Going on the road to face the No. 21 team in the nation, La Verne lost to the Occidental Tigers, 45-7, Saturday.
“We killed ourselves in missing opportunities,” said Leopards’ senior offensive lineman Albert Perez. “We executed our plays, but it was finishing them off that hurt us.”
The Tigers hammered away at the ULV defense in the first half as Occidental scored first with a field goal by Alex Groh, making it 3-0.
The home team would later complete a touchdown on an 8-yard pass from Occidental quarterback Justin Goltz to receiver Rocky Caisulli, and follow with a successful extra point by Neil Martin with 41 seconds remaining, ending the first quarter at 10-0.
As the second quarter commenced, ULV’s offense still struggled against the Occidental defense, while the Tigers scored another touchdown when Goltz threw a 29-yard pass to receiver Joseph Coverson.
Martin kicked the extra point in to make it 17-0.
The Tigers would get another touchdown by a run from the Tigers’ Jason Haller, and another successful kick from Martin, making the game 24-0 at half time.
However, ULV was not done yet.
As the third quarter got underway. ULV junior cornerback Grant Woods intercepted a pass from Goltz, swinging the momentum to ULV suddenly.
The Leopards capped off a long drive with 36-yard pass from ULV quarterback Doolittle to junior receiver Grady Thomas, putting ULV on the scoreboard, 24-7, following a successful kick from freshman Taylor Hart.
However, Occidental would recover quickly and became unrelenting in its pressure on ULV.
Haller scored again for the Tigers with a 13-yard run, and with the extra point, increased its lead to 31-7 and end the quarter.
In the fourth quarter, Occidental did not let up. The Tigers scored yet again within minutes, increasing their lead to 38-7.
One more touchdown put the final score at 45-7.
Doolittle finished the game with 172 passing yards and one touchdown, while Thomas had game-high of 117 yards on four catches.
On the defensive side, junior linebacker Jason Carpenter had seven tackles and sophomore linebacker Branamier Courtney who led the team with eight.
ULV accumulated 333 yards on 66 plays, but Oxy was more efficient, gaining 498 yards on only 63 plays.
The Tigers also exhibited a superior passing attack as Goltz completed 23 of 29 attempts, while Doolittle managed to get 15 out of 36.
“There’s lots to improve on,” acknowledged senior defensive back Jon Farmerie. “But we’ll do better, much better.”
The Leopards will host Whittier Saturday for their Homecoming game.
“We’re hungry for a victory this Saturday,” said junior fullback David Merlos.
“I haven’t lost a college game yet against Whittier,” Farmerie said. “I’m not about to start now.”
Dan Sayles can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.