Leopards' 4th Quarter Rally Falls Short

Leopards' 4th Quarter Rally Falls Short

LA VERNE, CA — Quarterback Matthew Albright provided a much-needed spark for the Leopards in the fourth quarter and gave the University of La Verne football team a chance to win with the clock running down.

But on fourth down the Cal Lutheran Kingsmen broke up a pass in the end zone to beat the Leopards 20-15.

On La Verne's final drive of the game, the Leopards drove 62 yards aided by a pair of big receptions by Nathaniel Sagastume to set up a fourth and one on the Cal Lutheran 18 yard line with 31 seconds remaining in the game. The Leopards went for it all with Albright throwing a jump ball to Jordan Moore in the back of the end zone. But John Moore made the game-saving breakup for the Kingsmen.

Sagastume finished with four receptions for 58 yards.

Albright stepped in behind center with 9:27 left in the game with his team trailing 20-2 and immediately made an impact for the Leopards. On his second play, he connected with James Gonsalves in the flat and the running back made a man miss and ran for 18-yard to get into Cal Lutheran territory. On the following play, Albright dropped back to pass but then tucked the ball and scampered 42 yards into the end zone for the Leopards' first touchdown of the day.

After the La Verne defense forced a three and out on the Kingsmen's next possession Albright again brought life to the Leopards. On first down, he connected with a streaking Jared Beamon on a post route and the receiver did the rest, breaking loose of the secondary to complete a 71-yard touchdown reception. The ensuing extra point by Diego Garcia got the Leopards to within five points.

Albright finished with 150 yards through the air despite playing just three drives. The Leopards got solid production from the run game totaling 257 yards on the ground led by Martaveous Holliday's 68 yards. Gonsalves added 56 yards, Sam Taylor rushed for 47 yards, and Chris Venegas finished with 44 yards.

Both teams' offenses had trouble getting into a rhythm and holding onto the ball. The Leopards and Kingsmen combined for eight turnovers in the game.

Raymond Moronez scored the first points of the game for La Verne. After Hector Gonzalez put the Kingsmen up 13-0 on a 10-yard rush, the Leopards quickly stole the momentum on the point after attempt when Torii Hilbert jumped in front and blocked the kick. Moronez scooped up the ball and took it to the house for the defensive PAT.

Moronez had a big game, finishing with 11 tackles and an interception, his third pick in two games. Hilbert led the Leopards with 12 tackles and two breakups.

Mason Montanez added an interception for the second-straight week when he picked off Cesar De Leon's pass in the second quarter. Khary Sanders finished with seven tackles including two for losses. Isaac Sanchez put in a big defensive effort totaling one sack, one and a half tackles for losses, and one forced fumble.

Cameron Mooneyhan registered nine tackles and half a tackle for a loss. Conner Johnson added five tackles with one for a loss.

Cal Lutheran was led by Cesar De Leon's 219 passing yards and Morris Jackson's 117 rushing yards.

Season Impact

The Leopards move to 4-5 overall and 3-3 in the SCIAC. Cal Lutheran improves to 4-5 overall and 3-3 in the conference.

Next Game

The Leopards will close out the 2019 season with their toughest opponent of the year when they host No. 15 Chapman. La Verne will celebrate its seniors with a brief pregame ceremony.

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