Azusa Pacific University’s football team is off to an 0-2 start, which means it is already in a position where it can’t lose any more games if it expects to make the NAIA playoffs. However, something else took place recently that put athletics in perspective. Senior Gabe Higerd, a three-year starter on defense, suffered a severely broken leg after falling some 25 feet while rock climbing in San Diego on Labor Day. He is lost for the season. Shinnick said Higerd was hopeful of being deployed to Iraq after his December graduation. The injury will likely prevent that from happening. – The Cougars play host to Willamette (Ore.) at 6 p.m. Saturday. The Bearcats are also 0-2. They lost on the road, 35-0, to Western Oregon and then followed with a 45-24 setback at home to Mary Hardin Baylor. A loss Saturday and APU’s season will be over as far as the playoffs are concerned. It would be virtually impossible for an independent to make the playoff field with three losses. – University of La Verne’s football team will be back in action Saturday after a bye last week that followed the Leopards’ 20-17 victory over Pomona-Pitzer Colleges in a season opener. La Verne will travel to Spokane, Wash., for a 12:30 p.m. game against Whitworth College. The Leopards won’t have it easy. Whitworth opened its season last Saturday with a 35-21 victory over University of Redlands, perennial SCIAC contender. – The La Verne women’s soccer team on Sunday won the Transylvania Soccer Showcase Tournament with a 2-1 victory over the host Transylvania Pioneers in Lexington, Ky. The Leopards (2-0-1) got goals from Katie Ford and Chelsea Riggins. Tori Cannon scored for Transylvania (3-1-1). — Robert Morales can be reached at (626) 962-8811, Ext. 2213, or by e-mail at [email protected] 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Higerd, who had a rod inserted into the leg during subsequent surgery, was rappelling with his father and two brothers. He was attempting to set a third anchor when the other two anchors came loose and he fell onto the rocks below, shattering the femur bone in his left leg. According to Cougars coach Pete Shinnick, Higerd’s ROTC Army training the past three summers helped save his life. His back apparently took the brunt of the force when he hit the rocks. “With all of his Army training, Gabe is really accomplished at rappelling,” Shinnick said. “As he was falling, he recalled his training, which says to relax the body. As a result, his head and neck were spared serious injury. “He’s really fortunate to be alive.” Gary Pine, sports information director and assistant athletic director at APU, said Tuesday that Higerd was back at school but was having a difficult time getting around campus. Higerd could not be reached for comment. He has attended the Army’s jump school in Georgia and Army Mountain Warfare School in Vermont. Higerd, a strong safety out of Mammoth Lakes, had 107 tackles and two interceptions in his 33-game career.