Football surges in 4th, wins on Senior Day

Football surges in 4th, wins on Senior Day

LA VERNE, CA — Nathaniel Sagastume gave the Leopards the momentum late with a 70 yard punt return to the house and the University of La Verne football team used a 14-point fourth quarter to beat the visiting Occidental College Tigers 24-14 Saturday afternoon.

Turning Point

Sagastume's score brought life back into the game for the Leopards. The Tigers' best defense was simply holding onto possesion and keeping the Leopards' offense off the field. Occidental did just that in the third quarter, keeping the ball for over 10 minutes in the period before Khary Sanders took down Gabriel Ramos behind the line of scrimmage to bring up fourth and 17.

On the first play of the fourth quarter, Sagastume fielded Nathan Gray's punt on the 30 yard line, made the first man miss, and raced up the middle to extend La Verne's lead.

Play of the Game

After the Tigers scored to cut La Verne's lead to 10 and recovered the ensuing onside kick, Raymond Moronez made a huge play for La Verne. Occidental Quarterback Joshua Greaves sent a deep pass over the middle and Mornonez, in one-on-one coverage, made a leaping interception to seal the game for the Leopards.

Offensive Leaders

Martaveous Holliday led the Leopards on the ground with 81 yards rushing including a 45 yard touchdown scamper on La Verne's second possession. 

Quarterback Josh Evans threw for 94 yards and rushed for another 81 yards. Grayson Kline finished with 52 yards receiving. 

Diego Garcia was consistent as usual, making all three of his extra point attempts and nailing a 42 yard field goal as time expired in the first half.

Defensive Leaders

Andrew Camargo led the Leopards with eight tackles to go with a pass breakup. Sanders finished with eight tackles, two and a half tackles for losses, and a sack. 

Linebacker Preston Carr had a big game finishing with six tackles, two of them for losses. Senior Austin Brown finished with one and a half tackles for losses and a sack. Brown leads the SCIAC with 6.5 sacks.

Conner Johnson and Brandon Aragon each added five tackles.

How it Happened

It took La Verne a drive to get adjusted to Occidental's triple-option attack. The Tigers took advantage, driving 61 yards on their first possession culminating in a two yard touchdown rush by Jake Willemsen.

It didn't take La Verne long to respond. Evans opened the Leopards' next possession with a 20 yard rush. Holliday grabbed the ball next breaking a tackle in the backfield and then making the safety miss on the way to the end zone. 

The Leopards caught a break at the end of the second quarter when a pass interference call on the Tigers put La Verne into field goal range. Two plays later, Garcia's field goal put the Leopards up 10-7 at the half. 

After a third quarter stalemate, Sagastume's return and a 15 yard run by Sam Taylor's gave La Verne a comfortable 24-7 lead. 

But Occidental kept battling, cutting the deficit to 10 after Greaves found John Isaac Cordova in the back of the end zone. The Tigers made things interesting, recovering an onside kick to keep their chances alive. The chance didn't last long with Moronez picking off Greeves three plays later.

Season Impact

With the win, the Leopards improve to 2-5 overall and 2-3 in conference play. Occidental drops to 0-6 overall and 0-5 in the SCIAC.

Next Game

The Leopards head on the road for the final two weeks of the season. They play at Cal Lutheran next Saturday at 1 p.m. and then travel to Chapman on November 10.

Veterans' Recognition

The Leopard donned red, white, and blue "LV" decals in honor of the over 700 active duty and veteran students across the University's 11 campuses.

Senior Day

The Leopards honored 17 seniors playing in their final season at La Verne in a brief pregame ceremony. 

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