Football successfully smothers Stags

Since transferring from Azusa Pacific last year, senior running back Bill Zernickow has contributed as a kickoff and punt returner. Zernickow has compiled 873 all-purpose yards for the undefeated Leos this season. / photo by Jeff Leard
Since transferring from Azusa Pacific last year, senior running back Bill Zernickow has contributed as a kickoff and punt returner. Zernickow has compiled 873 all-purpose yards for the undefeated Leos this season. / photo by Jeff Leard

Bridget M. Rohrer
Staff Writer

La Verne’s football team successfully defeated the Clare­mont-Mudd-Scirpps Stags last Saturday and smo­thered NCAA Division III passing leader, John Shipp, in a 45-22 victory.

The game also featured superb line blocking which allowed senior Darren MacLellan to rush for 294 yards, a single game record, and 1,253 a single season record. He also moved to second on the career rushing list with 2,270 yards.

The Leopards first score came at the 10:13 mark with a 1-yard plunge by MacLellan to give La Verne a 7-0 lead.

Late in the first quarter, Shipp, completed a pass to wide receiver Michael Cook, who then proceeded to bounce off several La Verne players to score a touch down. The point after was unsuccessful and the Leos led 7-6.

In the second quarter La Verne quickly scored on a 1-yard run by sophomore Anthony Rice.

On the Stags’ next possession, La Verne’s defense forced Shipp to throw three straight incomplete passes, resulting in a punt.

“Ty Youngblood (senior) did well,” said Rex Huigens, head coach. “He put a lot of pressure on them and succeeded.”

La Verne’s offense moved the ball at will against the Stags. Junior Ryan Campuzano completed passes to Rice and senior Bill Zernickow to get the Leos to the 5-yard line. With fourth and goal at the 1-yard line, the Leos came out with a full house back field and MacLellan ran in to the end zone for his second touchdown of the day. At half time the score was 21-6 La Verne.

“I felt that the offense was a little stagnant at times,” said Offensive Coordinator Don Morel. “However, any time we score points I am thrilled.”

The second half, La Verne came out with an aggressive attitude on defense. Claremont could not get things rolling as Shipp was continually pressured. On third and 15, Shipp was picked off by junior Keith White.

After trading punts, La Verne began a drive at Claremont’s 36-yard line. Playing like a team on a mission, La Verne began to gel. Campuzano handed the ball to MacLellan for a 12-yard gain. Campuzano then completed a 7-yard pass to Zernickow to place the ball at the 24-yard line. After moving the ball down to the 9-yard line, Campuzano was forced out of the pocket and carried the ball to the 1-yard line. MacLellan finished the drive with a 1-yard dive to give La Verne a 28-6 lead.

ULV was on a roll all afternoon and continued to move in the same direction when junior Doug Dubois picked up a fumble by Claremont.

MacLellan ran 28 yards, but the Leos could not move much further. Junior Juan Contreras kicked a 31-yard field goal, giving La Verne a 31-6 lead.

Claremont made it easy for La Verne to score another touchdown with 26 seconds left in the third quarter to give La Verne a 38-6 lead.

“Our defense played exceptionally well, today. They executed well and did exactly what we planned,” said Huigens.

The Stags didn’t give up easily. They scored two more touchdowns and brought the score to 38-22 La Verne, at the 10:57 mark.

It was in the fourth quarter that the Leos wrapped things up and left Claremont with yet another win under their belts. MacLellan continued to be a team player and carried the ball for another touchdown to give the Leos a 45-22 lead at the 7:22 mark. La Verne ran out the clock and won the game with a final score of 45-22.

“Darren was phenomenal. He played a very good game,” said Huigens.

He is looking forward to tomorrow when the Leos host Occidental College. Huigens feels he has to work on a defense that will stop the run because Occidental runs the option well.

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