Murillo takes it to the air for the Wolfpack
By Pete Marshall
CLAREMONT >> Claremont usually likes to run the ball more than it did Friday night.
But with Pomona keying on the run, quarterback Ricky Murillo was more than happy to throw the ball.
Murillo threw for 302 yards and four touchdowns to lead the Wolfpack to a 41-23 nonleague win over Pomona.
“When we saw they were in Cover Zero (defense), I knew we were going to throw the ball,” Murillo said.
Murillo completed 14 of 21 passes without an interception.
“They were just stacking the box against us so we had to throw,” Claremont coach Shane Hile said.
Murillo threw three of his four touchdown passes in the second half as the Wolfpack (2-1) built a 27-point lead.
Pomona’s only first-half touchdown came on a 94-yard kickoff return by Matthew Moore and it only showed signs of life on offense when senior Omar Lua (who is a starting linebacker) replaced his cousin, Anthony Banuelos (who threw two interceptions) at quarterback in the second half. Lua rushed for one touchdown and threw for another.
“We really need him at linebacker, so we didn’t want to play him there,” Pomona coach Leonard Hudson said. “We hope Banuelos can figure it out.”
Both coaches stressed their team needs to get better.
“We had a lot of mental mistakes. When you have two guys in motion twice, that’s not good,” Hile said. “We have a lot of guys going both ways, so we got mentally tired. We need to get better.”
Murillo threw two of his touchdown passes to Alex Sotolongo (five catches, 112 yards), and one each to Isaiah Love (five catches, 147 yards) and Ryan Campuzano.
Devin Carraway returned an interception for Claremont, which built a 34-7 lead going to the fourth quarter before Pomona rallied within 34-23.
In an odd sequence, with more than two minutes remaining. Claremont took a knee three straight times, then on fourth-and-18 in the final minute, Murillo threw his final touchdown pass, to Campuzano.
“We were without any running backs. They were hurt,” said Hile who added that none of the injuries were serious. “So we just had him take a knee. When we got to fourth down, we said we might as well throw it.”
Hudson was frustrated.
“We just need attention to detail. They’re not putting in the time watching film,” Hudson said. “We (coaches) thought we made it simple, but I guess we didn’t.”
Claremont quarterback Ricky Murillo looks to throw the ball against Pomona during a 302-yard passing night in the Wolfpack’s win Friday.
PHOTO BY JOHN VALENZUELA