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VALLEY / VENTURA COUNTY SPORTS | KEEPING TABS

Swafford Is Catching On With Assist from Boller

October 17, 2000|STEVE HENSON

Kyle Boller to Derek Swafford. An unlikely passing combination contributing to an unlikely outcome: California 46, UCLA 38.

Boller, a 19-year-old sophomore quarterback, desperately wanted to attend UCLA out of Hart High. Spurned by the Bruins, Boller was intent on beating them.

"I was on the bus with Kyle coming to the stadium, and he was talking to me for 15 minutes," Cal safety Nnamdi Asomugha said. "He was like, 'This is a big game. We have to win. We're from L.A. We could have gone to UCLA. We have to prove why we went to Cal.' "

Swafford, a 25-year-old sophomore receiver, thought he would be in the major leagues by now. The Ventura High product spent five years in the Pittsburgh Pirates' farm system before injuries and suspect defense at second base sent him back to football.

He played five games last season for Ventura College, quit, and eventually was signed by Cal recruiting coordinator Randy Stewart, a Camarillo native who remembered Swafford at Ventura High.

Swafford did not have a reception until Saturday, when he had five for 62 yards. His 22-yard touchdown catch from Boller in the first overtime kept Cal on the offensive and the Bears won in three overtimes.

The game wasn't without difficultly. Swafford dropped a sure touchdown pass in the third quarter and had another drop in overtime.

"Wherever I walked, it seemed like everybody on the sidelines said, 'Don't worry, we're going to come right back to you,' " Swafford said.

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Also contributing to Cal's victory were nose guard Jacob Waasdorp (Quartz Hill) and linebacker Scott Fujita (Rio Mesa).

Both made key tackles in overtime. Waasdorp, an All-Pac-10 senior, has 20 tackles, three sacks and an interception. Fujita, a junior, has 21 sacks, including six for losses.

The victory snapped a four-game tailspin for Cal (2-4, 1-2 in Pac-10 Conference play)

"There's a sense of pride for the first time in a long time," Waasdorp said. "Not offense, not defense or special teams. Just as Cal Bears."

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Nobody enjoys climbing the depth chart because of head injuries to teammates, but Wisconsin safety Carlease Clark (Montclair Prep) made the most of an opportunity against Michigan State.

Clark, a third-stringer who had one tackle all season, made 10 tackles and broke up a pass in the Badgers' 17-10 upset. First-string safety Jason Doering did not start because of a concussion and backup Devery Hughes sustained a similar injury early in the game.

After making plays all over the field to help the Badgers (4-3) notch their first Big Ten Conference victory after three consecutive losses, Clark was as vocal as a veteran.

"We got the cobwebs out," Clark said. "We got the bad feelings out. You know what I'm saying?

"Now we can go out and play. Before, we were just trying to get that one Big Ten [victory]."

Clark has moved up on the depth chart behind Doering, whose status is questionable for Wisconsin's home game Saturday against Purdue.

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Florida State defensive lineman Travis Johnson (Notre Dame) has applied for a redshirt season after spraining his neck in practice two weeks ago. Johnson, a freshman, played sparingly in the Seminoles' first four games, making eight tackles.

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Ted Iacenda, known as Touchdown Teddy when he rushed for 99 touchdowns at Hart High, threw the first touchdown pass of his career for New Mexico. Iacenda, a fullback who often lines up in the slot, also rushed for a touchdown in the Lobos' 17-14 loss to Colorado State on Oct. 6.

Joey Cuppari (Westlake), a reserve receiver at Colorado State, played a pivotal role. He ran a post route in the fourth quarter and his defender, Walter Bernard, was called for pass interference at the New Mexico two-yard line.

Colorado State scored two plays later and ended the Lobos' three-game winning streak.

Coach Rocky Long of New Mexico disputed the call.

"That's the cheapest call I've been around in a long time," he said.

Cuppari, a sophomore, has 15 catches for 184 yards and one touchdown. Ram tight end Jose Ochoa (Sylmar) has 16 catches for 152 yards and two touchdowns.

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