by Rosie Sinapi
With the regular season over, the Leopard football team has turned its attention to Minnesota, but the achievements of La Verne before the championships are, in a word, memorable.
The season started with a unforgettable play. Eleven seconds into the first game of the season, junior quarterback Ryan Campuzano pitched the ball to senior running back Darren MacLellan for a halfback option and connected with senior wide receiver Bill Battin for a 62-yard touchdown pass, accounting for the Leopards first points of the season.
La Verne began the season as defending SCIAC champs, having more than just their title to defend, but also a winning streak to extend.
In their first game, they faced Menlo and despite completing several memorable plays, it was to be the second closest game of the season, the Leos winning by a margin of four points, 42-38.
Cal Lutheran was another victim of the Leopard defensive unit, with junior linebacker Sean Fennison coming away from the game with 11 tackles.
“Offensively, we’re not relying on one guy to make the big plays,” said Huigens. “Different guys stepped up and made the big plays.”
While the offense was racking up points, the defense was denying them. The Leos’ strongest defensive game was against Whittier, where they held the Poets to just 200 yards, winning 36-6.
On Homecoming day, the Leopards sent Bulldog quarterback Bobby Hendrix running for cover with interceptions being the call of the game. Parra claimed one and junior Keith White claimed two.
Although it was looking close at the beginning of the game, after halftime Campuzano turned up the heat and blasted the Bulldogs in a 35-20 victory.
Campuzano finished the regular season with 1,624 passing yards on 108 completions and third in the league in rushing, with 211 yards on 80 carries. He has also racked up 66 points.
“This year we have a physical offensive line,” said Huigens.
Due in part to the line, players like Rice, MacLellan and Campuzano were able to do what they did.
“Anybody who plays well like Darren MacLellan is exciting for an offensive lineman,” said lineman Jeff Drouin. “Knowing he rushed for those kind of yards means a lot to me.”
It all molded together in La Verne’s last three games when they faced what many had expected to be the hardest games this season.
First came Chapman, where the Leos, despite being marked by unfounded rumors of watching the Panthers’ practice, came out on top, 36-33. Using the speed of their running backs and the accuracy of Campuzano, the Leopards kept pace throughout the game, but it was their defense that saved them.
Just barely holding onto the lead, free safety Kurt Van Fossen came through with an interception with less than a minute left and the ball on the La Verne 17-yard line.
“After that game, I thought we had a really good chance,” said Huigens.
When faced with Division III leaders John Shipp and Mike Cook of Claremont-Mudd-Scripps, the Leos were able to control the high-flying game of the Stags. All the while, MacLellan continued to rack up yards, breaking several school records during that game.
In the last game against Occidental, the Leos extending their winning streak to 13 games.
ULV Leopards Roster
1 Frank James WR JR 5-10 175
2 Jason Olejaniczak DB SR 6-3 191
3 Anthony Rice WR SO 5-10 180
4 Keith White DB JR 5-9 170
5 Doug DuBois LB JR 6-2 235
6 Carl Caston WR JR 6-0 200
7 Kurt Van Fossen DB SR 5-11 211
8 Ryan Campuzano QB JR 6-3 195
9 Parrish Jones WR JR 6-1 200
10 Michael Whipple WR SO 6-0 180
11 Neil Nakao DB SO 5-10 200
12 Fernando Benitez QB FR 6-0 176
13 Juan Contreras K JR 5-6 157
15 Lou Parra LB SR 5-11 231
16 Mark Reed WR JR 5-11 174
17 Anthony DeLaVara QB JR 5-10 174
19 Cory Cofer DB JR 5-10 185
21 John Baca DB FR 5-11 153
22 Bill Zernicow RB SR 5-11 220
24 Kevin White DB JR 5-10 200
27 Rob Graves DB SO 6-1 182
28 Bob Gleason DB SR 6-2 215
29 Alvin Jenkins RB FR 5-9 165
30 Chris Salabaja LB SR 6-1 221
32 Tim Lopez LB SR 5-8 209
33 Sean Fenison DB JR 6-3 220
34 Eric Martinez LB JR 5-10 241
35 Darren MacLellan RB SR 5-8 188
36 Bryan Fong WR FR 5-11 164
39 Stacy Crumpler LB SO 5-11 210
40 James Donoho DE SR 5-7 185
41 Linza Willliams RB SO 5-5 185
43 Jose Orozco RB SO 5-9 191
44 Kelly Mattson DE SR 6-2 254
45 David Neal LB JR 5-10 201
47 Tyrone Youngblood DE SR 6-2 258
49 Andrew Paredes DB SO 5-7 175
51 Andrew Moran OL SO 6-3 270
53 Al Andrade DL SR 5-10 235
55 Pat Samsomas OL SO 6-2 277
56 Sylvester Johnson DL FR 5-10 224
57 Jeff Drouin OL SR 6-0 325
59 Robert Cervantez DL SO 5-11 215
64 Richard Quesada OL SO 6-1 225
67 Joseph Bernal OL FR 5-10 204
69 Dan Fewx OL FR 6-2 286
71 David Sutton DL JR 5-11 240
72 Chris Buti DL JR 5-9 216
73 David Trujillo OL SO 6-3 310
74 Javier Arreola OL JR 6-1 245
75 Michael Pollard DL SR 6-0 275
77 Eduardo Quezada OL JR 6-3 288
80 Bill Battin WR SR 6-1 191
82 Athanasios Archontides WR SO 5-6 153
88 Steve Kogler WR SR 5-9 163
89 Ryan Sones WR FR 6-2 182
90 Scott Poskitt TE SO 6-3 235
91 Kurt Oliver RB JR 5-11 224
93 Will English TE JR 6-3 196
Head Coach: Rex Huigens
Offensive Coordinator: Don Morel
Defensive Assistant: Monse Estrada
Linebacker Coach: Steve Blair
Defensive Line Coach: Rick Gronda
Defensive Back Coach: Jim Langley
Running Back Coach: Mike Riggs
Wide Receiver Coach: Paul Schulte
Tight End Coach: John Yegge
Team Colors: Green and Orange