The Sagecocks’ football season could not have ended any more dramatically than it did Saturday, when they took on rival CMS. The homecoming battle for the Peace Pipe (awarded annually to the winner of the P-P/CMS rivalry game) pitted the Sagecocks against a heavily favored Stag squad. After playing down to the wire and taking CMS into overtime, P-P lost 31-30 when they were stopped on a two-point conversion attempt in overtime.
There was early excitement as both teams forced turnovers within the first minute of the game. CMS intercepted a pass from Jake Caron PZ ’11 on the second play of the game, but the P-P defense answered when defensive back Nick Sbardellati PO ’14 recovered a fumble on the very next play.
After the teams traded two punts apiece, the Stags forced a second interception in P-P territory, but the P-P defense stopped the Stags on the three-yard line, holding CMS to a field goal. The Sagehen offense followed with a long drive to the Stag 14-yard line. Midway through the second quarter, Brian Hentschel PO ‘14 evened the scored with a field goal.
On its next possession, CMS broke a long run to sustain a drive and scored on a two-yard run from Peter Kimmey CMC ’13. The Sagehen offense followed with another 10-play, 62-yard drive that ended in a two-yard Jake Caron touchdown run.
CMS caught a break before the half, scoring on a fourth-down play from outside the red zone to take a 17-10 lead.
Defense controlled the third quarter, the only score coming when Bobby McNitt PZ ’11 caught an eight-yard pass from Caron after the Sagecocks drove downfield for 69 yards on 12 plays.
In the fourth quarter, CMS scored on another long run while P-P put together another solid drive ending in a 10-yard Caron run. Although the Saghens missed a PAT earlier in the game, Caron found wideout R.J. Maki PO ’11 (13 receptions) for the crucial two-point conversion to tie the game. Regulation ended with the score tied 24-24.
In overtime the Stags took first possession and scored, opting to kick an extra point for a 31-24 lead. The Sagecock offense, needing a touchdown to stay alive, scored on a six-yard pass from Caron to Maki—one of Caron’s 30 completions on the day. The deciding moment in the game came when P-P coach Roger Caron made the call to go for a two-point conversion and a potential win. With fatigue nipping at the heels of both teams and the PAT hardly a foregone conclusion, it was almost certainly the right decision. Unfortunately, the Sagehens came up just short of the goal line on a QB sneak, painfully losing a game that they had controlled most of.
“It was a great game—both to play in and, I’m sure, fun to watch,” Jake Caron said after the game. “It’s always a close game between CMS and us—you can throw each team’s records out the window because records don’t matter in rivalry games. Football is truly a game of inches and we were a couple of inches away from pulling a huge upset. Still, both sides of the ball played their hearts out and I’m extremely proud of both our players and coaches. P-P football will be a competitor for years to come.”
Caron finished his senior season leading SCIAC in total offense (255 yards/game). Maki led the conference in receiving yards (104 per game), and his 10.3 receptions per game are the best in all of Division III football (second-best in NCAA). RB Luke Sweeney PO ’13 was the Sagecocks’ leading rusher with 824 total yards this year.