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Vaqueros' season concludes with overtime loss

Football: GCC rallies, but can't score in overtime, as it falls to Southwest, 56-50.

November 15, 2011|By Edgar Melik-Stepanyan, Special to the Leader

NORTHEAST GLENDALE — It wasn't an ideal season for the 15 sophomores on the Glendale Community College football team, but Saturday night provided an opportunity for the Vaqueros to end their playing careers as winners.

To their coaches, they were winners on Saturday.

But on the scoreboard, they weren't, despite a valiant effort in a heart-wrenching game.

L.A. Southwest College made sure that it was the team that got to celebrate a win for its sophomores.

The Cougars ruined the Vaqueros' sophomore night, defeating Glendale college, 56-50, in overtime in a Pacific Conference American Division game at Sartoris Field.

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"These kids are undefeated when it comes to dealing with adversity and not quitting," Glendale college Coach John Rome said of his team, which finished the season 1-9, 1-5 in conference.

"I'm going to miss these guys so much."

Ezekiel Graham helped ensure a Cougar victory and a bitter end for the Vaqueros.

The L.A. Southwest freshman running back had 222 rushing yards in 23 carries and scored three touchdowns, with his last proving to be the game-winning score.

Graham – who finished the season with 1,321 rushing yards in 181 carries, averaging 7.3 yards per rush – scored from one yard out in the first overtime in the extra session's initial possession.

"We knew he was going to be elusive and quick, and we were going to try to slow him down, but it was hard," Rome said of Graham, who also caught five passes for 47 yards, as the Cougars gained 589 yards of total offense and became the fifth team to score more than 40 points against the Vaqueros.

Glendale college had an opportunity to tie the score and win — the Cougars botched the extra point — but the Vaqueros gained just one yard in four tries, and quarterback Kevin Hunter's fourth-down pass was deflected, sealing L.A. Southwest's win.

"They didn't make any mistakes," Rome said.

Glendale college lost its first seven games of the season before rebounding with resilient efforts in the past three weeks. It defeated Santa Barbara, 38-17, on Oct. 22 for its first win before losing to Santa Monica, 47-41, at home on Nov. 5.

A finale against a struggling L.A. Southwest team (4-6, 3-3) allowed the Vaqueros the opportunity to end the year with a win and have something to build on for the 2012 campaign.

But it was apparent from the first quarter that the Vaqueros might be in for a long night.

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