In their last home game of the season, the Leopards lost 49-21 to the Cal Lutheran Kingsmen Saturday night.
Due to many missed scoring opportunities and consistent complete passes by Cal Lutheran, La Verne failed to come out with the win.The Leopards are now 3-5 overall and 2-4 in the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.
“With the overall result of a loss, I definitely don’t feel good about it,” senior wide receiver Jamar Johnson said. “I do feel proud about how hard my teammates played and I felt well prepared.”
Senior running back Ryan Zirbel rushed the ball for a touchdown with 13:25 left in the first quarter, putting the Kingsmen up 7-0.
Senior quarterback Brian Duboski gave the ball to senior running back Matthew Biggers, who rushed the ball giving the Leopards a touchdown with 9:43 left in the first quarter, tying the game 7-7.
“I felt that our offense was ready to prove as unit,” sophomore wide receiver Bryan Okereke said. “We can definitely dominate as a team.”
With 54 seconds left in the quarter on the La Verne 6-yard line, sophomore quarterback David Rico rushed into the end zone, scoring another touchdown, 14-7.
Although the Leopards made the effort to make a touchdown, Duboski’s pass intended for junior wide receiver Jon Lilly was intercepted by junior defensive back Edward Davis of Cal Lutheran with 1:51 left in the game.
Cal Lutheran was able to score yet another touchdown extending its lead to 21-7. Duboski made a solid pass to Lilly, scoring a touchdown at 12:01, as La Verne was down by just one touchdown, 21-14. Rico, made consistent complete passes, as Cal Lutheran rose the score to 35-14, by the end of the third quarter.
“I felt like we as a team played with heart,” Okereke said. “Although the score was against us, I believe that my team will still be all in no matter what.”
With the quarterback switch, freshman quarterback Michael Lauck gave the ball to Biggers, allowing him to score, putting La Verne down by just three touchdowns, 42-21.
In the fourth quarter, La Verne was focused on scoring to be ahead in the game.
When it was fourth down, the Leopards went for it, getting the first down to move forward, closer to the end zone.
But La Verne was unable to score another touchdown, allowing Cal Lutheran to capture the victory.
“The results were disappointing and upsetting because we have worked so hard for this season but we keep coming up short,” sophomore running back Travis Sparks-Jackson said. “For next week, we can’t give up and we have to go out there and play like we know we can for four quarters and get that last win.”
The seniors were also honored before the start of the game for their hard work this season and for playing their last home game at Ortmayer Stadium.
“It felt like a ball of emotions,” Johnson said. “I was happy, proud and blessed to have gotten a chance to play this game tonight.”
The next and last game for the football team is at 1 p.m. Saturday at Occidental.
“The biggest thing to improve on for this next game is playing consistent with big plays,” Johnson said.
Jolene Nacapuy can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.