Glendale Community College football snaps conference losing streak in exciting fashion

CULVER CITY — It wasn't easy, but the Glendale Community College football team got it done.

Down four on the road at West Los Angeles College, Vaqueros quarterback Sean Murphy found tight end Tanner Mays on an out route off of play action for the go-ahead touchdown strike from three yards out with about 29 seconds left.

PHOTOS: Glendale College vs. West L.A. College football

“It scared me,” Murphy said. “I thought I overthrew him, but luckily he has long arms and he got it.”

Glendale held on to defeat West L.A., 24-21, to keep the Wildcats winless, while snapping an 11-game American Division Pacific Conference losing streak of its own. GCC, which lost to the Wildcats, 41-6, at home last season, improved to 3-3 overall, 1-2 in conference.

“It's just exciting,” Murphy said. “We finally got a league win. We're trying to make a statement this year.”

Exciting it was, perhaps unnecessarily so. Glendale opened up a 17-0 lead after one quarter, only to see the advantage slip away when the Wildcats scored 21 unanswered points and went ahead, 21-17, late in the third quarter.

The Vaqueros had numerous chances to add to their score in the second half. On three different possessions, Glendale had a first-and-goal nine yards out, a first-and-10 at the 12 and a first-and-10 at the 15, but came up empty all three times.

Despite the offensive inconsistency, the defense continued to play well and forced five turnovers, including four interceptions.

GCC’s Dante Shipman had two picks, but the biggest interception came late in the fourth quarter with West Los Angeles driving. The Wildcats threatened to seal the victory with a first-and-goal at Glendale's eight-yard line, but linebacker Chris Riley picked off a Derek Stewart pass and returned it to the Vaqueros' 33. That set up the drive that ended in Mays’ touchdown reception.

“No one put their heads down,” Murphy said. “Everyone stayed up and into the game, which is great.”

Murphy was 18 for 31 for 177 yards and two touchdowns. Vaqueros running back Marquise McGuire rushed 29 times for 131 yards and also caught four passes for 44 yards and a touchdown.

Glendale started the game strong. After the Wildcats were held to a three-and-out to start the game, the Vaqueros’ offense put together a nearly six-minute, 14-play drive that culminated in a 36-yard field goal by Dan Blackford to give his side a 3-0 lead.

Following a bad snap on a West L.A. punt, the Vaqueros set up shop on their opponent's four. Markel Keys quickly took advantage, running the ball in from four yards out to give Glendale a 10-0 lead.

The Vaqueros capitalized again after a Wildcat fumble when Murphy connected with McGuire for a 17-yard touchdown strike. Glendale held a 17-0 lead after one quarter.

“We believe we have a very good football team,” Glendale Coach John Rome said. “Very good character, very good people. We just need to learn how to win. It's been a while.”

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