Photo by: Tony Leon/ActionWestPhotography.com
PHOENIX, AZ – Junior Miguel Avina (Indio, Calif.) put up record numbers Saturday in a 67-42 loss to No. 22 Arizona Christian University as the Whittier College Football team opened up 2018.
Avina combined for 299 yards and six touchdowns coming up a touchdown shy of Josh Scurlock's record of seven from 2007 where he led the Purple & Gold to a 67-61 upset win over then No. 24 Occidental College.
For the game, Avina ended up going 18-for-32 for 224 yards and four touchdowns to three different receivers, while rushing 17 times for 75 yards and another two scores.
He capped off an eight-play, 57-yard drive with a nine-yard scamper, which tied things up in the middle of the first quarter and then scored 30 yards out in the second ending a 75-yard drive to pull WC within seven.
Out of the break, Whittier proved tough to stop on offense combining for another 28 points with Avina connecting in the air. He found Brian Phelan (Chino Hills, Calif.) for a short three-yard score and then found Phelan again later in the frame but this time for a 30-yard hook-up that cut the deficit to 12.
Over the final 15:00 minutes Whittier tried to get back into the game with Avina finding sophomore Moises Gonzalez (Long Beach, Calif.) down the seam for a 52-yard catch and run that kept WC in striking distance. Then to end the scoring Avina found Jovan Bea (Santee, Calif.) out of the backfield for a four-yard strike.
Whittier finished with 434 yards of total offense with 229 out of the air and 205 on the ground. They added 233 return yards with 222 of them coming on kick-off returns led by Gonzalez who totaled 109 yards averaging 21.8 yards per return, while Hakim Williams Jr. (Covina, calif.) hauled in two returns for 72 yards with a long being of 49.
Receiving on the evening the poets had Gonzalez lead the unit with three catches for 83 yards averaging 27.7 yards per catch. Phelan caught eight passes for 80 yards and Williams Jr. added 45 yards on four receptions.
On the ground, Bea carried the ball 21 times for 118 yards averaging 5.6 yards per carry.
On special teams, sophomore Cooper Allen (Visalia, Calif.) was solid moving into the kicking realm for the first time in his career as he went a perfect 6-for-6 on extra points, while adding six punts with a 38.8 average, which included two landing inside the 20.
On defense, Cameron Smith (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.) added double digit tackles with 10 (2 solo/8 assisted) and was supported by Nicholas Markarian (Chino Hills, Calif.) with nine (2 solo/7 assisted) and Andrew Rosales (Pico Rivera, Calif.) with eight (4 solo/4 assisted).
Nickolas Perez (Shafter, Calif.) added a sack for a seven-yard loss and a forced fumble, while Rosales, Oscar Aliaga (Las Vegas, NV), Sean Hamilton (Henderson, NV), and Marquise Ogletree (Pasadena, Calif.) had pass break-ups.
Whittier has their final non-conference game this Saturday, September 15 when they host Lewis & Clark inside Memorial Stadium beginning at 12:00pm.