After a very slow start on both sides of the ball, the Pomona-Pitzer football team lost 24-7 to the Chapman University Panthers last Saturday. The Sagehens are now 0-4 in the season and 0-2 in SCIAC.
Even before kickoff, the Sagehens were off to a bad start when inside linebacker Jake Rollins PO ’13 discovered that he had left his cleats back at the Rains Center.
Things wouldn’t look much better for the Sagehens once the game began.
In other games this season, the P-P defense has come out strong in the first half and faltered in the second. Unfortunately, that was not the case on Saturday in Orange County. The Sagehens struggled from both sides of the ball early on, coming on late in the game. Keeping with previous trends, however, the P-P defense played well overall but was killed on a few disastrous plays that determined the final outcome.
After steadily moving up the field to the P-P 43-yard line in the first drive of the game, a Chapman receiver got open behind the Sagehen secondary and was hit with a perfect pass for the long touchdown. This put the Panthers up by seven points barely three minutes into the game. The Sagehen offense would be forced into a three and out on their first drive of the game, and again the Chapman offense exploded for another long touchdown after three long running plays to go up 14-0.
Fortunately for the Sagehens, the defense got their feet underneath them and would hold the Panthers to only one field goal the rest of the half. The P-P defense even forced a turnover early in the second quarter when pressure from the defensive line forced the Chapman quarterback to throw an ill-advised pass that was picked off by safety Don Swan PO ’15, the first interception of his career.
“Chapman bought tickets for the Swan Show,” Vince Morgan PO ’15 said after the game.
Nicky Lacivita PZ ’15 almost forced a turnover of his own when he made a great hit on a Chapman wide receiver to jar the ball loose. However, the officials said that the receiver did not have control of the ball, and it was therefore ruled an incomplete pass. Mike Etzel PO ’15 paced the defense with twelve total tackles, including five tackles for loss. Etzel had some key stops in the red zone to keep the Panthers out of the endzone, forcing them to settle for a field goal.
Despite having a couple of key players returning from injuries, including Ryan Randle PO ’14 and Peter Ferrin PO ’14, the Sagehen offense never really got going during the game and only found pay dirt halfway through the fourth quarter.
Randle made a great grab in the endzone through two defenders on a perfect pass from quarterback Luke Ferguson PO ’13 to get the Sagehens on the board and prevent a shutout. Another positive for the P-P offense came from the run game, as captain Luke Sweeney PO ’13 put up 169 yards on the ground to move into second place in P-P history for career rushing yards. He now stands 199 yards away from catching the all-time leader James Regan PO ’99, a Pomona-Pitzer Hall of Fame inductee who played from 1995-98. Head Coach Roger Caron made sure to point out that it was not just a personal accomplishment, but it also reflects all of the hard work of the offensive line and the players who have blocked in front of him.
P-P faces off against Whittier College this Saturday in the Hens’ first home game in over a month. Despite the fact that they have many skilled players, including multiple junior college and Division I transfers, the Poets are also 0-2 in SCIAC, and their only win this season came against a weak Puget Sound team. Defensively, the Sagehens will have to stop the big plays that have hurt them all season to give themselves a chance to win. The Poet defense has given up almost 200 yards rushing per game this year, a good sign for a Sagehen offense that relies on the run game. The game begins at 7 p.m.