by Matt Paulson
The University of La Verne football team has cancelled its Saturday game against Azusa Pacific University in honor of teammate Rollie Dykstra, who remains in critical condition Thursday after suffering a serious head injury.
The contest was scheduled to be the Cougars’ homecoming game and the 38th matchup between the two teams.
“I believe it really says something positive about our perspectives on college athletics at the University,” head coach Don Morel said. “We wouldn’t be fully focused on playing a game; Rollie is foremost on our minds.”
APU’s athletic director Bill Odell expressed the utmost sympathy for the Leopards’ situation and agreed with the decision to cancel the match up, he said.
The decision follows the cancellation of the second half of last Saturday’s game.
With 8:14 left in the second quarter, play was stopped to allow Dykstra to receive medical attention.
Following consideration by both coaches, it was decided that the remaining time in the first half would be run off the clock, and the two sides would go into the locker rooms early for an extended halftime.
After further thought by the presidents, coaches and athletic directors of both institutions, the decision to cancel the remainder of ULV’s homecoming game was reached.
“You can’t go wrong by making that call,” athletic director Jimmy Paschal said. “You have 200 people on the sidelines who have no interest in playing.”
Everyone involved in the game felt the inevitable shock of the situation.
“There are certainly more important things than football,” Paul Alvarez, athletic training clinical experience supervisor, said as he fought back tears. “The energy that would have been used to play football should be used to say some prayers.”
Dykstra’s teammates also agreed with the decision, and their hearts are with their fallen teammate.
“No one really wants to play. We’re like a family,” junior kicker Ian Britt said.
Dykstra, a native of Redlands, had close friends on both sides of the gridiron Saturday.
“Both teams felt it,” junior Bulldog Les Simon said. “I think it was a smart choice. You hate to see a game end like this, but it’s for the best.”
Journalism operations manager at the University of La Verne. Production manager and business manager of the Campus Times.