Football squad plans to take season one game at a time

Football players Chris Salabaj (#30), Kurt Oliver (#91), Linza Williams (#41), Rich Quesada (#64) and Parish Jones (#9) run hard during the last practice before Saturday’s season opener against Menlo College at home. The game starts at 1:30 p.m. in Ortmayer Stadium as the Leos prepare to defend their SCIAC championship. / photo by Ary Farajollahi
Football players Chris Salabaj (#30), Kurt Oliver (#91), Linza Williams (#41), Rich Quesada (#64) and Parrish Jones (#9) run hard during the last practice before Saturday’s season opener against Menlo College at home. The game starts at 1:30 p.m. in Ortmayer Stadium as the Leos prepare to defend their SCIAC championship. / photo by Ary Farajollahi

by Eric C. Paulsen
Editor in Chief

With the 1994 football season approaching, the University of La Verne football team has reloaded and is ready to make another run for the conference championship.

Last season the Leos ended the season undefeated in Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC), winning its first conference championship in 73 years outright. However, gone is SCIAC Player of the Year running back Danny Pasquil and the ever dangerous wide receiver/kickoff returner Craig Stewart.

However, Head Coach Rex Huigens feels that their is no extra pressure on this team.

“We just wanted to succeed and did, the expectations are pretty high for this team, and the players want to fulfill them,” said Huigens. The goal of the team is to win the conference by taking one game at a time in the main objective.

Although Huigens’ Leos lost some key players to graduation, he is excited about the players who return. Junior signal caller Ryan Campuzano with some experience under his belt after passing for 1,524 yards and 15 touchdowns, will again lead the offense. Campuzano’s receiving corps will be headed by senior Bill Battin, whose eight touchdowns paced the team. Rounding out the receivers will be returners senior Steve Kogler, junior Parrish Jones, and highly touted transfer Anthony Rice whom Huigens describes as a “small college guy with big school talent.”

Rice is coming to ULV via Washington State and Cal State Fullerton. At Washington State he started at defensive back in his freshman year, before going on to Fullerton to pursue baseball.

Filling the void created by the departure of Pasquil will be a number of people. Darren MacLellan returns, but has been hampered by preseason injuries that have limited his practice time. However, transfers Bill Zernickow and Linza Williams, and newcomer Alvin Jenkins has Huigens confident about his team’s running attack. One definite starter in the backfield is junior fullback Kurt Oliver, who Huigens explained understands his role in the offense to provide solid blocking for the other runners.

The offensive line lost three starters with only senior center Jeff Drouin and junior tackle Javier Arreola returning. The addition of junior transfer Eduardo Quezada strengthen the unit. “The offensive line is coming together and is going to be OK, maybe even better than last year’s,” said Huigens.

On paper the defense looks to be a dominating force once again this year with only four newcomers taking over starting roles.

“Our front four is going to be strong,” explained Huigens. The defensive line returns three starters and senior Davin Wright, a former starter, who is returning to ULV after a year absence. The defensive ends will be manned by two first team All-SCIAC players in seniors Tyrone Youngblood and Kelly Mattson.

Senior Michael Pollard, along with Wright, will clog the middle and make it difficult for opponents to run against the Leos will be the defensive tackles.

The Leos will be without linebacker and Defensive Player of the Year Rocky Wenrick, but senior Lou Parra, who Huigens said lost some weight and gained speed is looking like a force for the upcoming season. Parra will be paired with junior Doug DuBois, who transferred from Riverside City College has also impressed coaches in practice.

The coaching staff will be counting heavily upon the secondary, which has put two transfers into the immediate spotlight. Juniors Keith White and Cory Cofer are taking over the starting roles. All-SCIAC cornerback Jeff Eckler decided not to play this year.

“Up the middle we will be strong,” said Huigens of his safeties this season. The roverback will be senior Bob Gleason an All-SCIAC performer last year. At free safety will be senior Kurt Van Fossen and the strong safety will be junior Sean Fenison, who moved from outside linebacker.

The place kicking chores will go to NAIA Division I transfer Juan Contreras.

Huigens feels that Redlands, Occidental, Whittier and Cal Lutheran will all be strong and contending for the title. And that to win the title a team must stay focus and not look ahead because of the quality of the league.

“The strength of the conference is that anyone can beat anyone on any giving day. The league is very balanced,” said Huigens.

The Leos’ first game will match them against the Menlo College Oaks. Last year ULV won the game 38-21. The Oaks, Huigens explained are a big and physical team, which have a game plan to play “smash mouth” football. So the Leos will be tested in their first game of the season. “If we can meet their physical challenges, we can win the game,” he said. Huigens would like to see his team limit their first game errors.

“I like opening up with a non-conference team,” said Huigens.

Eric C. Paulsen, Editor in Chief
Eric C. Paulsen
“I think it is bullsh--, to be honest. I don’t know if race has anything to do with it or if the jury was actually scared to say anything, but I think there is enough evidence to convict the guy.” —Ary Farajollahi, Senior
Ary Farajollahi
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