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Special-teams slips seal Vaqs' fate

Football: Costly gaffes in kicking, return game cost Glendale Community College winnable game.

October 22, 2011|By Gabriel Rizk

It may be a bit if a stretch to conclude that the Glendale Community College football team’s 35-13 Pacific Conference American Division loss to West Los Angeles at Sartoris Field Saturday night came down to a blocked first-half extra-point attempt, particularly considering the Vaqueros were outscored, 21-0, in the second half after trailing by one at the break.

But if the missed point wasn’t quite that which the game turned on, it was certainly a harbinger of misfortunes to come, as it turned out to be the first domino in a special teams collapse that also included two game-changing Wildcats kick returns and a missed field-goal attempt to end the first half, all of which factored heavily in the Vaqueros’ seventh loss in as many games this season.

“We’ve given up big plays and that’s a big-play offense,” Glendale Coach John Rome said of West L.A. (5-3, 4-0 in conference). “But if we have a better execution on those special teams [plays], we’re better and it’s a different outcome.”

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After falling behind, 7-0, after allowing a quick 40-yard touchdown drive on West L.A.’s opening possession, capped by LeAnd Thompson’s 18-yard toss to Henry Christian, the Vaqueros (0-7, 0-3) bounced back when Matt Lopez scooped up a Wildcats fumble and returned it six yards to the West L.A. 29-yard line with 13:24 left in the second quarter.

The turnover set up a six-play scoring drive ending with quarterback Anthony Carter’s two-yard keeper, but, after getting backed up 10 yards on consecutive procedural penalties, Helio Guerra’s extra-point attempt was blocked.

Glendale continued to build momentum anyway, forcing a three-and-out for West L.A. and countering with a 10-play, 89-yard drive that saw Joseph Wiggan give Glendale a 13-7 lead with a 19-yard rush with 3:30 to play in the half.

The Vaqueros gave the lead right back, for good, 12 seconds later when Travis Cabral ran the kickoff back 81 yards for a touchdown.

“We miss an extra point, which is always sort of disheartening,” Rome said, “but to immediately allow a kickoff return for six when we were up, at that point, what should have been 14-7, I think is a critical turning point in this game.”

Glendale would start at its own 40 with 3:18 left after the ensuing kickoff and drove to the West L.A. 16, where a 28-yard field goal attempt by Guerra was no good.

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