CLAREMONT, CA. – The Pomona-Pitzer Football team defeated Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) opponent La Verne 28-21 on Senior Night at Merritt Field.
Season Impact: With the win, the Sagehens improve to 3-4 overall and 2-3 in conference play this season.
The Sagehens were led by quarterback Edward Sias who threw for 181 yards going 11-16 with two touchdowns. Aseal Birir tallied 68 yards on the ground with a touchdown while David Berkinsky grabbed nine balls for 98 yards. Zach Harris, Evan Lloyd and Jack Storrs led the defense with 10 tackles each while Harris also had a sack and two tackles for a loss.
The defense showed up to play tonight for the Sagehens as they limited the Leopards to just 21 points, which is the lowest total points against the Sagehens this season.
The Sagehens got on the scoreboard first in this game after each team had a turnover on downs in their first drives, the Sagehens went 48 yards on five plays after Karter Odermann split the defense and went 28 yards up the middle for the first score of the game.
The Leopards offense struggled in the first half against a Sagehen defense that came out ready to play. After failing to get the ball anywhere near the red zone, the Leopards scored after a blocked field goal led to a scoop and score for 94 yards to tie the game at 7-7.
That play shifted momentum and gave the Leopards a spark as their defense forced the Sagehens to give the ball back to La Verne as they tried to get another score before halftime. During their next drive, the Sagehens got the ball back as Tate Tussing jumped a route and got his first pick of the season and gave the Sagehens the ball in Leopard territory.
The Sagehens capped off the remaining 36 yards as Birir punched in the one-yard touchdown run to give the Sagehens a 14-7 lead heading into halftime.
Pomona-Pitzer's defense came up big again in the second half as they bent but didn't break on the opening drive to hold the Leopards to just a field goal to still hold a 14-10 lead.
The Sagehen offense responded with a 20-yard pass from Sias to Kevin Masini to cap off a four-play 55-yard drive to take their largest lead of the night at 21-10.
La Verne came back with a quick field goal to cut the lead down to just a one possession game at 21-13 and then Sias made his only mistake of the night on the following possession as he hurled a deep ball into double covered that was picked off by the Leopards to give them the ball back around midfield.
La Verne took advantage of the Sagehen turnover and punched in a four-yard touchdown followed by a successful two-point conversion to tie the game at 21-21 with 10:54 left in the game.
The Leopards went on to try to punt the ball away to force the Sagehens into a tough drive but the Leopards' punter shanked a punt off of the side of his foot for a very short punt to give the Sagehens prime field position to try and take the lead late in the game.
It would only take one play for the Sagehens to take the lead as Sias connected with Nick Kapule for 36 yards to go up 28-21 with 6:16 left in the fourth.
The Leopards got the ball on the 20-yard line with 2:02 left to go with one timeout and a chance to tie. The Sagehen defense has been in this situation a few times before this season with two heart breaking losses at home.
The Leopards got the ball down to the Sagehens 16-yard line with four seconds left on the clock as all of Merritt Field held their breath. La Verne completed a ball at the one-yard line but Andrew Phillips quickly jumped on the receiver with his heels on the goal line as the Leopards were stopped one yard short of the end zone and the Sagehens held on for a win on Senior Night.
Up Next: The Sagehens will next play in the Sixth Street Rivalry on Saturday, November 11th at 1:00 p.m. as they cross the street and head to CMS.