Football dominates in season finale

Football dominates in season finale

LA VERNE, Calif. — The Leopards finished with 690 yards on offense, their defense forced four turnovers, and the University of La Verne football team dominated on its way to an 82-14 rout of the Whittier College Poets Saturday afternoon at Ortmayer Stadium.

Season Finish: The Leopards finish the season on a high note and end with a 3-5 overall record and 2-4 in SCIAC play. Whittier finishes 0-8 overall and 0-6 in the conference.

Offensive Standouts: James Gonsalves led the way for the Leopards, finishing with five rushing touchdowns. The sophomore, who had a breakout game last week against the Sagehens rushing for 132 yards, had a career day totaling 258 yards on the ground on just 13 rushes for a 19.8 average. The Martinez, Calif. native scored the game's opening touchdown on a 21 yard run just over eight minutes into the game. 

Josh Evans had his best performance of the year. The quarterback threw for 219 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions. Evans extended La Verne's lead to 14-0 late in the first quarter on a 55 yard catch and run to senior Jelahny Garnett.

Garnett finished with two touchdowns and 73 yards receiving. Grayson Kline led all players with a career-high 86 receiving yards and a touchdown. 

Defensive Standouts: The defensive unit for the Leopards was outstanding, allowing just 291 total yards. Alex Olivas had a big game in his final outing as a Leopard. The senior picked off two passes and recorded seven total tackles in the game. 

Leading the Leopards with nine tackles was fellow senior Connor Truhitte. The linebacker also forced a fumble and recorded two tackles for losses. Robert Bagley III, Kyle Kelly, and Cameron Graham each finished with a sack. 

Jose Aguero, Dalton Johnson, and Bagley each totaled seven tackles.

Derrick Nubia added two tackles for losses, adding to the unit's 12 TFLs in the game.

How it Happened: After La Verne was stopped on fourth down on their opening drive, the Leopards rolled, scoring touchdowns on 12 of their next 14 drives.

With the Leopards leading 14-7 after one quarter of play, La Verne put the game away in the second quarter scoring 34 points. 

Gonsalves opened the scoring just eleven seconds into the quarter on a 60 yard run to put La Verne up 21-7. After the Leopards' defense forced a three and out highlighted by a blocked punt by Mason Thomas, Evans connected with Kline for a seven yard touchdown to complete a seven play, 50 yard drive. 

On the Poets' next drive, Olivas picked off a Miguel Avina's pass to give the Leopards the ball and their own 16 yard line. Gonsalves needed just one play to extend his team's lead, breaking away for an 84 yard run to put La Verne up 34-7.

The rout was on after that with Gonsalves and Garnett each finding the end zone one more time before the break.

Marshall Faulk got in on the scoring in the third quarter, scoring on a 10 yard run for his first touchdown as a Leopard.

Junior quarterback Noah Whitney made the most of his time on the field, punching the ball in from 21 yards out to put the score at 69-17.

Offensive lineman Michael Brown got in on the scoring late in the game. The senior lined up at tailback with just over six minutes to play and ran the ball in from two yards out.

Sam Taylor scored the final touchdown of the game with just under a minute to play. 

Kicker Eric Rembecky stayed busy, converting 10 extra points in the game.

Senior Day: The Leopards honored seniors Jose AgueroRussell BoucherMichael BrownRobert BrownJelahny GarnettAndre GonzalezIsrael GutierrezChristian HernandezDerrick HooksDalton JohnsonMichael MedinaDerrick NubiaAlex OlivasAaron Raya, and Connor Truhitte in a brief pregame ceremony.