Transfers Just the Ticket for Cal Lutheran : Newcomers Lead 31-0 Rout of San Francisco State; Bonds Passes for 289 Yards
Everybody was laughing and carrying on at Mount Clef Stadium on Saturday after Cal Lutheran had scored a 31-0 victory over San Francisco State. Kingsmen linebackers were slapping each other upside the helmet. Friends and family cluttered the field, giving out hugs and handshakes. Kingsmen quarterback Tom Bonds was being interviewed by a reporter from an Oxnard TV station.
After all, this opening day was football reminiscent of Cal Lutheran’s glory years of the 1970s. A quick and aggressive defense so dominated the Gators from the North that even normally diplomatic Kingsmen Coach Bob Shoup couldn’t resist chuckling afterward.
It was just last year that Shoup’s slow-footed defense deserted him, and left him hoping Bonds and the offense would score every time they got the ball. In the off-season, Cal Lutheran brought in a pack of transfers to fill the gaps, and five of them started for the CLU defense on Saturday.
The born-again defense limited San Francisco State to 166 offensive yards, most of which came long after the outcome was no longer in doubt. The defensive line held the Gators to 80 yards rushing.
“Aw, we were just playing football,” said John Hynes, a 6-4, 255-pound defensive tackle who transferred from Indiana University. “Our defense is big and strong and most importantly, we played together.”
The SFSU running backs agreed. Curtis Ostling, who gained 11 yards on seven carries, wandered off the field looking as if a couple of Tylenol might hit the spot. But the line shared the spotlight with the defensive secondary.
Linebacker Terry Rowe, who came to Cal Lutheran from an Arizona junior college, picked off a pass by Gator quarterback Brian Letofsky and ran 64 yards for CLU’s final score early in the fourth quarter. That finished off both the scoring and San Francisco State.
“I saw the quarterback looking at the receiver so I just made the cut in front of the ball,” Rowe said. “It came right to me. Our secondary covered well the whole game and the pass rush was strong, too.”
While the defense was running over the Gators, the Cal Lutheran offense threw over them, under them and in between them.
Bonds completed 20 of 37 passes for 289 yards and two touchdowns. And, keeping in good graces with all his receivers, he spread his passes around--eight different receivers caught at least one pass.
Joe Fuca, for instance, had seven receptions for 119 yards. Eddie Gran caught four passes for 56 yards and a touchdown. Senior wide receiver Jim Osborn hauled in two passes, including a 16-yard pass in the end zone.
When San Francisco loaded up on the wide-outs, Bonds simply went inside to running backs Tracy Downs and Cary Grant. Bonds also threw to tight end Darren Gottschalk, who had four catches for 57 yards.
It got to the point at which Fuca and Bonds were signaling to each other right there in the middle of the plays. Fuca was pointing to the spot where he wanted Bonds to unload the ball.
“He was throwing darts,” Fuca said. “We have such good communication, Tom and me. He knew where I wanted it. And he threw the hell out of the ball.”
Making matters worse for San Francisco, Cal Lutheran’s offensive line gave Bonds so much time, Fuca could have sent smoke signals.
Going into the game, Gottschalk said the Kingsmen knew they would throw the ball and they knew where they wanted to throw it. “We scouted them and they had a freshman defensive back who was their weak link,” he said. “So, we went after him.”
Gator defensive back Erik Hamzy turned out to be the man Cal Lutheran had designated as the weakest link on a weak team. Fuca burned him again and again. Then Osborn turned the freshman around on his 16-yard touchdown reception in the second quarter. Bonds danced around on his toes behind his offensive line as Osborn spun free in the end zone, then he fired the ball before Hamzy had a chance to get the befuddled look off his face.
“If I get as much time as I was getting,” Bonds said, “it’s easy. We did whatever we wanted.”
When the Kingsmen continued to pick on Hamzy on their next possession, San Francisco Coach Vic Rowen mercifully pulled him out of the game. But his replacement, Mike Sapp, along with the rest of the Gator defenders, were overmatched.
Of Bonds, Sapp said, “He’s sweet. He’s so hard to contain. Even when I had my man covered, he would scramble free and that gave the receivers more time to get open. It was tough on the field.”
And it was tough to watch, too. San Francisco was dominated in nearly every category. As early as the second quarter, when the Kingsmen went ahead, 21-0, it became clear that the game was all but over.
But afterward, while the Kingsmen celebrated the win, the question remained just how good they really are. They rolled up nearly 300 yards passing and over 100 yards running. They collected 25 first downs to San Francisco’s 10. And, as it turned out, the only Gator who had a worthwhile game was the punter--John Boruk, who averaged 42 yards on 10 punts.
Still, this very same San Francisco team was beaten last week, 69-6, by Wichita State. Its No. 1 quarterback, Jim Rudy, was injured in that game and did not play against the Kingsmen. Instead, the Gators used Letofsky--who had little experience--and Aladd Teofilo, a converted defensive back/running back.
If Shoup still has doubts about his team, he isn’t letting on. “I think we responded really well. We played with poise and both the offense and the defense were effective. This win gives us confidence.”
Apparently, the confidence was catching. Said Fuca, “If we play like this, I don’t think we can lose a game all year.”