First published in the Dec. 24 print issue of the Burbank Leader.
By Alex Leon
Special to the Burbank Leader
The view from the empty press box at Glendale Community College’s Sartoris Field was something that Nick Garcia had never seen before.
From that viewpoint, Garcia looked down at the expanse of green turf and the end zones marked “Glendale” that have been his athletic home for the past two years as the Vaqueros’ quarterback.
Previously, Garcia played for John Burroughs High School in Burbank, but now the quarterback enjoys fall seasons on GCC’s field where fans in the bleachers cheer for the team at every home game.
As Garcia looked out at the empty field, he reflected on his student-athlete career. Recently, the quarterback broke the 23-year GCC record for career touchdown passes, topped 4,000 yards in career passing yardage and almost led the Vaqueros to a league title.
While the season did not end with his team celebrating the title, instead finishing the season with two straight losses, Garcia’s unheralded accomplishments might make him one of the most prolific passers in GCC history.
“I never expected to accomplish all that I have but being underestimated because of my size or anything else has kind of motivated me to overachieve, and I guess that’s what my legacy will be,” said Garcia, who stands 5 feet, 9 inches tall.
“I appreciate everything Glendale College has done for me, everything my teammates and I have been through together and what the coaches have taught and prepared us for,” he said.
“I have loved every minute of wearing No. 3 and being a Vaquero.”
Following the season-ending losses to Citrus and Santa Ana colleges, Garcia can be proud of cementing his name in the GCC record book — with his 54 career touchdown passes, besting the previous 44 by Mike Frost in 1998-99, and his 4,524 career yards, which are second only to Frost’s 5,192.
Another impressive feat in Garcia’s career is his 60.2% completion percentage, 353 passes completed out of 587 passes attempted. In 2022 alone, he completed passes to 21 different receivers.
“The quarterback always gets a lot of credit or blame, depending on how the wins and losses go, but I was blessed to not only have a great offensive line but receivers that I can’t say enough about,” Garcia said. “To have my locker right next to No. 1 Artis Cole, No. 2 Nick Johnson and No. 4 Caleb Snowden, not only great players but great people, gave us the opportunity to bond and connect that I will never forget.”