The Vaquero football team ended its lackluster season with a 3-7 record. Despite an early 2-0 start in conference play the Vaqueros could not keep the intensity up through the season.
On Nov. 23 they had a chance to upset the Moorpark Raiders, but late personal fouls were too much for the Vaqueros to overcome against the eventual WSC champions.
The 35-14 loss was tough for coach John Cicuto, who believes that the penalties were the biggest factor in the game.
Penalties such as the ones against Moorpark followed the team all season long. This a real shame for a football team that is filled with so much young talent. While some players placed the blame on the coach, Cicuto said,
“The year was filled with so much promise, and a group of so many athletes that it was a shame that the season ended the way we did.”
“I did not get the leadership that I was expecting from some of my sophomores and it showed in the way we conducted ourselves on and off the field. I also take some of the blame; I was not doing my job in finding ways to improve the program.”
Cicuto added that “we did not do what teams in the past have done to win. The guys that teachers would call about were the same players that arrived late or left early from most of our practices.”
A few players quit the team during the season, claiming that the coaching staff did not offer enough support. One player who decided to quit was running back Willie Latham.
Latham was a standout early in the season, replacing the injured Kartrell Clayton. Latham was averaging over 100 yards a game, but his role was diminished when a healthy Clayton returned to the lineup.
He left the team after a win against Santa Barbara, and hasn’t been heard of. He couldn’t be reached for this article.
During an interview with the El Vaquero early in the season, Latham praised the coaching staff, thanking Cicuto for giving him a chance to play football once again after having been out of the game for a while. But he apparently couldn’t handle playing in Clayton’s shadow.
Despite missing several games early in the season, Clayton made all-WSC second-team for his stellar work in back field. Clayton ran for 632 yards on 118 carries and six touchdowns.
Offensive lineman Art Lopez made first team all-WSC.
Receiving honorable mention were wide receiver Del McGee, running back Tyrone Burwell, and a member of the offensive line, which Cicuto called the “heart of the football team,” center Michael Ruiz.
The defense also received some acknowledgment for their hard work this season. The list includes lineman Clayton Ketchum, linebacker Chris Lovejoy, and defensive back Othniel Hinckson, who were all named to the all-WSC second-team.
Defensive lineman LeRon Braden was named as honorable mention.
When asked about next season Cicuto said, “We are going to hold players accountable from the first meeting of the year until the last game of the season next year.”
Glendale has 25 players returning to the gridiron, which should make the team a big threat going into next season.
With the large number of returning players, the Vaquero faithful should expect a more aggresive and experienced team.