Photo by: Tony Leon/ActionWestPhotography.com
WHITTIER, Calif. – The Whittier College Football team saw their Senior Day spoiled Saturday by Cal Lutheran University falling 58-21 at Memorial Stadium.
Prior to the game, Whittier and Cal Lutheran paid tribute to the 12 victims of the Borderline shooting and those who have been affected by the Thousand Oaks fires by having a moment of silence. Head Coach Mike Neale also recognized his seven seniors prior to the game, which included Andrew Ortiz, Nicholas Markarian (Chino Hills, Calif.), Kevin Medeiros (Captain Cook, HI), Brian Phelan (Chino Hills, Calif.), Arnie Robles, Andrew Rosales (Pico Rivera, Calif.), and Matthew Valencia (Commerce, Calif.).
The Purple & Gold had a big day on offense totaling 346 yards with 209 coming through the air and another 137 on the ground. They averaged 8.0 yards per pass play and were 5-for-15 (33%) on third downs and 2-for-3 (67%) on fourth down.
Under center, freshman Daniel Garlick (Lodi, Calif.) finished 9-for-16 for 124 yards and a touchdown. Valencia came in late and was 6-for-10 for 85 yards and a score. Jovan Bea (Santee, Calif.) led the rushing attack carrying the ball 17 times for 90 yards averaging 5.3 yards per carry with a long being of 21. Alex Retana (Whittier, Calif.) carried the ball 15 times for 69 yards averaging 4.6 yards per carry and had a touchdown.
Phelan led the receiving core with seven catches for 107 yards and a touchdown. He averaged 15.3 yards per catch and had a long of 43. Hakim Williams Jr. (Covina, Calif.) who didn't have a catch in the first half woke up late in the second with three catches for 52 yards and a score. He was the big play guy averaging 17.3 yards per catch with a long being of 26.
Whittier was shutout in the first quarter and saw themselves down 17-0 early. They finally got on the scoreboard within the first minute of the second quarter with Garlick finding Phelan for a 43-yard hookup, which capped off a 6-play, 75-yard drive. After another two scoring drives for CLU, Retana would find the endzone on a 24-yard scamper that ended a 4-play, 55-yard series for Whittier.
In the third quarter, the Poets were again shutout this time 14-0 as they trailed 51-14. They were able to put up one final score with 9:16 to play in the final frame as Valencia found Williams Jr. down the near sideline who tip-toed his way to the endzone for a 12-yard pass play, which ended a 9-play, 61-yard drive. But these would be the final points put up as CLU would secure the road victory.
Cooper Allen (Visalia, Calif.) finished with five punts totaling 173 yards averaging 34.6 yards per punt with a long being of 38. Zurie Clark (Upland, Calif.) had a big day both defensively and returning kickoffs. He had seven returns totaling 158 yards averaging 22.6 yards per return with a long being of 34. On defense he added three tackles and had an interception.
On defense, Whittier surrendered 531 yards (184 Passing/347 Rushing), while giving up an average of 10.0 yards per play. Markarian led the defense with eight tackles and was joined by Sean Hamilton (Henderson, NV) with seven and Thomas Mendrin (La Habra, Calif.) with six. Marquise Ogletree (Pasadena, Calif.) was tough on the outside with three tackles and two pass break-ups and Meda Mazon (Riverside, Calif.) up front added three tackles and 2.5 tackles for losses.
With the loss the Poets end 2018 1-8, 1-6 SCIAC with their lone victory coming against Occidental College back on October 6 where they won 28-13.