The Vaqueros polished their offense and snagged a Western State Bowl victory against the Santa Ana Dons with a score of 23-14 Saturday, Nov. 19 at Sartoris Field, ending the season with a 9-2 record.
The Vaquero squad went into the game ranked No. 2 in the Western State Conference.
The Vaqs came on strong from the beginning. Going into the half, the Vaqueros led 16-3, thanks in part to a pair of field goals by kicker Esteban Moreno and a 15-yard touchdown pass by quarterback Brendon Doyle to wide receiver Juan Magallon.
Offensive line Albert Vicero went in at the second half to replace Zack Williams, who was taken down early in the half.
“[Although] we lost a valuable player at half time, we get a guy that steps in and picks up the slack,” said Coach John Cicuto. “That’s how Glendale wins.”
By the half, Doyle had completed six passes, giving way to tailback Jason McNeil and the rest of the Vaquero running backs.
Doyle finished with 11 of 20 for 165 yards while McNeil ended the night with 19 rushes for 119 yards and a touchdown.
According to McNeil, Cicuto stressed the importance of running the ball for the entire second half.
However, in spite of the Vaqueros’ efforts, the Dons scored in the second half with a 12-yard pass from quarterback Kasey Peters to receiver David Richmond.
With 4:11 minutes remaining in the game, the Vaquero defensive squad took advantage of the Dons’ third turnover when Vaquero linebacker Josh Nesbitt picked off Peters’ pass.
“We were having a lot of success running it [the ball],” said Cicuto. “Then our defense came up with some stops [and] got some turnovers. You need that in a big game like tonight’s.”
This was the first time since 1966 that both teams played against each other and saw Glendale come away with a victory, defeating Santa Ana 8-7.
“We don’t have a lot of Division 1 guys,” said Cicuto. “If we don’t play together as a team, then we don’t have a chance to win. Our guys believe in that and I think that’s what showed tonight.”
Sophomore linebacker Alonzo Menifield was named Defensive Player of the Game.
“It feels real good [to be named Defensive Player of the Game],” said Menfield. “I didn’t think they were going to pick me. I got MVP at the Quarterback Club, so I didn’t think I was going to get another one.”
Menifield kicked it into high gear on the second, improving his game and cementing himself for recognition as a standout player by blocking a field goal and “playing hard.”
“I noticed that in the first half I wasn’t hustling as hard as I can,” he said. “When I came out in the second, I started hustling and when we hustled, we got interceptions.”
“We ended this how it was supposed to be ended,” said Cicuto. “We were [running] on all eight cylinders tonight – and no one thought little ol’ Glendale College would become bowl champs.”