The Crazy Cougar Clan

by Nicole Chin ’08

On Friday night, January 28, 2005, 3,602 people packed Felix Event Center for the feature presentation: Azusa Pacific’s Cougars versus those feared foes, the Biola Eagles. The rush from the largest crowd in GSAC history, cheering on some of APU’s finest athletes, was invigorating for the Cougars. The stadium was littered in black to commemorate a long-standing APU tradition called Blackout.

Point guard Larry English ’05 led scorers with 23 points, including a three-pointer in the first 15 seconds. His quick dishes to teammates, stealthy ability to find an open shot, and pestering defense were just some of the highlights from the 86th annual meeting between the two rivals.

There were plenty of memorable sights at this year’s game: a pair of freshmen softball players running across the court, embarrassed, in brightly colored clothes and inner tubes; one group of young men on whose chests was written “Jesus is a Cougar fan”; another group proudly displaying “A-Z-U-S-A”; a man draped in a toga; and more than 2,000 screaming fans in Blackout T-shirts. Otis Holt ’08 described the crowd as confident and crazy, saying, “We are a confident Cougar clan and we mobbed deep,” referring to the end of the game, when he and many other students cleared the bleachers and mobbed English, carrying him on their shoulders.

Toward the end of the night, with only 1:38 remaining, Lance Soderberg ’06 slammed the second dunk of the night on a fast break, beginning the jingling of keys, which signaled the conclusion of a Cougar-dominated game.

The Cougars pounced on the Eagles 74-59. With their eighth straight victory, APU improved to 17-5 overall and 9-2 in conference, earning sole possession of first place in the GSAC, a game ahead of second-place Biola.