After a close fought second half that saw the Gauchos hold the lead for the majority on Sept. 19.
Two costly turnovers in the closing six minutes would prove to be too much for Glendale Community College’s football team to overcome in their 24-20 loss to the New Mexico Military Institute Broncos.
The Gauchos, who played a relatively mistake free game until the closing minutes, held a 20-17 lead until a broken up screen pass from quarterback Dylan Touvell to running back J.J. Granados resulted in a fumble, that was then recovered by the Broncos and returned for a touchdown with 5:21 minutes left in the game.
The Gauchos would respond by charging down the field, aided by a strong short passing game and a couple of costly penalties by NMMI, until a would-be game winning touchdown from Touvell to wide receiver Shawn Poindexter was ruled incomplete in the end zone. The very next play would result in an NMMI interception of a Touvell pass that would seal the game in favor of the Broncos.
Cornerback, Nate McLaurin (31), attempts to shake a blocker during the game Sept. 19.
Prior to the game, Head Coach Mickey Bell expressed his concern in protecting the ball and preventing turnovers. “We’re making too many mistakes,” Bell said. “Turning the ball over, now that’s a killer! You won’t win many games when your turnover to takeover ratio is in the negative, and that’s kind of where we’re at.”
The Gauchos were able to get a couple of key turnovers as well, intercepting two of the Broncos passes and following each interception up by putting points on the scoreboard. The first came with 6:34 minutes left to play in the first half when safety Justin Poindexter’s interception led to a 42 yard field goal by kicker Patrick Murray, tying the score at 10-10 as the teams went into halftime.
The second interception would come only a few minutes into the second half, when linebacker Seth Manzanares jumped in front of a pass from NMMI quarterback Conner Cramer and ran into the end zone for the touchdown. This would give the Gauchos their first lead of the game, 17-10.
GCC had quite a few bright spots to build off of for their next game, this Saturday, Sep. 26 at Snow College in Ephraim, Utah. Late game turnovers aside, the Gauchos played a very well-disciplined game, committing only six penalties for a loss of 49 yards, compared to NMMI’s thirteen penalties for a loss of 126 yards.
The offensive line put on a strong game as well, allowing for 134 yards rushing and only two sacks. Running back Corey Brown also had a big game, rushing for 125 yards and a touchdown on 28 carries.
The Gauchos win-loss record after the game dropped to 1-3. Despite the rough start to their season, Coach Bell is confident that his team can still have a successful season as long as they keeping working on fixing their mistakes.
“We’re beating ourselves as much as anybody’s beating us,” Bell said.