Vaqueros Run Raiders Straight to the Plank

Aris Allahverdian

The Vaqueros football team finally ended its losing streak Saturday night, trampling the Moorpark Raiders 41-27 at Sartoris Field.

The Vaqueros, who had lost their last five games and struggled on offense, came out with a vengeance as running back Willie Youngblood ran with authority on Moorpark’s run defense while quarterback Steve Miller spread the ball throughout his receivers, showing how strong the team’s offense can be when on the same page.

“We expected to run the ball on them,” said Coach John Rome, and that’s exactly what his team did.

The Raiders came into the game winless at 0-8. Knowing that Glendale (4-5) had been struggling themselves, the Raiders were hungry for a win. Perhaps they felt Sartoris Field was the best place to do that, but the Vaqueros came out like heavyweight fighters with nothing to lose.

Miller completed 13 of 22 pass attempts with two touchdown passes and one interception, doing a better job this game of utilizing his receivers Euedell Clayton, Reinaldo Reyes, Brian Williams and Steve Batista. All made catches and ended the game with double-digit yardage, the longest being a 31-yard deep ball caught by Reyes, who had 43 yards on two receptions.

Although the passing game was on point, the running game was on a different level.

Youngblood and Anthony Dawkins shared carries, providing a strong double-headed run game for GCC. Youngblood had 32 carries for 258 yards, averaging 8.1 yards per carry.
Youngblood displayed his versatile ability to explode off the offensive line and utilizing blocks that were being set up for him. He took every chance he got as he rocketed through the gaps thanks to a strong offensive line that only gave up three sacks on Miller.

“Don’t quit. fight for it. if you never fought for it, fight for something, fight for every down,” Youngblood said after the game. “I’m proud of the o-line, the o-line did a hell of a job and the [defense] was hustling to the ball.”

Dawkins was the Vaq’s go-to-guy when they hit the red zone. Dawkins, with his large frame, is the bulldozer type of player with the ability to shove the defensive line back a few yards. Dawkins pounded in two touchdown carries for a total of 14 yards in the Glendale victory.

Glendale’s defense did an excellent job of applying intense pressure to the Raiders. Moorpark’s running backs suffered a tough game, as GCC’s run defense shut them down, holding them to 11 yards for the entire game. Moorpark’s quarterback Justin Bradley found more success through the air, as he completed 34 of his 64 pass attempts and an interception.

The Vaq’s defense was also aggressive. Glendale’s persistent defense forced Bradley to feel uneasy in the pocket, causing him to force most of his passes.

Glendale managed to score two defensive touchdowns in fourth quarter. Osa Aikhinobare intercepted the ball for a 23-yard touchdown return and Max Williams recovered a fumble, taking it back to the end zone for a 67-yard return. “We really believe if we did the right things that we could come out with the big win,” Rome said.

The win ties the Vaqueros for fourth place in the Northern Conference. If they beat Pasadena City College they can finish the season with a record of 5-5.

The game against the PCC Lancers is on Saturday at 7 p.m. at Sartoris Field.