Glendale Community College football rolls past San Diego Mesa for another home win

GLENDALE — After snapping a 17-game home losing streak, the Glendale Community College football team started a string of home wins behind the exploits of a dominant defense at Sartoris Field.

Visiting San Diego Mesa had a tough going from start to finish, especially on offense, as the Vaqueros picked up a 41-6 home victory Saturday night. GCC forced four turnovers, two coming on Jaelan Rising-Barnwell interceptions and had 13 tackles for a loss that included four sacks, as the Olympians averaged 0.8 of a yard on 33 rushing attempts.

PHOTOS: Glendale College football vs. San Diego Mesa College

“It’s a good feeling,” Glendale Coach John Rome said of starting a home winning streak, “we just have to keep getting better one game at a time.

“I am very proud of the defense. We’re young; we start 10 freshmen or players that haven’t played at their position before. I’m glad they’re improving. We have good team speed.”

For the second year in a row, the Vaqueros have started the season 2-1, with the same schedule they faced last year, but will hope to keep the momentum going later in the season after they went 0-7 to end 2012. Rome expects a better end to 2013.

“This is a different team, these are different young men, I’m very proud of these guys,” Rome said. “We have a lot of men of character and we had a great offseason in which they grew. I hope they learned from last year’s experience, for those that were here, and they continue to grow.”

Glendale’s defense was dominant all night and was instrumental in building a 20-0 halftime advantage at the break. GCC forced three turnovers, 10 tackles for a loss (three sacks) and allowed just two first downs in the opening 30 minutes.

Offensively, Glendale was aided with quality field position on poor San Diego Mesa (1-2) punts. The Vaqs started 42 yards from pay dirt on their third drive and finally found the end zone after they started at the Olympians’ 35 on their previous possession.

Facing a third down and eight, the Vaqueros called a play-action pass that included a pump fake to the outside by quarterback Sean Murphy before a strike to Brock Kap over the middle for 14 yards. Right after, Murphy and Kap connected for an eight-yard touchdown using the very same play for a 7-0 lead with 5:31 to play in the first quarter.

“It was working, so why not call it again?” said Murphy, who completed 22 of 32 passes for 301 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions.

Kap finished with 10 receptions for 142 yards.

On the next two Olympian drives, the visitors were swallowed up by the stingy Vaqueros defense, which held San Diego to a three-and-out and then a fumble that Glendale’s Marcus Tappan recovered at San Diego’s 32. Both led to chip-shot field goals from Dan Blackford, who hit from 25 and 28 yards, to give GCC a 13-0 advantage with 10:39 left in the half.

While the Vaqs’ offense struggled to completely capitalize on the short field, their defense forced a pick-six for a 20-0 lead with 6:11 to play in the half. Facing third and 14 at his own six-yard line, the San Diego Mesa quarterback was pressured and threw the ball seemingly right to Glendale’s Noche Nwofer, who also had an eight-yard sack in the first half, at the five-yard line for the easy score.

“We’ve been practicing hard all week, doing a lot of homework, doing our research and working hard,” Nwofer said. “We just wanted to win. We have to prove ourselves at here, we haven’t been winning as much at home and we have to change that this year.”

Glendale kept up the pressure in the second half. It forced consecutive three-and-outs before launching a nine-play touchdown drive that was capped by a two-yard Marquise McGuire (64 yards on 16 carries) run for a 27-0 edge. The freshman added a four-yard score seven plays after Rising-Barnwell’s second interception of the night for a 34-0 Vaqueros lead with 5:35 to play.

Murphy added to the lead, 41-0, when he hit Isaiah Bernard (65 yards on four catches) with a pretty 37-yard touchdown pass on the first play of the fourth quarter. While the freshman signal caller from Valencia High put up some good numbers, he said the offense and he, in particular, need to improve heading forward.

“This year, we’re a new team and doing really well at home and hopefully we can continue that streak,” Murphy said.

San Diego Mesa capped the scoring and finally got on the board with a 14-play drive that ended when Travis Russell found Tre Roberts for a 17-yard touchdown with 55 seconds left.

The Vaqueros will have a chance to exceed last year’s win total and extend their winning streak at Sartoris to three games when Antelope Valley visits Saturday at 6 p.m.

“One game at a time, this game’s over with, I’m not even worried about it,” Nwofer said of the team’s mindset. “I am about to go home and watch film right now on the next game. We aren’t celebrating, it’s a long season and we have a lot to prove. We’re going to do that with a win against Antelope Valley next week.”

Copyright © 2019, Glendale News-Press
EDITION: California | U.S. & World