We have previously chronciled the difficulites Azusa Pacfic encounters as the only Division II program in southern California. APU competes in the Great Northwest Conference, which has just six football-playing teams. This means that each team plays a home-and-home with each conference foe for a 10-game lead schedule. As the only team in the league located in southern California, the Cougars' closest road game lies 362 miles away in St. George, Utah. The rest of APU's road trips take them to locales between 500 and 1,000 miles away in the Pacific Northwest. It's a lot to take on for a team transitioning from NAIA to Division II.
However, none of that mattered on Saturday as head coach Victor Santa Cruz's team broke through to win its first Division II game, 24-17 over Central Washington. The Cougars rebounded from a 41-17 loss at Central Washington earlier in the season.
The win came in dramatic fashion, as Azusa Pacific hit a 47-yard pass with under a minute remaining to break a 17-17 tie and then stepped in front of a Central Washington pass at the APU 11-yard line with 18 seconds left wo seal the win.
Watch the video of those two plays below.