In the biggest game of his career, quarterback Joe Kroells played his best game as a Vaquero Dec. 1 in Santa Monica.
Kroells threw two touchdown passes, and was named MVP of the second annual U.S. Bank Beach Bowl as the Vaqueros ranked 14th in the Commission on Athletics poll, defeating the 11th-ranked Fullerton College Hornets 28-13.
“I thought it was one of our best offensive performances,” offensive coordinator John Rome said. “When Joe plays very well, offensively we click.”
The first touchdown was a 21-yard pass to wide receiver Michael Bautista in the first quarter, and the second was to Jonathon Overtruff for 14 yards. Bautista made two receptions for 29 yards, and Overtruff made two receptions for 25 yards.
Maligned much of the season for his inconsistent play, and not staying in the pocket, Kroells hit 13 of 20 passes, and ran when he had to gaining key first downs to keep the offensive drives alive. Kroells ran for 40 yards, and 10 carries.
“It is a great feeling and a team victory,” Kroells said.
Following a one-yard touchdown run by Fullerton College quarterback Brian Bartczak in the first quarter, Kroells came right back to lead Glendale on a five-play drive, for 75 yards, that ended on the touchdown pass to Bautista. The score was set up on a 41-yard pass to receiver David Catchings. It was his only catch of the game.
“The first touchdown was a perfectly called play, and the second one I was patient, and I found him [Overtruff] in the end zone,” Kroells said.
In the third quarter, Glendale took the lead for good. First, on a one-yard touchdown run by Kartrell Clayton, and then on the Overtruff touchdown reception. Clayton, the Western State Conference’s leading rusher with 915 yards, led Glendale with 129 yards, on 25 carries, and two touchdowns.
Glendale, (7-4), out-rushed Fullerton, (6-5) with 247 yards to 83. Glendale running back, Wes Jones had 75 yards, on 18 carries.
“The passing game was successful in the first half, but Fullerton got into a different coverage, so we ran the ball more the second half,” Clayton said.
For a defense that has been suspect all season, along with holding Fullerton with only 83 rushing yards, Glendale forced Fullerton into three turnovers, and Fullerton converted two of 10 third-down conversions.
“We did what we wanted to do,” defensive back Randy Beckman said. “We didn’t let them have any big plays, and we smacked them around on the field.”
On consecutive possessions in Glendale territory in the third quarter, Fullerton was unable to convert a fourth-and-seven from the Glendale 36-yard line, and on their next conversion, Bartczak was for a 9-yard loss.
With Fullerton trailing 21-13 in the fourth quarter, Bartczak threw an interception from his own 16-yard line to Kenny Garcia, which set up the second touchdown by Clayton.