Oxy Falls 21-18 in Battle for the Shoes

Oxy Falls 21-18 in Battle for the Shoes

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WHITTIER — The Occidental football team came up just short in a 21-18 loss at Whittier in the Battle of the Shoes on Saturday.

Oxy quarterback Joshua Greaves engineered a near-perfect, 6-play, 57-yard drive with just 32 seconds to play, getting Oxy into reasonable field goal range. Greaves' last completion was at the 24-yard line where the offense was able to hurry up and spike the ball with less than 10 seconds to play, sending Oxy kicker Kyler Parris and the field goal crew onto the field for a 40-yard try.

Parris had already accounted for six of Oxy's points with a 30-yard field goal and a 28-yard field goal in the first half.

The snap was a little high, Parris had to break his rhythm just enough and his kick had the distance, but missed wide left, sending the Poets running onto the field with the victory all but in hand.

Parris, who has become a very solid sophomore Division III kicker, also had a 43-yard attempt that missed a little short.

It's the closest the rebuilding Tigers have been to a conference victory in three years.

Greaves finished the day 22 for 36 for 239 yards passing, along with 57 yards rushing on 10 carries and one of them being a 49-yard touchdown to cut Whittier's lead to 21-18 with 6:55 to play in the fourth.

DJ Adams led Oxy's ground game with 88 yards on 11 carries, including a 58-yarder that went for Oxy's first touchdown at the beginning of the fourth quarter.

Oxy receiver Andrew Jack de Avila had seven catches for 97 yards, leading Oxy through the air.

Oxy's defense played well throughout the game, led by Sam Meinhard and Jackson Caudle, who each made 13 tackles, and Raffi Titizian, who had seven tackles, recovered a fumble and had a pass break up.

Whittier was led on offense by running back Alex Retana, who ran for 148 yards on 28 carries, including all three of the Poets' touchdowns.

Oxy left a big opportunity to score on the table on its first drive of the game when Greaves and Adams miscommunicated on an option with Adams a step to close, getting himself handcuffed on the pitch and fumbling at the 4-yard line. It was an important miscue with the offense moving the ball well.

Legend of the Shoes: During the week prior to the 1939 match up 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. 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 38-37, and the Tigers have a 57-52-2 record vs. Whittier all-time. 

Season Impact: The Tigers fall to 1-3 on the season and 0-2 in SCIAC play.

Whittier improves to 3-2 overall and 1-1.

Next Game: Oxy is back in action next Saturday, playing Chapman in its homecoming game at 3 p.m.