The Sagehen-Stag football game lived up to its hype and then some. After a hard-fought, back-and-forth game, it came down to one final drive. With 1:30 left in the fourth quarter, the fans got the exciting finish they were waiting for.
Down one touchdown, the Sagehens were able to advance the ball to the CMS 29-yard line with under ten seconds to play. After some dubious timekeeping by the officials, Pomona-Pitzer quarterback Jake Caron PI ’11 had time to throw up one final prayer into the end zone. While the pass couldn’t have been better, the Sagehens weren’t able to come down with it—a fittingly nail-biting ending in a game that saw no team lead by more than a touchdown.
The Stags got on the board first, scoring on their opening possession. Quarterback Patrick Rooney CM ’12 kept it himself and ran in for a 23-yard touchdown.
CMS kept the Sagehens off the scoreboard until the second quarter, when P-P capitalized on a couple of Stag turnovers. Captain Bobby Montalvo PI ’10 made a great interception and returned it 50 yards to set up the Sagehens deep in Stag territory. The Stags’ tough red zone defense gave little ground for three plays, but on fourth down QB Jacob Caron PI ’11 found WR Colin Regan PO ’10 in the end zone for a 25-yard touchdown pass.
The Sagehens wound up scoring on the very next play from scrimmage. Jacob Rollins PO ’13 picked up a Stag fumble and ran it back 30 yards for a touchdown, electrifying the Sagehen crowd.Then, with less than two minutes left in the first half, the Stags marched downfield and made it into the end zone to cap off a ten-play, 51-yard drive, cutting the score to 14-13 after a blocked extra point attempt.
After a sloppy third qauarter in which neither team was able to get anything going offensively, the Stags caught the Sagehens off guard with a trick play to start the fourth quarter. Rooney pitched the ball to RB Jack Lamb ’11 who, instead of running up field, found wide out Mike Hirokawa CM ’10 blazing down the field for a 39-yard touchdown pass.
The Stags were able to convert on their two-point conversion attempt to make their lead 21-14.
While the Sagehen offense seemed to be running out of gas against a tough Stag defense, Caron and company scored on an eight-play, 50-yard drive, capped off with Caron’s 1-yard touchdown run on fourth and goal. The PAT was good, bringing the game to a 21-21 tie.
However, on the ensuing kickoff, Hirokawa once again came up with the big play, taking the kick-off 74 yards to the P-P 3-yard line. The Stags were able to punch it in from there, giving themselves a one touchdown lead, 28-21.
The Sagehens were unable to get anything going offensively after that, and the Stags ended up taking the victory 28-21.
Caron completed 20 of his 45 passes, with one touchdown and three interceptions. Regan had six catches for 123 yards and one touchdown, and star wide receiver RJ Maki PO ’11 had nine catches for 93 yards. On the ground, running back Russel Oka PI ’11 had 47 yards rushing. Defensively, Ross Tanaka PO ’11 had 10 solo tackles and two sacks.
For the Stags, Rooney completed 12 of his 23 passes with one touchdown and one interception. Defensively, defensive back Brock Olson CMC ’10 had six solo tackles and two interceptions.
Next year, the Sagehens will return a strong core of players, including their quarterback, top receiver, top running back, and starting defensive linemen. The team hopes to move other underclassmen into the gaping hole left by the graduating captains.