Memphis. Tn. – The Pomona-Pitzer Football team erased a 21-point first half deficit to come back to earn a 38-31 win on the road against Rhodes College on Saturday night at Crain Field.
Season Impact: With the win, the Sagehens improve to 1-0 on the year while Rhodes drops their first loss of the season and falls to 1-1.
The Sagehens were led by Edward Sias who went 19-31 in the season opener with 256 yards and one touchdown in the win. Aseal Birir rushed for 109 yards on 24 attempts with two touchdowns on the ground and threw for one in the air. David Berkinsky led the receiving core with 79 yards on seven catches with one touchdown but the supporting cast played a major role as well as Kevin Masini tallied 69 yards and Karter Odermann caught six balls for 64 yards and a touchdown.
The Lynx were led by PJ Settles who threw for 16-34 and 208 yards with four touchdowns. Monroe McKay rushed for 81 yards on the ground and Josh Lucas led the receivers with 72 yards.
It was a tale of two halves for the Sagehens in this one as Rhodes quickly jumped on top as they scored in their opening drive on 10 plays for 87 yards. The Sagehens made a good amount of first game mistakes in the first half as the defense jumped offsides three times in the opening drive and a snap flew over the head of the quarterback on the first third down of the year for the Sagehens.
The Lynx came back and scored again on a Settles pass to the endzone as Rhodes led 14-0 with 4:48 in the first quarter.
Pomona-Pitzer shook off the jitters and struck quick as Birir broke out for a big 51-yard run for the first touchdown of the season for the Sagehens to cut the lead to 14-7.
Rhodes would then punch in their third touchdown of the quarter as Settles threw in yet another touchdown as the Lynx led 21-7 heading into the second quarter. The Lynx took their largest lead of the game at 28-7 after Settles threw his fourth touchdown of the half to cap off a 10 play 69-yard drive with 7:09 left in the half.
From that point on, it was all Sagehens as they responded with a 10 play drive of their own as Odermann punched in a rushing touchdown from three yards out to cut the lead to 28-14.
The defense stepped up at the end of the half and forced a three and out on the ensuing Rhodes possession and got the ball back with 2:17 left in the half. Pomona-Pitzer put more points up on the board after Chase Redd connected on a 39-yard field goal to cut the lead down to 28-17.
Rhodes got the ball back with 31 seconds left in the half and made the crucial mistake of getting greedy before halftime. The very first play of their possession the Lynx decided to throw the ball down the field, which was cut off and intercepted by linebacker Evan Lloyd who returned it back to the Rhodes 27-yard line to set the Sagehens up for another scoring opportunity before half.
The Sagehens inched closer to the goalline and decided to go for it with two seconds left on the clock before half. Sias was able to find Berkinsky in the back of the end zone as time expired and Pomona-Pitzer came all the way back to cut the lead to just 28-24 at halftime.
Pomona-Pitzer got the ball to start the second half and capped off a seven play 75-yard drive with some trickery as Sias pitched the ball to Birir and Birir threw a halfback pass to find Odermann for the score as the Sagehens took their first lead of the game at 31-28.
The Lynx stalled out on their next drive and the Sagehens put points on the board for their fifth-straight possession as Birir punched in a goalline run to go up 38-28 on Rhodes with 3:55 left in the third quarter.
Rhodes was able to put up three points in the fourth quarter for their only points of the second half but the Sagehens were able to run out the clock and complete the comeback win over Rhodes in their first game of the year.
Up Next: The Sagehens return home as they host Lewis & Clark at Merritt Field on Saturday, September 16th at 12:00 p.m.