“Our defense allows us to play with anybody, from Canyons to Bakersfield to El Camino, anybody,” Glendale Coach John Rome said. “Offensively, if we could just muster two touchdowns a game, we would be 6-0.”
Although these Cougars (5-2, 2-1) have lost a few teeth since running the table at 10-0 in the regular season last year and coming one win away from the state title game, the effort by the Vaqueros defense, which has allowed no more than one offensive touchdown in three of its last four outings, was thoroughly impressive.
Canyons was held to just under half of its average offensive scoring production and limited to 222 yards of total offense, over 124 yards below its average per game. The Cougars were forced to punt eight times in 11 possessions, with five of those punts coming on three-and-out drives. Special teams kept the Vaqueros in the game as well, coming up with a first-quarter fumble recovery on a punt return, courtesy of Stephon Crutchfield.
Only once did the Doug Bledsoe-crafted defensive unit get burned, on a 41-yard touchdown run broken by Anthony Johnson for a 7-0 lead with 7:24 elapsed in the game.
But, aside from an 81-yard, 12-play scoring drive to kick off the third quarter, capped by a six-yard touchdown pass from Steve Miller to Brian Williams that pulled the Vaqueros to within 7-6 at the 8:33 mark, there was no help to be had from the offense.
“Injuries to the offensive line have had a major impact,” Rome said. “I’d have see how we played, but it looks like [Miller] had some pressure in his face and it kind of forced him to be a little bit erratic.”
Still a touchdown and two-points away from tying the game, Glendale was unable to get a first down on either of its next two possessions.
Brown made two big plays on the Cougars’ final drive of the game that kept Glendale from getting a third shot, converting on third and 11 with a 19-yard run and completing a 15-yard pass on third and 15 inside of the final two minutes.
Glendale used four different players to try to jump start the running game, with Burroughs High graduate Joe Wiggan (61 yards in 10 carries) enjoying the most success.