In the process, the Vaqueros defense shutout its opponent in the second half for the second straight game, but the offense could not find pay dirt when it counted, resulting in a tight regular-season finale that came down to final minute.
“Our games between us [and Citrus] have always been this way,” Glendale college Coach John Cicuto said. “This is one game where no one is going to blow each other out.”
The loss proved to be damaging not only in the Vaqueros hopes of capturing a division crown and possible invite into the State Playoffs, but also in their quest for a potential postseason bowl game.
Glendale college (6-4, 5-2) entered Saturday’s game ranked 13th in the Southern California Community College Football Coaches Association poll. The top-14 teams in the poll historically have been invited to a bowl game.
Against Citrus (6-4, 5-2) which is ranked No. 15, the Vaqueros got all they could handle for the second straight year, after suffering its first loss of last season to the Owls, 10-8.
The Vaqueros offense, which totaled just 125 yards and a touchdown in the first half as they trailed 17-7, finally awoke in the second half, but just not in time.
Trailing 17-10, Glendale college forced a punt and started a drive on its own 20 with 1:29 remaining in the game with the season hanging in the balance.
On the first play of the possession, quarterback Mike McDonald connected with Chris Bryant for a 29-yard gain. Two plays later McDonald found Chachi Spann across the middle, who hauled in a one-handed catch in traffic for 26 yards to get down the Citrus 25-yard line.
Following a sack for a 13-yard loss and two spikes, McDonald had the ball tipped away on fourth and 23 to end the drive and seal the game.
“It’s a credit to our defense,” Emerson said. “We are one of the best defense in the state right now.”
In the opening half, it was all Citrus.
The Owls built up a 17-0 advantage late in the second quarter on the strength of quarterback John Garcia.
Garcia opened up completing his first 16 pass attempts for 144 yards and two touchdowns
The Vaqueros passing game didn’t come alive until the fourth quarter, as McDonald finished 14 of 29 for 226 yards and an interception.