Southland Roundup : Occidental Loses Title in Final Minute, 28-25

Ramon Juarez threw a 17-yard touchdown pass to Ron Sykes with 22 seconds remaining Saturday night to give Whittier a 28-25 win at Whittier and deny Occidental the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference title.

Juarez finished with 21 completions in 35 attempts for 281 yards and 3 touchdowns. Earlier, Juarez had thrown touchdown passes of 32 and 16 yards to Gaylan Sweet and had run 14 yards for a score as Whittier built a 21-3 lead in the third quarter.

But the Tigers rallied, as quarterback Mark Krajnik threw two touchdown passes and ran for a 28-yard score to give Occidental the lead with 9:31 remaining.

Trailing 25-21, Juarez drove Whittier 52 yards in the final minute for the winning score. After the touchdown, Occidental had one last chance, but Tim Dewberry's 57-yard field goal attempt with no time left was far short.

Occidental's loss gave Claremont-Mudd the SCIAC title. Claremont-Mudd defeated conference leader La Verne to give Occidental a chance to win the title, but Occidental could not take advantage of the opportunity. Occidental finishes 5-3-1 overall, 3-1-1 in SCIAC. Whittier finishes 5-5 overall, 2-2-1 in SCIAC.

Claremont-Mudd 28, La Verne 23--The Stags stopped La Verne inside the Claremont-Mudd 15 yard-line twice in the last five minutes to preserve a come-from-behind win at Claremont and, coupled with Occidental's loss, give Claremont-Mudd the SCIAC title.

Claremont-Mudd trailed, 17-7, in the second quarter but rallied to take the lead behind three short touchdown runs, two by quarterback Mike Pembroke.

Junior Chris Dabrow ran for 127 yards and a touchdown in 27 carries, giving him a school record of 1,265 yards rushing. Dabrow, a junior, had 15 rushing touchdowns this season.

La Verne quarterback Mark Van Allen completed 15 of 22 passes for 238 yards, with 2 touchdowns and 2 interceptions.

Claremont-Mudd finishes 8-1 overall, 4-1 in conference. La Verne dropped to 6-3 overall, 4-2 in conference.

Cal Lutheran 45, Azusa Pacific 23--Tom Bonds threw a school-record five touchdown passes as the Kingsmen ended a seven-game losing streak with a nonconference win over the Cougars at Thousand Oaks.

Bonds, a junior, finished with 22 completions in 36 attempts for 429 yards. Running back Cary Grant totaled 307 yards as he rushed for 130 yards and caught 8 passes for 177 yards. Cal Lutheran finished with 580 yards of total offense.

Trailing 3-0, Bonds hooked up with wide receiver Joe Monarrez for touchdown passes of 71, 9 and 43 yards to give the Kingsmen a 21-3 halftime lead. The three touchdown receptions were Monarrez's only catches in the game.

After Bonds' fourth touchdown pass gave Cal Lutheran (3-7) a 28-3 third-quarter lead, Azusa Pacific running back Christian Okoye broke loose for touchdown runs of 73 and 60 yards to pull the Cougars within 14 at 31-17. But Grant clinched the win with a 63-yard touchdown reception and an 11-yard touchdown run.

Okoye, playing in his final regular-season game, broke his school record with 248 yards rushing and 3 touchdowns in 28 carries, but his performance was marred by three fumbles, all of which were recovered by Cal Lutheran.

Okoye finished the season with 1,680 yards and 21 touchdowns, both tops in the NAIA. In three seasons, Okoye rushed for 3,569 yards and 34 touchdowns. Azusa Pacific finishes 5-2-2.

CS Northridge 34, Portland State 0--Mike Kane ran for 236 yards and 3 touchdowns in 35 carries to lead the Matadors to a Western Football Conference win at Northridge. Kane scored on one-yard runs in the second and third quarters, and a 13-yard run in the fourth quarter.

The win gave Northridge (8-2 overall, 4-1 in conference play) a share of first place in the WFC, and Portland State (6-4 overall, 4-2 in conference play) fell out of first place. Northridge will play at Cal State Sacramento next Saturday for the WFC title.

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