Cal State Hayward dusted off its aged-but-not-yet-dead veer offense long enough for Cal Lutheran to slap it upside the helmet and kick it back into the 1950s. The Kingsmen closed down Hayward's antiquated running attack, then watched as the Pioneers tried to get back to the future with a clumsy passing game in a 19-6 CLU win Saturday at Mount Clef Stadium.
The veer--at least Hayward's version--probably would have been better off dead. This was raccoon-coat, goldfish-swallowing, run-up-the-gut football all right, but not the kind Woody Hayes would have recognized. In fact, hardly anyone recognized this one-yard-and-a-cloud-of-dust offense--not even some of the players.
"I've seen a veer before," CLU defensive end Earl Bentancourt said, "but nothing like theirs. That wasn't anything I'm familiar with."
Cal State Hayward ran the ball 41 times, gaining 187 yards. But the Pioneers got 124 yards on two plays. The remainder of their 50 offensive plays--including nine passing attempts--rolled up a grand total of 63 yards. Longtime Houston Coach Bill Yeomans, the father of the veer, would have cried. Hayward Coach Tim Tierney, who likes his football from the Pleistocene Epoch, wanted to.
"We executed just two plays the whole day," Tierney said. "I didn't think we played well defensively either, but we played better on defense than on offense."
Maybe it was because the Pioneers (0-3) lost starting quarterback Robert McGrew, who quit the team earlier this week.
"Nah, we didn't move the ball any better when he was here," Tierney said.
Maybe, then, the bumbling and fumbling could be attributed to the cracked bone in new quarterback Rick Neugebauer's right hand.
"I can't say if his hand had been better things would've been any different," Tierney said.
Maybe if Hayward had junked the veer and thrown a little more, it could have generated some offense.
"Sure, we wanted to throw more, but . . .," Tierney said.
But they wouldn't, and as Tierney admitted, they couldn't.
Said Neugebauer, who ran for 11 yards on 20 carries and completed 1 of 8 passes for 4 yards and threw 2 interceptions: "It was a weak effort. The quarterbacks couldn't move the team."
Cal Lutheran's defense certainly helped Hayward's self-destruction. The tackles and ends, a week after being blown off the line by Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, stayed anchored this week. "The tackles did a great job," tackle David Bean said. "We just shut them down."
The line's play, along with timely stunting by Kingsmen linebackers, confused an already baffled Neugebauer. "He wasn't confident whether he should pitch or run the ball himself," said linebacker Torii Lehr, who had 12 tackles. "He wouldn't pitch to the outside man--one of our biggest concerns before the game."
CLU's defense broke down--or Hayward's offense executed--on just two plays. The first was a 42-yard run by Fred Simmons to the Kingsmen's 19-yard line. That drive ended with a missed 36-yard field-goal attempt by kicker-punter Dave Kriwinski, who other than Neugebauer was the busiest of the Pioneers. He punted 11 times.
Hayward's other big play came midway through the fourth quarter with the Kingsmen ahead, 13-0. Running back Lamar Kirkland, reduced to a backup role in this game because of what Tierney called "personal problems" and "a slight injury," popped out of a crowd at the line of scrimmage and ran 82 yards for the Pioneers' only touchdown.
"An adjustment error," said Bentancourt, who had nine tackles and three quarterback sacks.
In contrast to Cal State Hayward's old-fashioned offense, Cal Lutheran (2-1) mixed its newfangled passing attack with a born-again running game for 424 total yards. Quarterback Tom Bonds completed 23 of 36 for 288 yards and 1 touchdown. The final score might have been more one-sided had Bonds not thrown two interceptions in the Pioneers' end zone. But it didn't matter. The CLU defense repeatedly handed the offense good field position--and eventually the offense scored.
The Kingsmen's first touchdown came at the 14:45 mark of the second quarter when Bonds ran in from the two-yard line. Later in the quarter, Bonds hit Dan Smeester with a seven-yard pass for a 13-0 lead that held up until Kirkland's burst in the fourth quarter. CLU's final touchdown came on a 13-yard run by Dean Henderson, who led the team in rushing with 72 yards, with 1:30 left in the game.
Cal Lutheran's running game, which had been nonexistent in its first two games, had a resurgence of sorts against Hayward. Tracy Downs, Noel Chesnut and Henderson combined for 161 yards on 33 carries.
"That really helped us," CLU Coach Bob Shoup said. "They probably thought we were a one-dimensional team with our passing."
Tierney, however, wasn't impressed with the Kingsmen's ground game, saying: "I don't think their running was a factor."
Unfortunately for Hayward, neither was its own.