Bonds Gets Last Chance at Revenge

Times Staff Writer

He has thrown for more than four miles in his 3 1/2 years as quarterback of the Cal Lutheran football team.

Twice he's been selected an All-American. He has been player of the week, player of the month, player of the year. He owns more records than Rick Dees.

But he has never forgotten that Cal State Northridge wouldn't give him air time.

"They didn't recruit me out of high school and I felt that I could play there," Bonds said. "I always wanted to get back at them for that."

After three years of frustration, he will get his last chance Saturday night at North Campus Stadium when Cal Lutheran meets Northridge in a Western Football Conference game.

It is the conference opener for Northridge, which is expected to challenge for the championship. On the line for Cal Lutheran, which already has lost two conference games, is nothing except pride.

And for Bonds, a measure of revenge.

For all his grand statistics and records, Bonds, a senior, has never had the opportunity to post big numbers against the team that rejected him.

He didn't start against the Matadors as a freshman, missed most of the 1985 game because of a shoulder injury and was held out of last season's game because of a sprained knee.

Jeff Chalmers started in Bonds' place against Northridge last season and was intercepted five times in a 17-3 loss. On the sidelines, Bonds tried to remain outwardly calm while his stomach turned.

Bonds, who is averaging 207 yards a game passing, has looked forward to this meeting ever since he graduated from Hart High with a resume full of school records and received only one scholarship offer--from Cal Lutheran.

Northridge recruited his friend, Mike Gatto, a running back who ended up going to West Point, but never gave Bonds a call.

"I was jealous of that," he said. "I wanted to go there. I wanted to go anywhere. Cal Lutheran was the only one who wanted me."

And the Bonds family hasn't forgotten it. After Cal Lutheran was defeated by Southern Utah State, 23-18, last Saturday, Tom was consoled by his father, Jim, in the following manner: "At least you'll be healthy for Northridge."

The Matadors can only hope to contain Cal Lutheran's passing game if they can contain Bonds, who can scramble a defense by scrambling in the backfield.

"He does it so well, they've built it into their offense," CSUN Coach Bob Burt said. "Tom Bonds is going to complete his share of passes."

Cal Lutheran has only one WFC victory since joining the conference in 1985. A victory over Northridge would bury a lot of bad memories.

"The attitude here is that we're probably out of it as far as winning the conference, but we have a lot of pride," Bonds said. "We want to prove we can be competitive with every team on our schedule."

And, on a personal note, Bonds is within dreaming distance of a couple more records, most notably the Division II mark for passing yardage. He has thrown for 6,641 yards and must average 269 yards a game over CLU's final six games to eclipse Jim Lindsey of Abilene Christian, who passed for 8,521 yards from 1967-70.

But 100 yards and a victory over Northridge would more than suffice.

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