Despite displaying a much-improved performance, the La Verne Leopards dropped their Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference opener to Claremont-Mudd-Scripps, 20-17.
In front of a crowd of 700 plus at Ortmayer Stadium, the Leopards took an early lead in the first quarter and maintained that lead until halfway through the final quarter when CMS scored the final touchdown of the game.
“Our defense was tough but we need to improve on scoring more points,” junior tight end Oscar Bauman said.
In a tough back and forth match, La Verne’s defense stood out as the team’s strong point.
Claremont-Mudd-Scripps opened up the scoring with a 33-yard field goal but that 3-0 lead was not maintained for long as senior wide-out Cedric Ho, who was a handful for CMS all game long, scored on a 55-yard touchdown pass from senior quarterback Thomas Arguello only a minute later.
In the second quarter, before junior running back Josh Jones rushed into the end zone at the 8:16 mark, CMS scored a field goal at the beginning of the quarter.
They finished off the quarter with yet another field goal, which brought the score to 14-9 going into halftime in favor of the Leopards.
After an outstanding second quarter display that saw the Leopards maintain the pigskin for 12 minutes, the team came out of the halftime break and only got to see the ball for a total of 11 minutes in the next half of the game.
Many of La Verne’s possessions saw Arguello rushing for big yard gains.
Arguello finished the match with 76 rushing yards and 156 passing yards.
“Thomas did a great job rushing, which we wanted to focus on coming into the game” said assistant football coach Richard Worsell.
CMS scored another field goal at the end of the third quarter.
In response, La Verne added a field goal of their own to open up the fourth quarter.
Spectators were treated to a very exciting remainder of the match as possession in the fourth quarter exchanged six times.
La Verne gave up the lead they enjoyed the entire game as CMS sophomore wide-out Greg Wilson scored his first career touchdown at the 4:41 mark to put CMS up, 20-17.
“That was my first career touchdown; I was really excited that it helped us take the lead,” said Wilson.
After the touchdown by Wilson, La Verne threatened to get on the scoreboard and regain the lead with a big gain catch by Ho.
Unfortunately, the play was called back due to a holding penalty.
Immediately following that penalty, Arguello threw for an incomplete pass.
This was followed by an interception which would be the play that sealed CMS as the winners of the match.
The Leopards would not see the ball again after that.
With the loss, the Leopards fall to a record of 0-3 and 0-1 in the SCIAC conference.
The Leopards take the field again at 7 p.m. tomorrow when they take on Occidental in Eagle Rock.
Kevin Parada can be reached at email@example.com.