LOS ANGELES — It was a special night for three Occidental College quarterbacks.
Tommy Edwards (Sherman Oaks) threw for 387 yards with four touchdowns, Bill Redell '64 earned his first win as his alma mater's head coach and the late great Andy Collins '06 had his jersey retired.
Led by an explosive air attack, Oxy erased a 13-point halftime deficit to beat Claremont-Mudd-Scripps 34-21 at Jack Kemp Stadium on Saturday with heavy emotions all around. It was the Collins family before the game and Bill Redell after.
"It's fabulous. Selfishly I feel so proud to get this win, but the guys worked so hard and the coaches have worked so hard," Redell said with the game ball tucked securely underneath his right arm in an uncharacteristic shaky voice. "For them to get a victory after all of that and for our guys to play the way they did is truly a great feeling for all of us."
Redell, who was an All-American quarterback for Oxy in the 1960s, took the Oxy job last spring after a very successful high school coaching career in Southern California, highlighted by eight CIF-SS Championships.
Collins, who was a three-time SCIAC Offensive Player of the Year from 2004-06, passed away unexpectedly in August 2011 at the age of 27. Just before kickoff, he received a huge ovation from the crowd as his family received a framed No. 1 jersey during a pregame ceremony.
Edwards just wanted to put together a respectable performance on an important night, but ended up putting on an Andy Collins-like showing in his first great Oxy game and win.
"This is an amazing feeling. I was so glad not just that I could get the win, but that our whole team could get the win on a very special night, remembering Andy Collins," said Edwards, who was 24 for 34 with no interceptions despite being sacked five times and hurried on several other plays. "That's a very special thing to me and a very special thing for this program."
On the first play of the fourth quarter, with the score tied at 21, Edwards avoided two tacklers, rolled out to his left and found Ryan Rodriguez (Oakley) for a 73-yard touchdown that gave Oxy the lead.
Oxy wide receiver Matthew Tuckness after his second touchdown against CMS in a 34-21 win on Saturday.
"That's not the way we drew it up, but it was a great play by Ryan to recognize that I was on the move and he made a great play of catching and finishing," Edwards said.
On the next Oxy drive, Edwards led an 11-play, 69-yard scoring drive that ended with freshman Oxy running back Casey Dudley (Sacramento) recovering a fumble and walking it in from the one-yard-line, when Edwards got blasted leaping for the end zone on a quarterback sneak inches away from the end zone on 3rd and Goal. Dudley finished with a career-high 61 yards on 16 carries.
Three Oxy wide receivers went for over 100 yards. Matthew Tuckness (Alamo) led the Tigers with eight catches for 114 yards and two touchdowns, Rodriguez finished with six catches for a pair of scores and Samuel Stekol (Aptos) had seven for 125 yards.
Edwards hooked up with Rodriguez early in the second quarter for an 11-yard touchdown and twice with Tuckness in less than five minute to open the second half. Teran Mawhinney (Fort Collins, Colo.) had an 80-yard return to open the second half that set up Tuckness' first score with 13:39 left in the third.
In the fourth quarter, Matt Matulaitus (Simi Valley) sacked CMS quarterback Peter Kimmey twice to drastically slow any chance the Stags had of cutting into the Tigers lead. The first was with 6:14 remaining and the other with 3:20 left on the clock.
CMS' Corey Bickler led the game with 105 yards on 25 carries and Cameron Griffin had seven carries for 49 yards and two touchdowns. Kris Otterholt led the Stags with 10 catches for 101 yards.
Oxy returns to action next Saturday at Chapman at 7 p.m.