Photo by Shane Rodrigues
Here are five things to know as the La Verne football team begins its SCIAC title defense on Saturday at Thousand Oaks.
1) Quarterback Josh Evans emerged as a star for the Leopards against Whitworth. The sophomore ran for 229 yards and three touchdowns on just 16 carries, seven of which went for 10 or more yards. He was 14-of-26 passing and threw for 156 yards and two touchdowns. For his heroics, he was named to D3football.com Team of the Week.
He is now averaging 192.5 passing yards and 152.5 rushing yards per game on the young season and has seven total touchdowns.
2) The Leopards boast one of the best offenses in the nation. La Verne ranks seventh in NCAA Division III in total offense with 566.5 yards per game and second in rushing offense with 374 yards per game on the ground.
But the Leopards face a stiff test against a stingy Cal Lutheran defense that ranks 48th in total defense. The Kingsmen have allowed only 97.5 yards per game on the ground and their opponents have managed just three yards per carry.
3) Cal Lutheran quarterback Adam Friederichsen has had early success throwing the ball. He is averaging 274.5 passing yards per game and tossed four touchdowns. He's already at the halfway mark of his touchdown total from last season (8).
The Leopards held Friederichsen in check in last year's matchup between the two teams. La Verne held Cal Lutheran to just 173 yards passing and a touchdown while sacking Friedrichsen twice and intercepting him once.
4) Sophomore defensive tackle Austin Brown will play a big role in stopping Friedrichsen. The Leopards have lost five of the top six tacklers from last year's matchup, but Brown made four tackles, including two for loss, in that game.
He was all over the field against Whitworth, making 10 total tackles including a sack and had pass breakup.
5) La Verne wide receiver Alex Arellano had the best game of his career against Cal Lutheran last year. He torched the Kingsmen secondary with 18 receptions for 223 yards and two touchdowns.
He remains the No. 1 option in the passing game. In the first two games, Arellano caught 11 passes for 222 yards and two touchdowns.