Football winless as third time is no charm

by Chad Harp
Staff Writer

Determined to get the winless monkey off their back, the University of La Verne’s football team headed to Pasadena to face Occidental last Saturday, but due to numerous turnovers, the Leopards headed home with a 29-23 loss.

Coming into the game the two teams stayed neck and neck as the score was tied at seven after the completion of the first quarter. But the Leopards found themselves trailing by three heading to the locker room after the half.

Coming out for the start of the second half, the Tigers drove to a quick score and a 20-10 lead with 12:16 remaining in the third quarter before the Leopards made their run at victory.

With the third quarter winding down, and after getting stuffed at fourth and goal, the late season-shape Leopard defense took the field trying to keep the 20-10 deficit the same. Lining up for the first play of Occidental’s drive out of their own end zone, La Verne found itself in need of a stop and score.

Trying to get more room to work with, the Tigers ran a quick slant route, but the Leopards’ Lydell Willis was in the passing lane, and he was able to intercept the pass. He trotted two yards into the end zone to make the score 20-17.

Down by only a field goal, the Leopards’ found themselves in good position due to the ample leg of kicker Flynn Turner. Needing only a defensive stop and the offense to get into field goal position, La Verne started to see the light of their first win.

The Leopard defense knew what it had to do, and went out and did it.

Stopping the Tigers, the La Verne offense drove the ball through the Occidental defense, and into field goal territory.

But the Leopards were not done.

In easy field goal range, the Leopard offense continued driving into the heart of Occidental territory as the third quarter came to an end.

Keeping up the drive in the fourth quarter, La Verne found themselves entering into the Tiger red-zone. This time, however, they were not looking for the tie, but the go ahead touch down.

The Leopards continued the drive, and attempted to head into the end zone to gain a fourth lead. But the Leopard offense coughed up the ball on the two-yard line.

The loose ball wandered across the goal line, and the Leopards’ hopes were smothered, as an Occidental defender gained possession of the ball and a touchback ruling.

Taking the ball out to the 20-yard line, the Tiger offense drove 80 yards in 12 plays, while eating up 6:50 off the game clock before scoring on a Kamron Jones 6-yard run with 4:53 remaining in the game.

Following a kick by Matt Erickson, La Verne found themselves down by ten again with less than five minutes remaining in the game.

After the Leopards drove the length of the field, they scored off on a Travis Lerma 2-yard run with eight seconds remaining. With the game nearly over, the Tigers blocked a kick by Turner and returned it to make the final score 29-23.

Following another disappointing loss, the Leopards find themselves with a monkey that is growing heavier and heavier on their backs. With continued special team problems and more turnovers than a bakery, the Leopards need to make some changes to earn their first win.

The Leopards look to get that long awaited first win at 1 p.m. tomorrow at Pomona-Pitzer.

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