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FOOTBALL : Northridge Could Feel at Home With Title if Road Work Continues

October 23, 1986

Western Football Conference teams continued their habit of winning at home and struggling on the road last week as three of four home teams were victorious. WFC teams are a combined 16-4 at home and 7-16-1 on the road. Northridge, which has won three of its four road games, is the only team with a winning road record.

If the winning-at-home trend continues, the Southern Utah State-Sacramento State game could lead to a WFC title for Northridge--if the Matadors defeat Santa Clara on Nov. 1. Southern Utah is 26-3-1 at home since 1980. Sacramento (2-0) has a half-game lead over Northridge (2-1) and Santa Clara (2-1) in the WFC standings. Northridge plays at Sacramento the last week of the season.

Three of Cal Lutheran's top defensive players probably will miss Saturday's game against Portland State. Russell Patterson, a nose guard, has a pulled hamstring. Linebacker Sean Demmon injured his neck in practice Tuesday, and safety Todd Leavens is still recovering from a thigh bruise that sidelined him last week.

Don Price might sit out with a sprained ankle, but CLU Coach Bob Shoup said the defensive back has the best chance of playing.

Cal State Northridge's Chris Moore was expected to be one of the WFC's top receivers this season. But in the Matadors' first five games, he caught only 10 passes for 168 yards.

But with last Saturday's game with Cal Poly San Luis Obispo slipping away, Northridge geared its passing game toward Moore, who responded with three receptions for 53 yards on an 11-play, 80-yard drive that gave the Matadors a 21-20 victory. Moore finished with six catches for 95 yards.

Award Winners: Northridge linebacker Tim Gardner and Sacramento State running back Don Hair were chosen WFC Players of the Week. Gardner was in on 14 tackles--two for losses--in the Matadors' 21-20 win over Cal Poly San Luis Obispo last Saturday. Hair accounted for 324 yards in rushing, receiving, punt returns and kickoff returns as Sacramento beat Portland State, 52-20.

Glendale College wide receiver Rocky Palamara, a 6-1, 185-pound freshman from Notre Dame High, and quarterback Rob Huffman shared offensive player of the week honors in the Western State Conference. Palamara caught nine pases for 131 yards and three touchdowns in a 47-0 rout of Ventura.

Gary Loyd, a two-time All-American at Cal Lutheran, will be inducted into the school's hall of fame Nov. 15. Loyd was named an NAIA All-American as a punter in 1967 and as a defensive end in 1968.

Rankings: Cal State Northridge (5-1) is 12th in the Division II football poll this week. Moorpark College (4-2) is No. 18 in the state poll and No. 9 in the Southland poll.

Stat Watch: Mike Kane has rushed for 702 yards in six games, a pace that would break the WFC season record of 1,150 rushing yards set by Brian Gutierrez of Cal Poly San Luis Obispo in 1983.

Rob Harrison of Sacramento State is one yard behind Kane. He ran for 167 yards Saturday against Portland State. Harrison has 701 yards on 94 carries, a 7.5 average. Kane's yards have come on 140 carries, a 5.0 average.

Of the 133 points Cal Lutheran has given up, 58 have come in the fourth quarter. The Kingsmen have scored only 17 points in the fourth period.

Valley College has outscored opponents, 66-21, in its past two games after an 0-3 start, but the team's turnaround is even more dramatic than the scores indicate. The Monarchs have lost five potential touchdowns to two penalties and three fumbles--including two inside the five-yard line last week at Mt. San Jacinto.

Moorpark College is 18th in the state in team offense (359 yards per game) and 19th in team defense (275 yards per game). The Raiders lead the Western State Conference in rushing with 1,440 yards on 269 carries, an average of 5.4 per carry and 240 yards a game. Moorpark's Robert Davis leads the conference in rushing with 635 yards and six touchdowns on 84 carries, a 7.6-yard average.

James Reaves, also from Moorpark, leads the conference in kickoff returns. He has returned seven for 315 yards, a 45-yard average. Reaves had an 82-yard return Saturday against Santa Barbara.

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