Photo by Chris Mora
LA VERNE, Calif. — The University of La Verne football team's offense rolled in the first half, and its defense made a crucial fourth down stop late in the game to secure a 33-25 opening day win over Puget Sound, Saturday afternoon at Ortmayer Stadium.
With the Loggers threatening at the La Verne 23 yard line and needing just eight points to tie the game, senior linebacker Connor Truhitte came up with a huge sack on first down to set up a second and fifteen with less than a minute to play. Three plays later on fourth down Torii Hilbert ended Puget Sound's last chance by breaking up a pass, handing the Leopards the ball with 10 seconds left in the game.
The Leopards showcased their offense early on, scoring on their first two drives of the game and jumping out to a 20-0 lead. Quarterback Josh Evans got the scoring started when he connected with DaeJohn Logan for a 56 yard catch and run for the opening lead. In their next series, Evans capped off the drive himself with a two yard run to extend the lead to 13 points.
Evans finished the day with 148 yards through the air on 9-14 passing. Robert Fernandez led the Leopards on the ground, rushing for 104 yards on 4.7 yards per carry with a touchdown. Michael Medina added 58 yards rushing.
Later in the second quarter, La Verne put together a 15 play, 90 yard drive, capped with a one yard touchdown run by Sam Taylor.
Tanner Diebold finished with 322 yards passing and two touchdowns for the Loggers.
Fernandez scored La Verne's final touchdown of the day on a seven yard run with 2:47 to play in the third quarter.
Kicker Eric Rembecky added a pair of second half field goals.
Puget Sound came to within eight points after they scored a touchdown with 5:57 left to play and added a two point conversion, setting up La Verne's late defensive stand.
The Leopards have a bye next week and return to action Saturday, September 16 when they head to Washington to play Whitworth. Kickoff is set for 11 a.m.
Watch: Postgame interview with Head Coach Chris Krich