Football off to Slow Start This Season

Marlon Miranda, staff reporter

Defense changes while results stay the same.

After getting dismantled by the PCC Lancers 49-28 in their season opener, Los Vaqueros traveled to Costa Mesa on Saturday to face the Golden West College Rustlers. Costly turnovers and a stagnant offense led to a 34-7 defeat.

GCC had three fumbles, none more costly than the one in the opening drive of the game. The fumble set up the Rustlers first score and set the tone for the rest of the game. Coach John Rome was disappointed by the team’s performance and lack of ball control.

“Our ball security is absolutely horrible. We can’t fumble the ball in the first play of the game. It kills any chance to gain any momentum,” said Rome.

The Vaqueros dug themselves into a deep hole in the first quarter as they gave up 20 points to start the game. The Rustlers scored on their first three possessions. Rome felt that regardless of the score, the defense has improved.

“They started off slow. As the game progressed, I saw them getting progressively better and gaining more confidence,” said Rome.

The standout on defense was Matt Lopez, who led the team with four solo tackles and assisted in three others. Rome shuffled some players and changed the game plan after their first game.

Joseph Wiggan led the Vaqs in rushing with 45 yards. His longest run was a 13 yard dash. The Vaqueros found minimal success in rushing and depended heavily on short passes. Part of the reason the team couldn’t air it out was the lack of time qaurterback Kevin Hunter had in the pocket.

The second half started just like the opening tip, as the Rustlers scored 14 unanswered points. Golden West shut down the Vaqueros until the fourth quarter, when Hunter threw a 4-yard pass to Lawren Phillips in the final two minutes.

After being rushed out of the pocket and sacked four times, Hunter’s frustration grew.

“We couldn’t do anything. We punted six times. We need to move people around and it all starts with the offensive line. We got to go back and practice and need to get better in everything,” said Hunter.

Hunter completed 14 passes for 101 yards and a touchdown. His longest completion was a 17-yard pass to Matt Volland.

The team had no problem scoring in their season opener but regressed in its second game.

Despite the heavy blitzing, the game did not wreck havoc on Glendale’s confidence.

Rome is staying optimistic about the season. He feels that the team is young and raw, and as long as the players keep improving, the team should have it all together by the time the conference begins.

“We can go 0-4 and still go to a bowl game by winning our conference. The only thing that matters is our conference,” said Rome.

The Vaqueros next game is on Saturday against East Los Angeles City College at Glendale. The team will be looking for its first victory on their home opener.