Vaqs Lose to Pierce in Nailbiter

Nik Brkic

A funny thing happened to the Glendale College football team Saturday night in a 42-40 loss to Los Angeles Pierce College. They found themselves playing one of their best matches despite a disappointing defeat as a two-point conversion failed with no time left on the clock.

To be in a position to tie the game after trailing by two touchdowns in the fourth quarter was a victory in itself. The Vaqueros came into the game with a 0-5 record and the visiting Brahmas at 3-2 were considered one of the best offensive teams in the Pacific Conference.

But despite trailing 14-0 at the end of the first quarter, 28-14 at the half and 35-20 at the beginning of the fourth quarter, the gutsy Vaqueros never backed down from the heavily favored Brahmas.

Head Coach John Rome talked about some of the things that were positive from the game. “We had growth in our offense,” Rome said. “Our quarterback play was better and our wide receiver play was better.”

Sophomore quarterback Steve Batista kept the Vaqs in the game all night as he passed for a career best 305 yards and four touchdown passes to four different receivers. He also completed 18 of 32 passes with one interception. Patrick Donohue was the leading receiver for Glendale with nine passes caught for 181 yards and one touchdown. Reinaldo Reyes, Anthony Quiroz and Eugene Gandara each caught scoring passes from Batista.

Glendale faced an uphill battle all night and trailed 14-0 early in the second quarter when running back Ra’Shon Harper scored from three yards out to make it 14-7 after the extra point from Arian Abghari. Quiroz caught an 18-yard scoring pass from Batista following another Pierce score to make it 21-14 after the point after from Abghari.

But once again, Pierce came right back to score and made it 28-14 at halftime, following a four-yard scoring pass from Exavier Johnson to Nate Ingram with one minute left in the half. Pierce seemed to score at will all night but the Glendale defense played well enough to hold the vaunted Brahmas offense to 393 yards of total offense compared to 487 for Glendale.

Sophomore linebacker Jacob Meza paced the effort with 12 tackles, seven solo, and Oscar Gladden added eight more. Eddie Smith and Thaddeus Brown each intercepted passes.
Both teams traded scores heading into the fourth quarter as Pierce led 42-27 with 11 minutes left in the game after running back Daniel Lopez scored on a 33-yard run. But it was all Glendale after that point as Batista connected with Reyes to make it 42-34. After Abghari’s fourth PAT of the night, Batista hit Gandara with a perfectly thrown 13-yard strike in the corner of the end zone with no time left on the clock to make it 42-40 in favor of Pierce.

Glendale lined up for a two-point conversion that would have tied the game at 42, but Batista was stopped short of the goal. As Pierce celebrated the victory, Glendale could only take solace in what could have been. Even though they lost, the Vaqueros grew in confidence as a team and now look forward to playing another day.

Glendale’s next game is Oct. 23 at West Los Angeles College at 1 p.m. after a bye this week.