Rice breaks records, Stags, 37-28
November 8, 1996
Above: Junior wide receiver Liron Wilson fully extends to grab a 47-yard
touchdown pass in the second quarter.
Above: Junior Robert Northrop (#17) sends a Stag head over heels on
a second quarter kickoff.
The Leopard football team continues to eat up and control opponents as it
again prevailed over a tough Claremont-Mudd-Scripps team at Zinda Field
last Saturday, 37-28.
The spotlight belonged to senior running back Anthony Rice as he sprinted
past the Stags' defense for 141 yards and four touchdowns, breaking the
ULV record for career touchdowns with 34.
Rice also needs only 257 more yards to break the long standing record of
most career rushing yards (2,661) held by Curtis Frick (1972-75) and 245
yards to break former teammate Anthony Jones' record for most rushing yards
in a season. Rice is also the current SCIAC leader in rushing and improved
on his standing Saturday.
The Stags did, however, come out very strong and ready to play as they received
the opening kick off and eventually scored on a 45-yard drive and 1-yard
touchdown run from Stags quarterback Bryan Banta.
The point after was no good and Claremont had the lead, 6-0, after a
good opening drive.
The Leopards had trouble on their first possession of the game as they only
managed to gain 12 yards on runs for 2 yards on two carries by Rice and
a pass from junior quarterback Ryan Hawkins to junior Fred Coffee for a
first down. La Verne eventually had to punt after a good defensive series
by the Stags and again relied on the defense to stop Claremont's momentum.
The big first quarter play for the Leopards came on the next La Verne possession
as the ball was handed to Rice on second down who broke away from the Stags
defense on a 46-yard sprint to the end zone tying the game at 6-6. The point
after by kicker Armando Hernandez was good and the Leopards had the edge
by one point, 7-6.
On the next drive, CMS looked tough as it completed two passes for 11 yards
and appeared to be threatening. On first down, however, the Leopard defense
found a huge seam in the Stags' offensive line and pummeled running back
Mario Duarte causing a fumble which was immediately recovered by senior
Brian Zavala giving La Verne the ball on the CMS 10-yard line.
On the next play of the game it was not a surprise when the ball was given
to Rice on first down who again beat defenders on a 10-yard touchdown run
giving La Verne breathing room at 14-7, after the PAT from Hernandez.
After a Stags fumble in the early moments of the second quarter, La Verne
again controlled possession in the Stags zone and on second down Hawkins
fired a 53-yard bomb to junior Liron Wilson for a touchdown, a dramatic
play bringing a roar of cheers over the visiting stands and boosting the
ULV lead to 21-6. The Leopards were fired up and the long touchdown pass
epitomized the great game by Hawkins, as he completed 12 out of 19 passes
for 255 yards and ran for 11 yards.
"It was the best game that Hawkins had played all year," said
head coach Don Morel.
CMS, slighted by the Leopards' lead, came back strong after the score and
drove the ball downfield to the La Verne 8-yard line. The defense proved
to be too much for the Stags and they had to settle for a field goal on
fourth and goal cutting the La Verne lead to 12 points heading into the
second half, 21-9.
Although the Leopards controlled the score in the second half, the Stags
held up strong and scored three times, but it did not prove to be enough
as the Leopards scored three more times as well, on two touchdown runs by
Rice and a field goal by Hernandez, to outscore the Stags, 37-28.
"Give them plenty of credit for stopping the rush most of the time.
I felt we were struggling most of the game," said Morel.
The win on Saturday was the sixth straight for the Leopards and they are
sizzling going into the last part of the season. La Verne is currently in
first place in the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference
(SCIAC) with a record of 4-0 in league and 6-1 overall.
ULV will take on Menlo tomorrow at home and hope to up their winning streak
to seven games as they head into tomorrow's season-ending match-up against
Redlands, currently undefeated in league play and second in SCIAC.