The Vaqueros dominated the Allan Hancock Bulldogs in the first half at home Saturday, but a key injury to quarterback Kevin Hunter derailed their morale and chances against the Bulldogs, leading them to a 41-17 defeat.
In the first half, GCC ran the ball effectively. Joseph Wiggan and Timothy Broughton ran for a combined 109 yards. Wiggan scored on a 8-yard run in the second quarter. Hunter threw for 123 yards and including a 54-yard touchdown to Darren Marrow in the second quarter. Hunter had an impressive 70 percent completion rating.
DESPITE OUTSTANDING DISPLAYS OF TALENT THE VAQS CAME UP SHORT: In the beginning of this two-part slideshow, Vaquero running back Joseph Wiggan (#4) finds the hole, then drags a Bulldog (#50) first through mid-air then across the goal line in this 8 yard touchdown play. In the later half, Vaquero wide receiver Darren Morrow grabs an over the shoulder pass for an outstanding score in the fourth quarter against the Allan Hancock Bulldogs. The Vaqueros still lost 41-17. Slideshow credit: Richard Kontas
Offensive linemen Ronnie Marquez felt that the offense was finally coming together, and that by playing tougher teams in the pre-season, it will help them play better when the conference begins.
“We just took it to them, we know we can beat this team [Bulldogs]. We did what we wanted to do on offense and they couldn’t stop us. When Hunter went down it all unraveled,” said Marquez.
The pivotal part of the game that changed the outcome happened during the third quarter. Hunter threw a deep ball to a wide opened Jamaal Johnson. Johnson stumbled and dropped the ball. Hunter then threw an interception and bravely catapulted himself with reckless abandonment and tackled the defender to prevent the pick six.
On that tackle, as the defender flipped in the air, his knees hit Hunter on the hip, which took Hunter out the game.
“I thought going heads up with him would be a bad idea, so I went for his legs. When we collided, I felt a sharp pain in my hip. We got pride, we proved to ourselves we can beat anyone. We where taking it to them and doing what we wanted,” said Hunter.
After the injury to Hunter, the Vaqueros didn’t score again. Their three turnovers led to 20 unanswered points. What started as a close game turned into a blow out.
Head Coach John Rome was impressed with how the team was growing and coming together. He knew that the score wouldn’t indicate how well the Vaqueros played.
“The biggest factor was our quarterback getting injured,” said Rome. “Losing him was the turning point. We got better on offense, the score is not an indicator on how well we played. We vastly improved on our defense and especially our defense against the run.”
The loss drops the Vaqueros to 0-4, but team morale has never been higher. The conversation in the locker room was nothing but positive after the game. The team’s unity and pride have never been better.
Offensive linemen Steven Escaboza feels like the best is yet to come.
“We became a team today. Our defense stepped up and created turnovers. We are sticking to our fundamentals on offense and learning more game by game,” said Escaboza.
Daniel Cruz, defensive linemen, sees a positive road ahead, regardless of the Vaqueros’ record thus far.
“Every team in our conference has a bad record,” said Cruz. “We have the advantage by playing tougher teams. We could have beat the Bulldogs but it all went downhill after losing our quarterback.”
The next game is on the road against Los Angeles Valley on Saturday.