The Pomona-Pitzer football team lost its SCIAC opener this past Saturday 42-7 against a strong California Lutheran University squad. On a sweltering 90-degree afternoon at Merritt Field, the Sagehens took the field ready to play and battled against the Kingsmen to the final whistle, but Cal Lu took advantage of a few early mistakes by the Sagehens and kept up the pressure to seal the victory. This brings Cal Lu to 1-2 on the year and 1-0 in SCIAC. P-P is now 0-3 on the year and 0-1 in SCIAC.
The game began with P-P winning the toss and choosing to receive. Cal Lu’s kickoff traveled 63 yards and Kyle Lee PO ’17 returned the ball 23 yards to the P-P 25-yard line. P-P, however, could not get things going from there and ran six plays, totaling 21 yards, before being forced to punt. Cal Lu’s offense also stalled and only managed 36 yards on 10 plays before punting. The Kingsmen would respond on the next drive, however, moving the ball 47 yards for the first touchdown of the game. Cal Lu scored again before the end of the first quarter, running an interception back for a pick six.
The second quarter brought quicker changes of possession, as both teams managed fewer and fewer plays before being forced to punt. After a P-P three and out, Cal Lu took over possession and quickly moved the ball to the Sagehen 38. On the first down, a Sagehen defender looked like he was going to bring down the opposing quarterback for a sack, but the quarterback managed to find a receiver downfield while falling to the ground. That 60-yard reception was followed, two plays later, by a one-yard touchdown run for the Kingsmen, extending their lead to 21 going into half time.
After half time, the Hens rallied and got on the board in the third quarter. Running back Brett Harper PO ’16, who totaled 75 yards on 17 carries for the Hens, scored the only P-P touchdown 11 minutes and 34 seconds into the half after a nine-play drive. He ran for 40 yards on the drive, capping it off with a five-yard touchdown run near the home sideline. The scoring drive started after defensive back Vince Morgan PO ’15 forced a Cal Lu fumble and linebacker Nick Sbardelli PO ’14 recovered the ball at the Cal Lu 40-yard line, momentarily swinging the momentum in favor of P-P.
After the Sagehen touchdown, however, Cal Lu punched in two more touchdowns before the end of the third quarter. Even though the Hens were able to move the ball well at times, they weren’t able to complete any scoring drives, and the Kingsmen tacked on another touchdown in the fourth to end the game at 42-7.
Despite the final scoreline, Morgan remained positive after the game.
“The final score doesn’t accurately depict how hard-fought the game was on Saturday. We got beat on a few plays that went for touchdowns, but the team really made strides as a whole,” Morgan said. “I know that we’re capable of doing some really great things this season, especially once everyone is healthy. If we bring the intensity and effort from the Cal Lu game forward in the season, there are six teams that are going to be in for battle.”
Other players also made positive contributions for the Hens, including Duncan Hussey CGU ’15, who totaled 63 yards and seven catches on the game. On the defensive side of the ball, linebacker Kyle Roskamp PO ’14 managed 11 tackles, leading the Hens’ defense, followed by linebacker Matt O’Connor PO ’15, who had eight tackles.
Despite this loss, the Sagecocks started off SCIAC play with high energy, strong aggression, and excitement. This was an especially exhilarating game for first-year quarterback Alex Bresler PO ’17 as he experienced playing for the first time on a college team. He threw an impressive 100 yards Saturday afternoon, and also played a crucial role in Harper’s touchdown, as he helped lead the team down the field.
“I guess I’d say we did some things well but we have a lot of room for improvement in the rest of the SCIAC games,” Bresler said after the game.
Time is on the Hens’ side because the season is still young, and they still have six SCIAC games ahead of them.
The Sagehens return to Merritt Field this Saturday at 1 p.m. to take on the Chapman University Panthers. Chapman exploded offensively in its last game, moving the ball for over 500 yards in its 72-40 victory over Whittier. The P-P defense will certainly have its hands full as the Sagehens look for their first win of the season.