MSJC football endured a seesaw battle against Glendale at home winning 59-42
■ By Corey Evan / Reporter
The best teams will not only emphasize their strengths, but also acknowledge their weaknesses. This truth was embraced by the Mt. San Jacinto College football team as they welcomed the Glendale Vaqueros for a Saturday afternoon football game on Sept 22.
Glendale won the coin toss, with MSJC deferring to the second half. This would instantly benefit the Eagles, as Corey Maddox took the ball on the opening kickoff and ran it all the way into the Vaqueros’ end zone for the first touchdown of the game. This first TD only took 15 seconds. But the Vaqueros found an opening, which Nate DeGraffinreaidt took advantage of to snag Glendale’s first TD of the day at 7:42. Chris Wood added the extra point and the Vaqueros took the lead. Vaquero Tyree O’Neil suffered a hit to the left leg at 4:22, which held things up a moment. But once they got going again, Brett Virgil took advantage of a Vaquero opening to run in a 76-yard TD with 3:11 left in quarter one. Edgar Delgado ended up going down as the Eagles kicked off at 3:04, the second injured player for Glendale. Jalen Lawrence avenged Delgado with a 61-yard pass from Nathan Eldridge to take the lead. With another extra point from Wood, the two teams scored a combined 26 points this quarter.
Having made progress toward the Vaqueros’ goal zone, the Eagles made their move and Brett Virgil took in the Eagles’ third TD at 13:43, with Semaj Wren completing their first successful two-point conversion of the day. As a result of the Eagles’ attempt at a squib, Vaquero Kastor Hinson hurt his knee, the third downed Glendale player of the day. At 11:55 a fourth Vaquero went down, Meher Torousian who was able to walk off the field, luckily. Adayus Robertson took in a TD for Glendale with 9:37 still in it, leaving an injured Eagle, Ryan Marty, in his wake. With the extra point by Shant Hennessian, Glendale was back in the lead. Virgil snagged another for MSJC at 4:42, with another two-point by CJ Sullivan to retake. Another injury here to MSJC Alonzo Bell at 1:27. As Eric Ellison snagged a TD to distance themselves at 1:18, another Eagle went down. This brought the total injuries of this game to seven. Then with just eight seconds to go, Semaj Wren brought in an Eagle TD putting the score at 40.
Clouds began filling the skies as the second half began. The Eagles benefitted from another Vaquero blooper, unsportsmanlike conduct, to put pressure on Glendale right away in quarter three. Sullivan caught a pass with his feet just barely in bounds to add another Eagle TD at 11:51. After an unsuccessful TD attempt by Ellison, Maddox followed him up with a successful 60-yard one at 9:07. But not happy to go down without a fight, Christopher Lee took advantage of an Eagle fumble to run in the Vaqueros’ fourth TD of the day at 1:54, with Wood adding a point.
The Eagles’ lead going into quarter four was 24. DeGraffinreaidt grabbed a TD at 9:31, and Hennessian added a point. But only 15 seconds later, James Phillips ran another TD home, with Victor Carbajal kicking in another point to push back against the Vaqueros. An eight yard reception by Lee added a TD, and Hennessian kicked in one more point just 2:55 from quitting time, shortening the Eagles’ lead to 17. The Vaqueros burned through their remaining timeouts less than two minutes from punching the clock, in a vain effort to hold off the Eagles. Lawrence got the Vaqueros one more TD, and with the extra point meant the Eagles’ win was by a narrow 10. The final score was 59-49 MSJC.
While Head Coach Casey Mazzotta is pleased with his team’s offense, he says that defense needs to step it up: “Not a very good effort on defense, in my opinion today; I think we’re a much better defensive team than we played today, and we knew that. But offense, they came out and played really well.”
Mazzotta also says that penalties against the Eagles’ special teams opened up many chances for the Vaqueros to attack.
Still, the Eagles remain undefeated in the 2018 season, currently 4-0. The Vaqueros have yet to win this season and are 0-4.