by Pattie Moreno
By the end of the first quarter of play, the University of La Verne Leopard football team found itself in a spot. Chapman University built a 21-0 lead only to let it slip away in the fourth quarter to see ULV win, 35-34.
La Verne’s offensive attack was lead by senior transfer running back Anthony Jones, who rushed for 181 yards on a school record 41 carries behind a strong offensive line. But it was an 11-yard touchdown reception that gave the Leos the victory.
“Everything we expected to go wrong, did,” Jones said. “But we knew it would be a tough game, and we bounced back, thanks to a great offensive line and [quarterback] Ryan Campuzano.”
Chapman rushed for a total of 359 yards, as opposed to La Verne’s 204. In the first half, Chapman threatened to increase its lead. With the ball at the La Verne 35 yard line, Chapman quarterback Curtis Robinson attempted a pass to Oscar Ford, but senior defensive back Keith White batted away the ball in the end zone.
“I felt that the receiver was a good athlete and I knew I had to play the ball instead of relying on stripping the ball from his hands because he was already in the end zone,” said White.
“We made some defensive adjustments and played hard [in the second half]. The guys lined up right, and all that matters now is that we won,” said senior Doug Dubois, the Leo defensive captain who was injured in this game. It is probable that he will also sit out tomorrow’s game against Redlands.
In the second quarter, senior Carl Caston returned a 50-yard interception for ULV’s first touchdown of the game. The Leos continued their comeback and trailed at halftime, 27-15.
The Leopards still had a hard time as Chapman’s Darnell Morgan wove through several La Verne defenders who could not stop his 77-yard touchdown run, increasing the lead to 34-15.
But Chapman did not respond fast enough, and on the next possession Campuzano connected with Anthony Hayes for a 69-yard touchdown
“At one point in the game, I turned to Anthony Jones and said, ‘This is my senior year, we all get tired but we have to keep going, and it will all be worth it,’” Campuzano said.
Chapman kept turning the ball over to the Leos as La Verne’s Roman Holston, a junior, intercepted a pass at the 3-yard line.
In the fourth quarter, the suspense began to build when Campuzano scored ULV’s next touchdown behind the offensive blocking of sophomore Dan Fewx, senior Ed Quezada, juniors Andy Moran, Scott Poskitt and Pat Samsonas. The touchdown brought La Verne to within five points, 34-29.
The last 4:44 of the game seemed like an eternity as the La Verne defense got tighter and tighter.
With 4:26 remaining, Campuzano completed the touchdown pass to Jones, who scrambled into the end zone to give the Leos the lead for good, 35-34.
“The difference in the second half was we were unable to hold on to the ball, we had too many turnovers,” said Chapman Head Coach Ken Visser. “La Verne is a great team.”
The game was sealed on a great defensive play by Keith White, who on fourth down, with 2:30 left in the game, deflected a pass from Robinson.
“We will take the win,” said Don Morel following his first win as head coach. “Chapman is a very good team, and I will be surprised if they lose a [another] game this year.”
ULV will travel to Redlands tomorrow for its first Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) game at 7 p.m.