Hundreds cheer GCC’s final home football game

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BY DARRELL JACKSON, Glendale Star Reporter

Photo by Darrell Jackson
Shown is part of the estimated 250 fans attend the final home GCC football game Nov. 3 at Matt O. Hanhlla Stadium.
 

Photo by Darrell Jackson
GCC head coach Michael Bell paces the sideline just before kickoff of the final home game for GCC football.

Photo by Darrell Jackson
The referee holds the final coin flip before the Nov. 3 Glendale Community College versus Phoenix College football game at Matt O. Hanhila Stadium.
 

“How do you not have the refs here for what is possibly the final home football game,” Glendale resident George Garcia said. “This is such a disgrace and a kick in the face to everyone playing and here to support these kids.”

As the final seconds clicked off the clock at Matt O. Hanhila Stadium Nov. 3, hundreds of fans stood and cheered in what may be the final football game for Glendale Community College.
During the final GCC home game, approximately 250 fans t attended and were forced into a nearly two-hour wait as referees had not arrived at the stadium in time for the scheduled 1 p.m. kickoff.
“How do you not have the refs here for what is possibly the final home football game,” Glendale resident George Garcia said. “This is such a disgrace and a kick in the face to everyone playing and here to support these kids.”
As fans cheered the players, they were quietly hoping the Nov. 6 election would change and the sport would return to the field.
“This decision is just so crazy because the numbers (the board) has released do not make sense and they are eliminating chances for hundreds of kids to attend college,” Glendale resident James Gunner said. “I attended community college and it helped me continue my education and become a lawyer.”
Fans were upset that there was no announcement or honoring of former teams, coaches and players.
“How can you not mention it with a program that has had the history that GCC has had over the years?” Glendale resident Sandra Dobson asked. “They have won national titles and you are not even going to mention that? How can you do that to the people that have played here?”
GCC won National Junior College Athletic Association National Championship titles in 1998, 2000, and 2005, and the 2005 team is the only team from Arizona to be inducted into the NJCAA Hall of Fame. GCC has won the Valley of the Sun Bowl 19 times, the top bowl game for Arizona Community College football.
Maricopa County Community College District announced Feb. 5 that 2018 would be the final season of football at GCC, Scottsdale, Mesa and Phoenix, with Pima announcing later in the year they would also end their program at the end of the season.
“A difficult decision has been reached regarding the MCCCD football program; we will eliminate football following the upcoming 2018 season as a MCCCD sponsored sport,” Glendale Community College President Teresa Leyba Ruiz said in February.
Thousands of former players and coaches have been fighting to save the program, hoping the Nov. 6 election results would change the direction with four MCCCD board seats up for election.
“This doesn’t feel like the final game, it feels like just another game,” Peoria resident and former student at Phoenix College Daniel Davidson said. “I came because I wanted to support these kids and thought they would at least mention the former teams or players and they did nothing. It makes no sense and shows what they really think of these kids.”
Glendale defeated Phoenix 52-28 and will play its final game 1 p.m. Nov. 10 at Scottsdale Community College.

 

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