For Tony Locy, it is an unlikely homecoming . . . a return to square one that marks the latest stop in a much-traveled college career. For Cal State Fullerton's seniors, it is a chance to say goodby to an old friend, one they haven't seen nearly enough of this year.
Locy, a former Mater Dei High School quarterback and wide receiver, returns to Santa Ana Stadium today to play quarterback for San Jose State in the Spartans' Pacific Coast Athletic Assn. game against Fullerton. After stops at the Air Force Academy and Cerritos College, Locy is returning to the site of some of his high school games.
The Titans, meanwhile, are playing the last of three home games this season and trying to maintain the closest thing they have to a winning streak. They are 2-0 in Santa Ana Stadium in 1986 and have won five straight games there over the past two seasons.
Granted, a 3-0 home record might not be as much to motivate a team as, say, a spot in a bowl game or an unbeaten conference record. That's the kind of stuff San Jose State coaches are using as anti-letdown material for the surprising Spartans. Fullerton Coach Gene Murphy has pretty much milked the "play for pride and self-respect" angle to death the past few weeks. This final home game at least gives him something else to work with.
"That's one thing we want to play on," Murphy said. "Guys like (linebacker) Sean Foy, (guard) Joe Florentine, all the seniors . . . they haven't had too many home games. But this is it. They've gone through some miserable times and some great times. I know how they want to end it."
Ron McLean, the Titans' senior defensive tackle, said: "We only have two games left, and, for some of us, these may be the last two football games of our lives."
As a fifth-year senior at Fullerton, McLean has seen his team bounce around in search of a place to call home. In the past five seasons, Fullerton has played 18 "home" games. Of those, 11 have been played in Santa Ana Stadium. One was played in Anaheim Stadium. Four were played on campus, in an erector-set stadium that consisted of bleachers painstakingly set up by Fullerton players and coaches. Two were played in Glover Stadium in Anaheim, including a 1983 game against Nevada Las Vegas for the PCAA championship, which, because of rain, was moved from the Big A hours before kickoff.
Today, the Titans will try to win their 10th game in 12 tries in Santa Ana Stadium. They'll be doing it against the team that has made one of the biggest about-faces in NCAA Division I-A football this year. San Jose State went 2-8-1 last season, allowing an average of more than 30 points per game along the way. Coach Claude Gilbert made rebuilding his defense one of his top priorities for 1986. And what happens? The Spartans discover a no-name quarterback who proceeds to become the NCAA leader in passing and total offense.
But Mike Perez, the quarterback who rose from obscurity to lead the Spartans to six straight victories, including a 45-41 upset of Fresno State, won't be a problem for the Titans. The transfer from Taft College suffered a shoulder separation on what was to be his final series in last week's 45-7 victory over New Mexico State and is out for the remainder of the regular season. Locy will start in his place.
Locy graduated from Mater Dei, spent one year at the Air Force Academy and left there for Cerritos College, where he set a single-season school passing record with 1,691 yards. He replaced Perez last week and completed 4 of 7 passes for 32 yards, with a touchdown and an interception. But those are the only passes Locy has thrown this season.
Titan Notes Santa Ana Stadium has a capacity of 12,000. The Titans will need to draw their biggest crowd of the season today just to reach that figure for all three of the games they will have played there. In two home games thus far, they have drawn a total of 7,729 spectators. . . . Backup center Mark Hauser suffered a broken foot in practice this week and will miss the remainder of the season. . . . Fullerton running back Rick Calhoun is 10th in the nation in rushing (115.1 yards per game) and fourth in all-purpose running (179 yards per game). He leads the PCAA in both categories. . . . San Jose State quarterback Tony Locy is the brother of Greg Locy, the starting tight end for Long Beach State. . . . Fullerton has won the last three meetings between these teams, including last season's 20-18 victory in a nationally televised game in Spartan Stadium. . . . The Spartans lead the PCAA in rushing defense and passing offense.
CAL STATE FULLERTON TITANS
Opponent: San Jose State.
Site: Santa Ana Stadium.
Time: 1 p.m.
Records: Cal State Fullerton 1-4 in the Pacific Coast Athletic Assn., 2-8 overall; San Jose State 5-0, 7-2.
Radio: KWRM (1370).
TV: KIHS, Ch. 46 (9 p.m., tape-delayed).