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Foes Stunned by Power of Glendale, No. 1 in the Nation

October 30, 1986|GARY KLEIN | Times Staff Writer

Moorpark Coach Jim Bittner has been watching what could best be described as scare films in preparation for the coming weekend. Bittner doesn't profess to be a fan of the horror flick and watching Glendale College--the top-ranked junior college team in the country--isn't making him any more fond of the genre.

"You look at film of them and you come away discouraged," Bittner said. "When you're analyzing film, you always look for weaknesses--and they just don't have any.

"They seem to take complete control very early in the game. The second half, well, you might as well turn off the film."

Glendale, 7-0 and 4-0 in the Western State Conference, has been shutting out the lights on teams all season. The Vaqueros have outscored conference opponents 189-0.

Last year, the Chicago Bears crushed other teams with their 46 defense. Glendale has been whipping conference opponents with a 47 offense.

Santa Monica Convinced

Glendale has won its last three games--against Hancock, Ventura and Santa Barbara--by identical scores of 47-0. The only time the Vaqueros departed from the familiar script was in the conference opener against Santa Monica, which Glendale won, 48-0.

"We thought that--possibly--we had just played a very poor game," Santa Monica assistant coach Ron Price said. "But Glendale has proven that they're for real. They don't do anything fancy, but they do everything well.

"I remember years ago they were the doormats of the conference, and now they're the best in the nation."

Glendale has made a steady rise through the junior college rankings. The Vaqueros opened the season ranked 11th in the country by the JC Gridwire and with each succeeding win moved a step closer to No. 1. Last week the Vaqueros were named the No. 1 team in the nation by the JC Gridwire and by USA Today.

'Best Talent' Ever

"There's no question that talentwise this is the best team we've had," said Glendale Coach Jim Sartoris, who is in his 15th season with the Vaqueros. "We're not having this type of season because we're coaching geniuses.

"We don't have an up-and-down team and that's probably the best kind. We don't have to rely on the players getting emotional to win. Our players don't rely on the rah-rah stuff as much as some other teams. We play steady and I just hope our guys realize that what got us here is good, solid consistent play."

Glendale has ascended to the top of the junior college football world with an 80-player roster that has given Sartoris depth through the third string.

"They have so many linemen I think they have to warm up in shifts," Price said.

The offense is averaging 428 yards a game and the defense has limited opponents to just 108 per contest.

The Key Is Depth

"They key thing is their depth," Ventura College Coach John Hancock said. "It allows them to have good competition in practice and keeps the first-stringer working to keep his job. And, in case of an injury, they have players that can step in without a drop-off in ability."

Said Santa Barbara Coach Bob Dinaberg, whose team was limited to 68 yards by Glendale last week: "You can have numbers, but it's not just that. All of their numbers are very good football players. Their linemen are superior. I've been in the conference 18 years and they're as good as some of the great Taft teams."

The Glendale offense is led by sophomore quarterback Rob Huffman, who has passed for 961 yards and 14 touchdowns.

Freshman running back Gene Harlin is 12th in the nation in rushing with 80 carries for 612 yards and eight touchdowns. Harlin has been so effective that he has forced Sartoris to move Kevin Sterling--who was an all-conference tailback last season--to fullback.

All-American in Line

Bill Schultz, an all-conference tackle from Kennedy High and a pre-season All-American, anchors the offensive line.

It is the Glendale defense, however, that is most responsible for the Vaqueros' dominance. Sartoris rotates nine defensive linemen to keep all players fresh, and the linebacker corps is two deep at every position. The defensive unit will be trying to tie the school record when it goes after its fifth shutout Saturday against Moorpark at 1:30 p.m. at Glendale High School.

"The defense really uses the shutout streak as a motivating device," Sartoris said. "At times when you're ahead in games, you have a tendency to back off mentally and let up. But since we play so many people, they've rallied around that streak."

The Vaqueros have never had an undefeated season in the program that began in 1928. Standing in the way is Moorpark (4-2, 3-0 in conference), which beat Glendale, 21-14, last season and ruined an otherwise perfect season for the Vaqueros. Moorpark quarterback Ken Lutz, who is redshirting this year at San Jose State, passed for 176 yards and two touchdowns that helped give the Raiders a share of the WSC title.

'Can't Wear Them Down'

"This year, once again, we're both undefeated in conference," Bittner said. "But this year, we don't have Lutz.

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