Glendale Community College football looks to get beyond loss

In some ways, last Saturday evening was an aberration for the Glendale Community College football team, much to the chagrin of head coach John Rome.

While the Vaqueros (1-1) missed an opportunity to begin the season with consecutive victories for the first time since 2009 after a disheartening 45-18 defeat at San Bernardino Valley College, the loss wasn’t as upsetting as was the manner in which the game was lost.

“We played out of sorts,” Rome said. “We didn’t block on special teams, we threw the ball way too many times. We just didn’t play like this team is capable of playing and part of that responsibility falls on the coaches, primarily because this is a young team.”

It figures that blocking and running were on the agenda this week at practice, as Rome and Co. prepare for a nonconference tilt versus visiting San Diego Mesa College (1-1) on Saturday at 6 p.m at Sartoris Field.

Yet, even after having two field goals blocked, two extra-point attempts missed and a punt return catch botched, Rome wasn’t too concerned with his special teams.

“I hope that was a one-game problem. I hope it was just an aberration,” Rome said of the special team gaffes. “Honestly, with the blocks, we just had problems lining up and gave up the edge, which is what we worked on.

“As for the botched punt, well, let’s just say that player has learned a big lesson and will be ready Saturday.”

What Rome was most alarmed about, though, was his suddenly pass-happy offense.

Vaqueros freshman quarterback Sean Murphy completed 30 of 59 passes for 271 yards and two touchdowns. The passing attempt total was 24 more for Murphy than in the team’s 35-7 win versus Compton on Sept. 7 and was a career-high for the former Valencia High signal-caller, who never tossed more than 42 passes during his prep career.

“We almost threw 60 times. That’s what we do in three games, not one,” Rome said. “That’s what bothered me most. We need to get back to a balanced attack and get back to running the ball.”

Glendale is also hoping to get back into the win column versus the Olympians, who the Vaqueros defeated on the road, 31-19, last season.

In San Diego Mesa, the Vaqueros face a team that’s had an up-and-down season, but one that has at least an idea of what to expect from Glendale.

“Coach Rome and I have known each other since the mid-80s, when I was a player at UCLA and he was a graduate assistant,” said Olympians Coach Henry Browne, who is in his sixth season as head coach and 20th overall with the program. “I don’t know if that makes the game easier or more difficult, but it’s a game you look forward to, especially since it should be competitive and hard fought.”

San Diego Mesa opened the season with a 35-28 overtime victory at Los Angeles Southwest College on Sept. 7 in which sophomore quarterback Joe Kennedy hit receiver Bryan Montreuil with a two-yard touchdown pass for the game-winner.

The touchdown was the third of three for Kennedy, who also tossed three interceptions.

“Joe is a quality player and he’s had a good career so far,” Browne said. “He started all 10 games for us last year and his play is picking up.”

Kennedy completed nine of 16 passes for 121 yards and a touchdown last season versus Glendale.

Olympians running back Matt Rochelle, who has garnered attention from Boston College, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and the University of San Diego, contributed 200 all-purpose yards and two touchdowns in being named the Southern California College Football Association “Offensive Player of the Year” after the Sept. 7 victory.

Unfortunately for San Diego Mesa, the Olympians followed that victory by committing four turnovers in a 63-7 defeat to rival Grossmont in the team’s home opener last Saturday.

Regardless of the setback, Browne is certain of one thing Saturday.

“We play a physical style of football on offense and defense and that’s what we expect [Saturday],” Browne said. “We’ll be balanced on offense and try to stop the run on defense. That’s our personality year to year.”

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