File Photo by Arianna Macaluso
The California Lutheran University football team scored a season high of 55 points on its way to earn a victory against the Occidental College Tigers. The 55-17 win marks the first Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference game for the Kingsmen this season.
The Kingsmen rushed for a total of 413 yards, coming just short of the 500-yard school record set against the California Institute of Technology in 1967.
“That’s who we are. We’re not a drop-back passing team anymore—we’re a downhill run play-action [team],” Head Coach Ben McEnroe said.
The Kingsmen put the first points on the board with a 4.28 scoring drive that ended in an 11-yard touchdown pass thrown by senior quarterback Eli Peters to first-year wide receiver Ty Riley.
On the next possession, senior running back Chris Anderson rushed for a 1-yard rushing touchdown, capping off a seven play 44-yard drive.
At the end of the first quarter, the Kingsmen led 17-0.
After trading field goals with the Tigers in the middle of the second quarter, Anderson managed to score a 43-yard rushing touchdown after breaking multiple tacklers with about two minutes left until halftime.
“When he called the play, I saw the cut back. I saw Mike block the dude inside and Pierce [McLurkin] seal the dude on the outside and it was all said and done from there,” Anderson said.
At halftime, the Kingsmen had a total of 189 rushing yards. The Kingsmen defense was able to hold the Tigers to just three points and 106 total yards.
Coming out of the half, the Kingsmen were able to score yet another rushing touchdown, this one coming on a 9-yard quarterback keeper from Peters.
With about four minutes remaining, the Tigers scored their first touchdown of the match, coming on a short 6-yard run.
Late in the third, the Kingsmen were able to add another touchdown after a fumble recovery in the Tigers’ end zone. The touchdown came after junior running back Jabar Byrd was chased from the back and forced to fumble near the 5-yard line. Junior wide receiver Joc Smith pounced on the ball and was able to add six points to the sizable lead.
At the beginning of the fourth quarter, senior running back Kayden Clements added a 13-yard rushing touchdown in a quick one-minute drive.
After a short rushing touchdown by the Tigers, Byrd bounced back from his earlier fumble and scored a game-long 50-yard rushing touchdown. Byrd finished the game with 103 rushing yards on just two carries, good for a 51.5-yard average.
The final score was 55-17 in favor of the Kingsmen.
The Kingsmen finished with 476 total yards of offense. Anderson contributed with a season-high of 181 rushing yards on 20 attempts. The Tigers were held to only 283 yards of total offense.
“We played excellent. Overall, it was a great team effort. We played well on both sides of the ball, minor mistakes but they’re fixable,” said junior defensive back Izayah Mora, who finished the game with nine total tackles and one interception.
After the game, McEnroe described every upcoming conference game as a playoff game. McEnroe said he expects the next game against Claremont-Mudd-Scripps to be a close match.
“When we play [Claremont], it’s typically a physical football game. They like to run the ball downhill, we like to run the ball downhill. Let’s line up and see who’s tougher,” McEnroe said.
The Kingsmen will face Claremont-Mudd-Scripps on Saturday, Oct. 6 at 1 p.m.