their bigger ills when the squad opens the season at home Saturday at 1 p.m. versus Compton College.
Sartoris Field, named after the Vaqueros’ all-time winningest coach in Jim Sartoris (111-64-1 record in 17 years), hasn’t itself hosted a victory in three years as Glendale is hoping to break a 17-game jinx.
“We’re looking for a home victory to start the season and we’d love it here,” Glendale Coach John Rome said. “I love the facilities, I love the stadium itself. We’re trying to do our best to improve and trying to get better.”
The last time the Vaqueros claimed a victory at home was on Nov. 7, 2009 when Glendale defeated Moorpark, 41-27, in a National Division Northern Conference game.
The star of that contest was running back Willie Youngblood, a former Muir High standout, who rushed for 258 yards on 32 carries. Perhaps lost in the rushing explosion was an admirable effort from sophomore quarterback Steve Miller, who completed 13 of 22 passes for 154 yards and two touchdowns.
While Miller was a seasoned player then, Rome has no such luxury this year as he turns the team’s reins over to freshman Sean Murphy of Valencia High.
Murphy is making his collegiate debut after throwing for 3, 939 yards and 38 touchdowns with 14 interceptions last season in leading Valencia to the semifinals of the CIF Southern Section Northern Division playoffs.
Yet, all that effort didn’t matter as much, contends Rome, than did Murphy’s play during the summer, as he edged out freshman Jonathan Santos of South East High.
“Sean showed some good decision-making and we’re in the process of narrowing our play list from what he was working on during the summer,” Rome said. “We want to make sure he can execute what’s asked of him.”
Murphy takes over a young team that only has eight total returners, but may have history on its side.
Glendale kicked off last season with a convincing 27-10 victory over the host Tartars in Compton on Sept. 1. in what was one of two victories over a three-week span.
One of the stars of that contest was sophomore wide receiver D’Angelo Black, who hauled in a touchdown reception and is hoping to do the same this Saturday.
While Compton has a new coach in David Banuelos, he isn’t exactly an unknown commodity.
Banuelos came to Compton after a three-year stint as the offensive line coach at American Conference Pacific Division rival Santa Monica.
Banuelos was also a former head coach at Los Angeles Pierce College.
“It’s hard to know what Compton is going do since there’s little information on them,” Rome said. “But we’re planning on utilizing past game plans against [Banuelos] that were successful when’s he been either a head coach, coordinator or assistant.”
In some ways, Saturday will also represent the first real action for either team as nether Glendale or Compton participated in a scrimmage last weekend.
The Vaqueros haven’t played in a scrimmage in years due to budget issues, but had a mock game last Saturday.
“At this point, you can’t simulate what it’s going to be like to be in a game, especially for the freshmen,” Rome said. “You just try to prep them and get them up to speed and see what happens. I expect some guys are going to have some wide eyes. That’s what makes the game great.”