Photo by Katie Pyne
WHITTIER, Calif. — The La Verne football team dominated the ground game on both sides of the ball to rout Whittier, 41-14, on Saturday at Memorial Stadium.
But it wasn't Parent's touchdown scamper or multiple chunk gains by Fernandez that were memorable. In a true spirit of teamwork and selflessness, both Parent and Fernandez stepped out of bounds inside the opponent's 10-yard line with daylight between them and the paydirt in the second half to allow a pair of senior teammates to score their first career touchdowns.
On La Verne's first offensive possession of the second half which started on Whittier's 27-yard line, Parent shook loose and looked to be on his way to an easy score but stepped out just outside the 5-yard line. Senior Justin Manson, a four-year contributor, then took the next carry into the endzone for his first career touchdown and put the Leopards up, 27-7.
The Poets fumbled the ball away on the ensuing kickoff, giving the Leopards another prime field position, this time at the 17-yard line. Fernandez broke free on a 3rd-and-3 from the 10, but like Parent, stepped out at the six-yard line. And just like Manson, senior Michael Medina took the next handoff and dashed into the endzone for his first career score and essentially put the game out of reach.
The Leopards ended the day 352 yards on the ground while the defense stifled the Poets to minus-1 rushing yard and held the Poets to just 96 total yards.
La Verne finshes the 2016 season 2-7 overall and 2-5 in the SCIAC. Whittier wraps up its season without a win, going 0-9.
Seniors featured in passing attack as well. Senior Zachary Tomlinson was 12-of-16 passing for 119 yards and two touchdowns, both of which went to fellow seniors. The first strike went to La Verne's all-time receptions leader Alex Arellano in the first quarter to give the Leopards a 14-0 lead and the second touchdown went to Shawn Kagan, who hauled in the first touchdown pass of his career to give the Leoaprds a 41-7 lead.
Even senior defensive lineman Josh Hardy got in on the action, hauling in a two-yard touchdown pass from Fernandez on a trick play to open the scoring.
The Leopards were everywhere on defense as well. La Verne forced three fumbles, recovering two. The Leopards also recorded three sacks and totaled seven tackles for loss. Hardy had six tackles and a sack. Mikael Bunse tallied four tackles, a sack and a forced fumbe. Alexander Martinez had two tackles, a sack and a forced fumble.