Fumbling Promising Season Away

El Vaquero Staff Writer

The Vaqueros (3-5, 2-3) lost their third game in a row and their season as they lost 35-21 to Compton College (3-5, 3-2), Saturday at Moyse Stadium.

Glendale Committed four turnovers, including three fumbles and an interception. The loss leaves the Vaqueros out ofcontention for a bowl berth or a division title.

“As a team, it seems like we lost ourselves after the bye week,” Head Coach John Cicuto said. “It’s all in the players heads that they can’t win.”

Glendale was riding a two game win streak and a 3-2 record going into their bye week, but the momentum seemingly came to an abrupt end as the team lost its identity. The defense, which was the anchor of the team early in the season has greatly underperformed.

The Vaquero defense has given up a combined 118 points in the past three games compared to the five games prior to the losing streak in which they allowed a total of only 84 points. Three quarterbacks have had their way with the Glendale’s defense as each has thrown for at least three touchdowns in the losses.

“We’re just making costly mistakes on defense that’s allowing other teams to beat us,” Cicuto said.

Compton quarterback Ronnie Simpson had three touchdown passes on 190 yards and one interception.

The offense has steadily grown more comfortable as the weeks have passed, and they finally exploded against L.A. Harbor College last week for season-high 41 points in a losing effort.

“The offense has it figured out right now,” Cicuto said. “They are doing what the defense was doing earlier in the season for us, but the offense has made big costly mistakes.”

Simpson threw a touchdown pass with seven seconds left in the first half to give Compton a 13-7 lead. The Vaqueros were in good position to rally and make a comeback, but three fumbles, including two by running back Justin Tyler, who has been riddled by a hamstring injury all season, made it difficult for a comeback.

“Those fumbles were huge,” Cicuto said. “Tyler was running a good game, but none of it mattered when he lost the ball.”

The final lapse for the Vaqueros came as Evgeni Mameev was set to punt and the snap sailed over his head and Compton gained the ball at the Vaqueros’ 30-yard line.

Glendale was trailing by only a touchdown at that point, but the mishap led to a seven play drive capped off by a seven-yard run that put the game at 28-14.

After going five games without a single fumble, Glendale fumbled three times in the second half to put any hope of a win to rest.

Glendale quarterback, Steve Martinez also threw one interception and finished the game with 201 yards and one touchdown pass to Darion Donnelly who had 73 yards on four catches.

“The last few games have just been filled with mistakes for us and we need to stop,” quarterback Steve Martinez said.

“The problem with our offense was that we weren’t able to get the ball in the endzone when it really mattered,”Cicuto said. “We just can’t make big mistakes when the endzone is a few yards away.”

The Vaqueros run was led by Chris Berroud who rushed for 91 yards on 21 carries and an 11-yard touchdown. Justin Tyler added 66 yards on 13 carries and a one-yard touchdown.

The Compton plan to stop the Glendale offense was to play physical and get at all the Vaquero players. Glendale seemed disarrayed at times, scrambling to make plays.

“We knew that their (Glendale) offense was really sound,” Compton coach Cornell Ward said. “But we knew we had to get to their quarterback to throw off their timing.”

The plan was successful as Martinez was sacked four times for a loss of 20 yards and seemed unable to run from the pressure.

“They were just really physical and fast,” Martinez said.

With two games remaining on the schedule, the Vaqueros will look to salvage what they can of the season. Their next game is Santa Monica at 7 p.m. tomorrow. Their final game is Nov. 13 at 1 p.m. at Moyse Stadium against division leader Citrus College.

“These next two weeks will be a test of character for this team,” Cicuto said. “To go out there and play really hard like it’s a new season, will show what this team really has.”