THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – In the final game played at Mt. Clef Stadium the Cal Lutheran football team captured its second outright SCIAC title in program history after a 24-0 victory over Occidental on Saturday. The Kingsmen are back-to-back SCIAC champions for the first time and will play in their second NCAA postseason game ever.
The NCAA Division III football playoff bracket will be announced on Sunday between 12 p.m. and 12:30 p.m. on ESPNews. The Kingsmen will find out who they will face in the first round of the 2010 postseason. It will be the second NCAA postseason appearance in as many seasons next week.
On Saturday the Kingsmen showed off their running game against the Tigers. Playing in 23 mph winds, CLU ran the ball 58 times for 302 yards, its highest team rushing total of the season.
Occidental entered as the number two offense in the SCIAC in total yardage per game at 362.6, behind conference-leader CLU (366.5), but the Kingsmen held the Tigers to just 165 total yards with 101 passing and 64 rushing.
The Kingsmen needed just 109 yards passing from Jake Laudenslayer in the shutout victory. The junior quarterback completed 12 of his 21 pass attempts for 109 yards and threw his first interception since Oct. 2 at Redlands.
Deme'Trek Chambers was the lead running back for Cal Lutheran as he ran for a season-high 167 yards on 24 carries with two touchdowns. Chambers now has 763 total rush yards this season with 13 touchdowns on the ground.
The CLU tailback put the Kingsmen on the board early when he capped a 12-play, 80-yard opening drive with a three-yard touchdown run.
After the Kingsmen touchdown the two teams combined for 12 punts before CLU took a 10-0 lead on a 47-yard field goal from Jackson Damron with 1:28 remaining in the first half.
Like it did in the first half, CLU scored on its opening possession of the second half. The Kingsmen forced a three-and-out to start the third quarter and then went 56 yards on five plays to extend their lead to 17-0. Chambers accounted for 48 rush yards on the drive including a 10-yard touchdown run.
After two more three-and-outs for the Tigers, the Kingsmen put together the final scoring drive of the game, covering 51 yards on nine plays. Derek Martinez had a touchdown run called back due to a holding penalty and on the next play Laudenslayer hit Matt O'Brien for a 15-yard touchdown to put CLU up 24-0 with 50 seconds left in the third.
Although he did not get the touchdown, Martinez finished the game with 66 yards on 14 carries. Laudenslayer also helped out the Kingsmen rushing attack as he ran for 41 yards on eight rushes.
Eric Rogers led the Kingsmen receiving corps with 42 yards on five catches. Jake Speckhard withstood a couple of big hits on his two catches for 28 yards.
The Occidental run-game that was limited to 64 yards was led by backup quarterback Ryan Rodriguez who ran for 26 yards on four carries as he spelled Luke Collis on a number of drives.
Collis threw for 97 yards with 17 completions on 33 attempts. The OXY quarterback was sacked twice by the Kingsmen defense with one from Jordan Barta and another by Rian Younker. Defensive back J.D. Austin intercepted Collis late in the fourth for his team-leading third pick of the year to preserve the shutout.
It was the first shutout by the Kingsmen football program since they won at Menlo 54-0 on Oct. 8, 2005.
In a game that featured 21 total punts CLU punter Josh Oosterhof was the most active he has been all year with a season-high nine punts for 369 yards, including four inside the 20 and a long of 55 yards.
Jacob Norlock led the Kingsmen defense with 13 total tackles followed by seven from Loren Powers and six by Brett Lewis.
At halftime the Kingsmen retired Brian Kelley's number 90 jersey, the first retired uniform in CLU football history. Kelley, who helped lead CLU to the 1971 NAIA Division II Championship, was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in July and was in the inaugural CLU Athletic Hall of Fame class in 2003.
CLU said goodbye to Mt. Clef Stadium, which has been the home of Kingsmen football since 1963. William Rolland Stadium is set to house the CLU football program starting in the 2011 season.
The Kingsmen are ranked No. 17 in the latest D3Football.com and AFCA top-25 polls.
Cal Lutheran (8-1, 6-0 SCIAC) will now await its opponent in the first round of the NCAA Division III playoffs. Last season the Kingsmen traveled to Linfield for their first NCAA postseason game in program history, a 38-17 loss.