LOS ANGELES - Occidental answered Whittier's fourth quarter, go ahead, touchdown with the game winning score at the 6:40 mark of the final frame to win the Battle of the Shoes, 25-22, on Saturday evening in Eagle Rock.
The Poets (1-2, 0-1 SCIAC) ran for 215 yards and limited the Occidental (2-1, 1-0 SCIAC) to just 3.8 yards per rush. Three players eclipsed 50 yards rushing for the Poets which includes Kimble Tillman. The sophomore tailback carried the ball 14 times for 58 yards.
The longest play from scrimmage for either team came from Josh Ollison who scampered 73 yards for a third quarter touchdown. It was his only carry of the game.
Ollison also caught a 24-yards scoring strike from quarterback Alesana Sausau on Whittier's ensuing possession. Sausau finished the game 9-of-17 for 104 yards and a touchdown.
The defense was led by John O'Malley who totaled 11 tackles which includes 1.5 for loss. Shane Sheets and Josh Callanan each recorded a sack.
The Poets scored on their opening possession, going 36 yards in 12 plays over 7:01. Eric Cejudo capped the drive with a 37-yard field goal.
Occidental answered with 14 unanswered points over the next two quarters before Ollison scored on back-to-back Whittier possessions in the third quarter.
A missed extra point left the door open for Occidental to take a 17-16 lead at 14:34 of the fourth quarter but Rodrigo Muratalla put the purple and gold back on top with a two-yards touchdown run. The eight-yard drive was set up by O'Malley's blocked punt. The ball was recovered by Richard Hoover who returned the ball to the OXY 8.
Two plays later the Poets led 22-17. Whittier's two-point conversion failed.
The Tigers then drove 65 yards in nine plays to reclaim the lead with an 8-yard touchdown pass.
Whittier's final chance ended on an incomplete pass on 4th and 6 from its own 49 yard line. WC's drive started at its own 31 but a costly penalty turned what would have been a 1st and 10 at the WC 45 into a 1st and 25 and the WC 30.
The Poets will try and rebound next weekend as it hosts Cal Lutheran at 7 pm.