The Claremont-Mudd-Scripps football team (3-2, 2-0 SCIAC) took on the Cal Lutheran Kingsmen (2-3, 1-1 SCIAC) at home Oct. 6, and took a 17-10 victory in a defensive battle.
Both teams entered the game 1-0 in the SCIAC, and were both looking to emerge from the contest with an undefeated conference record intact.
The Stags got off to a hot start, and took advantage of a fumble on the opening kickoff to take possession deep in Cal Lu territory. Minutes later, Garrett Cheadle HM ’20 rushed for 12 yards to the Cal Lutheran end zone for the game’s first touchdown.
The CMS defense held that lead for the rest of the opening quarter, yet minutes into the second, the Kingsmen answered. Running back Jabar Byrd slipped through the CMS defensive line and ran down the sideline 57 yards to even the score at seven.
CMS remained composed, and midway through the second, quarterback Jake Norville CM ’21 connected with Theo Chamberlain CM ’21 for a 17-yard touchdown pass. While the Kingsmen tacked on a field goal before the end of the half, CMS led at halftime 14-10.
Both defenses continued to excel in the third, and CMS was only able to score off an Alessandro Maiuolo HM ’22 field goal to go back up a touchdown.
After making a defensive stop early in the fourth, the Stags then retook possession with 9:29 remaining in the game. Not attempting a pass for the rest of the contest, CMS ran the time all the way off the clock with a 15-play drive to secure the victory.
“The offense was able to string together a long drive on the ground which allowed us to control the ball and run out the clock when we needed it most,” Cheadle said.
Assistant Coach and Defensive Coordinator Mark Odin recognized that the Stags’ win was well earned.
“Our success started with preparation from the beginning of the week and how focused the guys were — everything from meetings to practice predicted the outcome of our win on Saturday.”
The Stags capitalized on the weaknesses of the opposing team to earn the win, which included the fumble on the opening kickoff and 83 yards of penalties. Odin was particularly impressed with the defensive line, especially because Cal Lutheran had given the team problems offensively in the past.
Although the win was a team effort, certain players stepped up to secure success for the Stags.
“So many people have to do so many things on any given play that lead to the success of the team, but if there were a player who particularly stood out, it would be Garrett Cheadle, our running back,” Odin said. “The past couple weeks he’s been carrying the team on his back with how hard he’s been working and fast he’s been running.”
Cheadle finished the game with 138 yards and a touchdown on 30 carries. He has rushed for over 100 yards in four of the Stags’ five games.
The running back, when asked about his performance, instead emphasized the collective team effort that led the Stags to victory.
“Our defense really stepped up, stopping Cal Lutheran on both fourth-down attempts and putting a stop to their run game,” Cheadle said.
As the season advances, the team has set goals to help them succeed in the conference.
“One [goal] is to do our best on the next play, and that’s it. We want to focus and give our full attention on what we’re working on, and not worry about the next one. We’re taking it one play at a time,” Odin said.
The team’s next play will come at Redlands (4-1, 2-0 SCIAC) this Saturday, Oct. 13, who is, according to Odin, arguably the Stags’ toughest competition in the SCIAC.