While the 2013 season got off to a strong start for the Glendale Community College football team, it went into its bye week with a two-game losing streak and looking to turn things around again.
There are a number of things Vaqueros Coach John Rome looked to accomplish in the week off before his team’s second American Division Pacific Conference game of the year at West Los Angeles College Saturday at 1 p.m.
“We always try to do the same thing, better our techniques, better our fundamentals,” said Rome, whose team is 2-3, 0-1 in conference after consecutive losses to Santa Monica City (44-28) and Antelope Valley (37-30), on Tuesday. “This week is really going to be more like a fall camp back in August.”
After the bye, Glendale will have a chance to snap its 11-game conference losing streak against a winless West LA squad (0-5, 0-2), with the one common team both sides have in common being Santa Monica, which the Wildcats fell to, 32-23.
“Everyone’s hungry and ready to go into that West LA game,” Glendale linebacker Marcus Tappan said. “We don’t want people to think we’re the same team from last year.”
While Glendale’s three losses have come by an average of 16.7 points, all three have been competitive most of the way, with a crucial mistake or two serving as back breakers.
Another focus during this bye week for the Vaqueros is correcting a myriad of special teams miscues.
At Santa Monica last week, GCC was up one point at half, but gave up a 10-point run in seven seconds. It started when another long snap on a Glendale field goal attempt went wrong and led to a Santa Monica field goal. The Vaqs then fumbled the ensuing kickoff and Santa Monica returned it for a score.
GCC’s special teams surrendered 21 points, in the form of two kickoff return touchdowns and another that came on a botched field goal snap, the week earlier in a 37-30 loss to Antelope Valley.
Two Vaqueros field goals were blocked and another punt return fumbled and lost in their first loss of the year to San Bernardino Valley College, 45-18.
“It’s youth, but youth at a community college is every year,” explained Rome of the miscues. “The mistakes are the youth, but they just seem to compound and we’ve really just inflicted our own wounds.”
Through five games, Glendale is putting up 30.4 points a game, which ranked fifth in its eight-team conference. The Vaqueros also rank fifth and sixth in the conference in rushing (141.2) and passing yards (225.6) a game, respectively.
“The offense works, we just have to execute more of the plays,” Glendale quarterback Sean Murphy said. “Things are there and we just don’t execute them.”
Murphy has completed 102 of 199 passes for 1,128 yards, 10 touchdowns and six interceptions. The signal caller’s top targets are Brock Kap (354 yards, two touchdowns on 28 receptions) and Isaiah Bernard (313 yards, five touchdowns on 25 catches).
Rushing-wise, the Vaqueros are led by Marquise McGuire (351 yards, three touchdowns on 64 carries).
If there’s one group Rome can’t ask more from, it’s the defense. Glendale owns conference-highs in sacks (14), interceptions (12), fumble recoveries (11) and has scored two touchdowns.
Deondre Mitchell leads Glendale and the conference with four sacks and also has seven tackles for loss. Noche Nwofer’s three interceptions lead GCC and is second best in conference.
“Everyone swarms to the ball,” said Tappan, who has 29 tackles (11 solo) and two interceptions, including a pick-six, this year. “You look at the play and you’ll see eight Glendale jerseys on the ball. … I think we have 23 forced turnovers in five games, so our defense is holding it down.
“If our offense can get three points that’s all we need, that’s our mentality right now because we know we’re spearheading the team. We’re in a rough spot right now, so our defense is just trying to lead the team and make plays.”