CLAREMONT, CA. – Senior running back Aseal Biri set the single game rushing record with 275 yards and a career-high five touchdowns in the Sagehens' 43-41 loss to Cal Lutheran on Saturday night at Merritt Field.
Season Impact: With the loss, the Sagehens fall to 1-3 overall and now 0-2 to start SCIAC play.
The Sagehens were led by Birir who set the single game rushing record with 275 yards and a career-high five touchdowns. Sophomore Karter Odermann threw for 168 yards and a touchdown while senior David Berkinsky caught 12 balls for 122 yards receiving. Senior Zach Harris led the Sagehens on defense with nine total tackles and a tackle for a loss while Jack Storrs and Blake Gunn each shared a sack.
This was the second-straight week of heartbreak for the Sagehen football team as they fell in the second week in a row by just two points on the final drives of the game.
The big story for Cal Lutheran was the game of pitch and catch between quarterback Adam Friederichsen and wide receiver Wendall O'Brien. Friederichsen tallied 326 yards through the air with four touchdowns with 214 of those yards coming to the hands of O'Brien as well as three touchdowns.
The offenses were flowing early and often as Birir wasted no time getting his record-breaking night off to a fast start with a five-yard touchdown on the opening drive.
Cal Lu got off to two consecutive scoring drives on a touchdown to O'Brien and a field goal to take a 10-7 lead before Biri broke loose for 60 yards to put the Sagehens up 14-10 to open up the second quarter.
O'Brien came back with another touchdown from 18 yards out but the Sagehens ended the half on top as Birir punched in a one-yard touchdown to put Pomona-Pitzer on top 20-17 entering the half.
The Kingsmen took over the game in the third quarter as they shut the Sagehens out in the third and scored back to back touchdowns to take a 31-20 lead heading into the fourth.
After Cal Lu punted to open up the fourth the two teams scored five-straight touchdowns between the two of them.
The Sagehens climbed right back into the game as they scored after forcing the Kingsmen to punt to cut the lead down to 31-28 but O'Brien got single coverage on the outside and made the Sagehens pay for it as he went 63 yards for the score.
Pomona-Pitzer came back with a quick drive to put seven more points back up on the board after a 23-yard touchdown run by Birir but O'Brien found single coverage yet again and went 70 yards to open up the drive before being tackled down at the four to set up the Kingsmen for a four-yard touchdown run.
An interesting moment in the game followed this score for Cal Lutheran as they were up by eight points after the score and elected to go for a two-point conversion when just an extra point would have made it a two-score game. The Kingsmen attempt was unsuccessful and left the door open for the Sagehens to potentially tie the game and send it to overtime.
The Sagehens marched down the field suing all of the four minutes they had left on the clock to start the drive and went 78 yards in eight plays as Odermann scrambled out of the pocket to find Nick Kapule in the back of the endzone to cut the lead down to two points with a crucial two-point conversion to follow.
The Sagehens went with a pass on the extra point attempt that fell incomplete as the Kingsmen came to Merritt Field and survived for a win against the Sagehens.
Up Next: The Sagehens will next travel to SCIAC opponent Whittier on Saturday, October 14th at 1:00 p.m.