CLAREMONT, CA. – What a game, what a play, what a rivalry. The Pomona-Pitzer Sagehens ended their four-year drought against CMS in dramatic fashion with a successful two-point conversation by David Berkinsky in overtime as the Sagehens walked off against the Stags, 29-28.
The Sagehens defeated CMS for the first time since 2012 and this is the first time that Pomona-Pitzer beat the Stags at Zinda field in 12 seasons.
Head coach, John Walsh, accomplished this feat in his first season at the helm of the Sagehen football program ending the year with a 4-4 overall record and 3-3 in conference play.
There were too many heroes to count in this game as the Sagehens put together a total team effort to earn the win over the Stags. Aseal Birir had another standout performance as he led all players with 210 yards rushing for his second 200-yard game of the year and has now eclipsed 1,000 yards on the season with 1,003 yards (in 8 games). Karter Odermann led all QB's with 87 yards and a touchdown while Birir also led all receivers with 51 yards on three receptions. Evan Lloyd came up big in his last game as a Sagehens as he led the defense with 11 tackles and a fumble recovery while Elan Harris helped out with an interception.
The first half began as a back-and-forth affair. Fresh off of their march down Sixth Street, the Sagehens marched 90 yards on their opening drive in 12 plays capped off by Odermann's seven-yard scramble to put the Sagehens up 7-0.
CMS came back in nine plays for 75 yards to tie the score at 7-7, but the Sagehens responded on the legs of Odermann from five yards out to take a 14-7 lead at the very start of the second quarter.
Pomona-Pitzer's defense came up big as the Stags tried to throw the ball deep down the field but Harris came up with the interception on a 50/50 jump ball to turn the ball over back to the Sagehens. However, on the very next play, the Stags came back with a pick of their own as Victor Bunce jumped Odermann's ball to give possession back to CMS.
The Stags took advantage of their turnover and turned it into seven points after a goaline run by Shane Pico tied the game at 14-14 with 12:23 left in the half.
The Sagehens capped off the first half as Birir broke loose for 45 yards to give Pomona-Pitzer a 21-14 advantage at halftime.
The second half was a defensive battle as both teams came out to play on the defensive side of the ball. CMS got out to a quick start as they got the ball to start the second half and went 66 yards on 14 plays to tie the game up at 21-21.
The Sagehens has an opportunity to take the lead late in the third quarter but a field goal attempt hit square on the post and fell straight down as the Stags held on to the tie.
CMS then had their opportunity to take the lead with just over one minute to play and starring at a 4th and goal with a chip shot field goal. Kyle Davis rose above the line and got a hand on the would-be game winning field goal and blocked it down to preserve the tie for the Sagehens as we headed to overtime in the Sixth Street Rivalry.
The Stags went on offense first and caught the Sagehens by surprise as they threw the ball over the top of the defense as Brenden Brown found Chris Cziesla for the go-ahead touchdown in overtime.
The Sagehens got possession and began with a disastrous start to overtime as Berkinsky dropped a pass on 1st and 10 followed by what may be the most overlooked play of the game as Odermann was strip sacked by Will Edwards and the ball squirted free from a CMS defender that was alertly jumped on by Zachary McCort to keep possession and keep the game alive.
The Sagehens were eventually faced with a 4th and 7 from the CMS 22-yard line. Odermann took the snap, danced around in the pocket, scrambled right, scrambled left and threw up a prayer to the end zone. The ball struck a CMS defender's helmet and bounced straight up into the air and picked out of the sky by Kevin Masini as the Sagehens completed the Hail Mary and were one point away from forcing another overtime.
However, the Sagehens weren't interested in keeping this game going any further. Coach Walsh gathered his offense after the touchdown and decided to win this game right here and now.
With all eyes on Birir, the Sagehens drew up a pass play as Berkinsky came across the middle and stuck the nose of the ball over the goal line for the win.