In a matter of two games quarterback Steve Martinez has transformed the stagnant offense of Glendale (3-2, 2-1) into a high-octane scoring machine, reaching its pinnacle on Saturday as Martinez slammed his former school for an offensive season high 35 points.
Martinez was on the bench the first few weeks of the season watching as then starting quarterback Kenneth McDanial seemed to lose command of the field as Glendale’s scoring declined from 24 the first week to 10 and then finally seven points in week three. Sensing a need for change, Head Coach John Cicuto inserted Martinez into games and the result has been a come-from-behind victory at West L.A. last week and an invigorated offense with a new starting quarterback.
“He did extremely well moving and distributing the ball,” Cicuto said after the East L.A. game. “He’s making me look like a real good offensive coach.”
Martinez finished the game with 121 yards on nine of 15 passing. He played his best in the second half connecting on five of six passes to secure the win and prove that he can lead this team.
“This is the best feeling I’ve felt after any game,” Martinez said. “Getting to start and lead this team is great.”
Martinez received a lot of help from his running backs as they stampeded through the Huskies defenders like they were props on the field. Chris Berroud and Justin Tyler both scored on short runs in the first quarter to give the Vaqueros an early 14-0 lead.
Berroud finished the game with three rushing touchdowns on carries of 3, 43 and 56 yards and finished the game with 132 yards on 17 carries. Tyler had 42 yards and Brandon McCullough chipped in with 40 yards and a rushing touchdown. Glendale racked up a total of 268 rushing yards against East L.A.
“Our offense really stepped it up today,” Cicuto said. “We can run, we can throw so we’re going to give teams problems.”
East L.A. does have a tendency to allow teams to have their way on offense allowing an average of 400 yards a game and have been on a 14-game losing streak reaching back to last season, but their offense could have potentially caused problems for Glendale. The team was aware of this and spent all week preparing and it paid off. Led by a defensive back Steve Porter’s interception the Vaquero defense limited the Huskies offense to 230 yards on 68 plays.
“This is a team [East L.A.] that was supposed to mess us up, because we’ve never really played a passing team,” Porter said. “We did a good job reading coverages and getting in the way of passes.”
Huskies quarterback Narciso Diaz threw 44 times and connected 28 times for 216 yards, including two touchdown passes to Zaven Paronian, but looked to have problems finding receivers in the second half.
Glendale changed its approach in the second half sending more pressure at the quarterback.
“We were rushing only three guys in the first half and that gave their quarterback time to find receivers,” Cicuto said. “In the second half we began bringing in more people and that seemed to work.”
The Huskies scored their two touchdowns in the first half and seemed to have problems advancing against the quick hands of Glendale. East L.A. also had problems running the ball as the Vaqueros swarmed them every chance they got.
“The Glendale defense was very good, especially in the second half,” said Zaven Paronian who had East L.A.’s only two touchdown receptions.
Martinez, Janos Serfozo and Albert Perez all used to attend East L.A. College and were excited to battle against old teammates. All three were very vocal about their appreciation for the program at Glendale and were quick to point out why the Huskies are 4-31 since the start of the 2001 season.
“East L.A. promises a lot of things, but never acts on it,” Sefozo said. “Glendale has a great program and coaches unlike East L.A.”
Perez added that discipline is lacking for East L.A. and that Glendale coaches make sure that the their squad is organized and prepared for each game.
As for the season, the Vaqueros have a bye week, which may not be so beneficial since they are riding a two game win streak and gaining momentum. None of the players seem to want to stop and are going to use the week off to rest and prepare for Ventura (3-2, 2-1) on Oct. 16 at Ventura at 5 p.m.
Martinez riding the high of the win boldly stated that after the bye week they are going to prepare and do something no one expects them to do.
“We’re going to run the table the rest of the way,” Martinez said. “I think if we play our game no one is going to beat us.”