By Ethan Spector
LOS ANGELES — The Occidental football team hosts Whittier in the "Battle for the Shoes" at Jack Kemp Stadium on Saturday at 1 p.m. The Tigers won the last meeting between the teams 55-26 in 2016.
The Poets and Tigers have a long history. Competition between the two teams started in 1907 when Whittier first fielded a team and the teams have met more than 100 times since that initial game.
Legend of the Shoes: During the week prior to the 1939 matchup between the teams, members of the Occidental team stole Whittier running back Myron Claxton's shoes. Without his football shoes, Claxton would lead the Poets to a 36-0 victory over the Tigers and after the game walked over to Oxy's sideline and took back his shoes.
Claxton was an All American running back for the Poets and graduated from Whittier in 1940. He was later taken by the New York Giants with the final pick in of the 1940 draft.
Seven years later in 1946, Claxton's shoes would be bronzed and made into a trophy for the Tigers and Poets to battle over. Since the teams have played for the coveted "Shoes" Trophy Oxy leads the series score 38-35, an the Tigers have a 57-50-2 record vs. Whittier all-time.
Coming into Saturday's matchup, the Tigers are 1-2, 0-1 in the SCIAC.
The Tigers are led by junior quarterback, Joshua Greaves, who is 21-45 with 220 yards and a touchdown on the season. First year player, DJ Adams, leads the team in rushing touchdowns with two. Junior wide receiver, Lucas Savoie, leads the team in receiving yards with 118 total yards and has one receiving touchdown. First year kicker, Kyler Parris is perfect on the season. He has one 27-yard field goal and is perfect in extra point kicks.
On the other side of the ball, the Tiger defense is led by Sophomore Raffi Titizian who has seven tackles and eleven assists and first year linebacker Sam Meinhard who has six tackles and eight assists.
The Poets are led by junior Quarterback Miguel Avina. Through three games this season has 601 yards on 43-80 passing with seven passing touchdowns and has three rushing touchdowns. Sophomore running back Jovan Bea has 224 rushing yards on 51 touches with one touchdown. Senior wide receiver Brian Phelan leads the Poets with 17 catches for 263 yards for four touchdowns. Sophomore kicker Cooper Allen is 0-1 for field goals on the year and is 11/12 on the extra point kick.
The Poets defense is highlighted by Seniors Nicholas Markarian and Andrew Rosales. They are the top two defensive players and have combined 47 tackles (26 solo, 24 assisted).
Come watch the Tigers and Poets "Battle of the Shoes." Kickoff is set for 1:00 PM at Jack Kemp Stadium. Tickets will be on sale at the stadium. General Admission is $ 10 and free for students with valid ID's.Follow Oxy Athletics on Twitter Sign Up for Newsletters Watch on Youtube Follow us on Instagram