APU no match for hard-charging Leos

Sweeping around the right side, running back Linza Williams flees Azusa Pacific’s defensive tackle Matt Brant and outside linebacker Chip Settle. Williams, a sophomore from Pasadena, is in his first year at ULV. / photo by Jeff Leard
Sweeping around the right side, running back Linza Williams flees Azusa Pacific’s defensive tackle Matt Brant and outside linebacker Chip Settle. Williams, a sophomore from Pasadena, is in his first year at ULV. / photo by Jeff Leard

by Greg Maher
Staff Writer

In San Francisco there were four: Joe Montana, Jerry Rice, Roger Craig and Ronnie Lott. In La Verne there are four: Ryan Campuzano, Anthony Rice, Dar­ren MacLellan and Sean Fenison. These four set the tone early for La Verne and the rest of the team followed, not missing a beat as La Verne rolled over Azusa Pacific University last Saturday, 47-7.

These players were able to receive much of the glory, but it was all made possible due to the effort of every member of the team. Senior defensive end Ty Youngblood said ,“if you want to know the reason we won this game, the bottom line is we played as a team and everyone gave 100 percent.”

La Verne began the night by scoring on it’s first five possessions.

The first drive established the running game as the La Verne offensive line dominated the Azusa defense. Behind this powerful line was senior running back MacLellan, who carried the ball on six consecutive plays. He was unstoppable, racking up 105 yards in the first quarter and finishing the night with 138 yards on 23 carries.

Junior quarterback Campuzano then hit sophomore wide receiver Rice for a 12-yard gain, followed by two incompletions which resulted in a field goal by junior place kicker Juan Contreras.

Azusa then brought its offensive unit on the field, and La Verne’s defense made them wish they hadn’t. They sent them packing and senior safety Fenison showed them the door by sacking APU quarterback Ben Focke for a 5-yard loss, which forced the Cougars to punt.

Campuzano heated up the next drive, quickly firing a pass to Rice good for 20 yards. On the next play the duo hooked up again, this time Rice was off for a 53-yard run down the sidelines for the touchdown. On the following kickoff APU fumbled and La Verne recovered. A few plays later it was another Leopard score when MacLellan leaped into the end zone.

Campuzano scored on the next drive on the bootleg, cruising into the end zone, making the score 23-0 at the end of the first quarter.

APU punted on its opening drive of the second quarter. Campuzano then hit Rice, who ran brilliantly upfield, then waited on his blockers to gain more yards when it seemed the play was over. Then MacLellan went to work again, scoring three plays later.

Azusa once again punted as it failed to generate offense. La Verne, faced with a fourth and long situation, had freshman tight end Ryan Sones fake a punt, scrambling 18 yards for the first down. From there, senior running back Bill Zernickow entered the highlight film by slicing his way into the end zone.

With 2:30 left in the first half, APU seemed to be holding on to a little glimpse of hope until La Verne’s senior defensive end James Donoho sacked Focke for a 10-yard loss. One play later Kevin White “laid hat” on an APU receiver forcing the Cougars to punt yet again. The first half clock ran out on La Verne before they reached the end zone again, but they took a comfortable 37-0 lead into the locker room.

After the defense was criticized for giving up 38 points to Menlo in a victory the previous week, they definitely stepped it up against Azusa. “They tried to establish a running game but we wouldn’t have that,” Youngblood said.

“The defense did a good job against the run and the pass,” said Head Coach Rex Huigens.

La Verne came out in the second half still displaying fierce intensity, continuing its total dominance of the game.

The Leopards quickly forced Azusa to punt, and three plays later Zernickow rushed for his second touchdown of the game.On La Verne’s next possession, Huigens sent in freshman running back Alvin Jenkins, who ran the Leopards into field goal range. Contreras made a 32-yard kick, adding three more points for the Leos.

The Cougars were once again denied illumination to the home portion of the scoreboard as sophomore defensive back Andrew Paredes intercepted an Azusa pass, killing another drive. Jenkins again ran well getting the Leopards back into field goal range, but a mishap during the field goal attempt gave the ball to Azusa. Junior wide receiver Carl Caston then began dishing out punishing hits, stopping the Cougar drive.

Huigens said he “hoped for a better effort than last weeks game.” Last week Huigens attributed the win to big offensive and defensive plays, not consistent moving of the football. “You can’t consistently rely on big plays to win.” Huigens stated that they did run and pass better this week.

Late in the fourth quarter, Azusa reserve quarterback Jim Lujan threw a 41-yard touchdown pass, which gave the Cougars their only score of the game.

Huigens was pleased with the overall performance and said “everyone helped, there were no individuals, we played as a team.”

Greg Maher
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Jeff Leard, Photography Editor
Jeff Leard
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