Photo by Rob Ruben, Crossview Studios
THOUSAND OAKS, CA — The University of La Verne football team surged in the third quarter and came up with a huge defensive stop in the waning seconds of Saturday's game to beat the Cal Lutheran Kingsmen for the second year in a row, winning 26-20 on the road.
Leopards fans experienced deja-vu watching the final drive unfold. In similar fashion to the last season's match-up between the two squads, the Leopards held onto a one-possession lead with the Kingsmen driving in La Verne territory.
Trailing by just six points with a fresh set of downs and 1:11 left to play, Cal Lutheran quarterback Eli Peters found a man open over the middle of the field but junior linebacker Conner Johnson closed in fast, timing his hit perfectly to break up the pass.
On the next play, freshman defensive end Derek Shay forced Peters to scramble and caught him from behind for no gain. After a short completion brought up fourth and six, Cal Lutheran rushed to line up and got the snap off with under 15 seconds to play. Peters hurled a pass down the left sideline but cornerback Jordan Peevy leaped up and snatched the ball away, intercepting the pass at the one yard line to seal the win for La Verne.
La Verne rolled offensively, averaging seven yards per play and finishing with 376 yards on the ground.
James Gonsalves and Martaveous Holliday both passed the century mark. Gonsalves racked up 136 yards, gaining 78 of them when he broke a tackle just past the line of scrimmage and bolted down the sideline for the Leopards' opening score. Gonsalves leads the Leopards and ranks third in the SCIAC with seven touchdowns.
Holliday finished with 104 yards and a score. Elijah Washington rushed for 72 yards, capping off a 14 point third quarter for the Leopards on a five yard touchdown rush.
How it Happened
After the Kingsmen took a 7-6 lead after their first possession of the second quarter, the Leopards answered with an 11 play 86 yard drive. Gonsalves and Holliday carried the load for the Leopards on the drive each racking of 19 yard rushes before Holliday powered his way into the end zone on a three yard carry.
Cal Lutheran briefly retook the lead when Christian Antezana converted a 51 yard field goal to put his squad up 13-12.
The Leopards were quick to answer. On their next possession, Holliday broke off a 54 yard rush to get to inside the Kingsmen's red zone. Three plays later quarterback Sam Taylor connected with Grayson Kline for a 16 yard pitch and catch that gave La Verne the lead for good.
Washington got in on the action late in the third quarter, breaking away for a 66 yard rush to get to the five yard line and then finishing the drive one play later to put 26-13.
The Leopards improve to 3-3 in SCIAC play and 3-5 overall. The Kingsmen drop to 2-4 in conference play and 3-6 overall.
The Leopards close out the 2018 season next week on the road against the Chapman Panthers. Game time is set for 1 p.m.Watch Live Follow ULV Athletics on Twitter Like us on Facebook Watch on Youtube Follow us on Instagram