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Cal Lutheran Ends Skid With Rout of Azusa, 45-23

November 16, 1986|GORDON MONSON | Times Staff Writer

In a season that has had an abundance of bad breaks, both in the form of turnovers and broken bones, a lot of close losses and moral victories but few actual wins, this was the most gratifying and rare of experiences for Cal Lutheran--a blowout.

The Kingsmen, who had lost their last two games by a total of four points, beat Azusa Pacific by the unlikely score of 45-23 Saturday afternoon.

Owing to the fact that they hadn't won a game since September, the Kingsmen celebrated as if there would be no tomorrow. As the final minutes wound off the clock, the CLU starters found themselves in the unaccustomed position of having the game wrapped up. They stood along the sideline and watched, looking as if they weren't sure what to do with themselves.

Finally, they started slapping each other, high-fiving everyone in sight and enjoying a victory that was easier than many had expected.

Tom Bonds, who got a postgame congratulatory punch on the shoulder pads from another quarterback, his brother Jim, led the Kingsmen to their third win in 10 games. He completed 22 of 36 passes for 429 yards and 5 touchdowns. The five touchdown passes set a Western Football Conference record and his 429 yards tied another.

"It just felt good to win," Bonds said. "It'd been too long."

Bonds had taken the Kingsmen's seven-game losing streak as hard as anyone. The losses began piling up after the quarterback suffered a sprained knee in the third game of the season. After nearly upsetting Cal State Sacramento two weeks ago, Bonds was so disturbed by the loss, he began crying.

But Saturday, he was finally feeling fine.

So were his receivers. Bonds spread his passes around to six different targets, the most efficient of which was Joe Monarrez. Monarrez caught three passes, for 71, 9 and 43 yards, and all three ended with the receiver dancing in the end zone.

Cary Grant, who's still not sure if he's a running back or a receiver, caught eight passes for 177 yards and one touchdown. He also ran for 130 yards on 12 carries and a touchdown.

"Earlier this year, I was trying too hard," Grant said. "I wasn't getting the ball much. Now I know I'm going to get the ball, so I feel comfortable. I just let it happen."

And, as the Azusa defense discovered, he's a happenin' back--even when matched against Christian Okoye, the sensational Azusa Pacific running back from Nigeria.

Said CLU Coach Bob Shoup: "Grant gives us a whole new dimension. It was interesting to contrast Grant with Okoye. It was almost a draw between the two."

The Kingsmen were able to contain Okoye, who weighs 254 pounds and runs a 4.4 40-yard dash, in the first half. But he broke away in the second to finish with 248 yards. With the Cougars trailing, 28-3, Okoye burst up the middle for a 73-yard touchdown run. Less than a minute later, he ran for a 60-yard touchdown.

"When he gets going," Shoup said, "it's amazing to see anyone run that fast, let alone someone who weighs 250 pounds."

Said CLU defensive tackle John Hynes: "It was fun trying to tackle him."

Fun?

"Yeah, I almost ran him down from behind on that long touchdown run. It almost made me feel good."

Okoye scored again with 3:30 left in the game on a one-yard dive, but Grant had already put the game out of reach with his two touchdowns.

After the game, drum sounds echoed from the Cal Lutheran locker room as the players pounded their lockers 45 times in unison for each point they had scored. "We've gone through an incredible amount of adversity this season," Shoup said. "This feels awfully good."

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