Sagehens Spoil Poets’ Homecoming, Earn First Win in Overtime Thriller

The Pomona-Pitzer football team won its first game of the season this past weekend, beating the Whittier College Poets in a thrilling overtime marathon. The Hens’ defense held the high-powered Whittier offense to just 10 points—the Poets scored 40 points earlier this season against first-place Chapman University. A 20-yard pass from quarterback Alex Bresler PO ’17 to running back Brett Harper PO ’16 on the first possession of overtime gave the Hens a 17-10 lead. On Whittier’s subsequent possession, defensive lineman Brett Lingle CGU forced a fumble, which was recovered by defensive lineman Brian Friel PO ‘15 to end the game. 

The Poets got off to a quick start, scoring 10 points in the first eight minutes of the opening quarter. On their first drive, Whittier moved down the field quickly, going 65 yards in just seven plays, capping the possession with a one-yard touchdown run from running back Anthony Walker. Walker, who fumbled to end the game, ran for 209 yards, accounting for more than two-thirds of Whittier’s total offense. The Hens’ offense was led by Brett Harper PO ’16, who rushed 24 times for 86 yards and caught three passes for 41 yards and a touchdown. Duncan Hussey CGU had six catches for 92 yards, including a 49-yard reception that setup the Hens’ first touchdown.

After the first touchdown, Whittier got a quick stop from their defense and took over on from their own 40-yard line. The Poets took advantage of the good field position, and drove down the field before kicker Alex Jungsten made a 28-yard field goal attempt to put the Poets up 10-0. The Hens responded: With 4:05 left in the first quarter, Bresler scored on a keeper from two yards out. The rush capped off a six-play, 54-yard drive that was sparked by a key 16-yard catch and run by wide receiver Jack Pietrykowksi PO ’16.

The Poets continued to threaten the Hens throughout the rest of the game, but were unable to score again. A clutch second-quarter interception from defensive back Nelson Cole PO ’16 stopped the Poets and gave the Hens the ball on their own 30-yard line. The Hens drove deep into Whittier’s territory, but were forced to try a 34-yard field goal. Kicker Michael Weil PO ’14 came through, tying the game at 10-10 with just 25 seconds left in the second half. 

Sloppy offense from both P-P and Whittier was the story of the second half, as both defenses came through with stop after stop. Whittier punted five times and quarterback TJ Jordan was intercepted once in the second half by Sagehen safety Weston Staubus PO ’14, who normally plays cornerback but switched positions on Saturday to adjust to a new defensive package. The Hens also couldn’t seem to get anything going, as they too were forced to punt over and over again. Bresler was intercepted late in the fourth quarter in the end zone after the Hens reached the 12-yard line. The Hen’s defense continued to hold the Whittier offense at bay, forcing another punt on the subsequent drive. 

With the score knotted at 10, the game went into overtime. After starting on the 25-yard line, Bresler linked up with Harper to finally break the scoring drought of the second half. Weil’s extra point attempt was good, giving the Hens a seven-point lead. Lingle met Whittier’s star running back at the line on the Poet’s third play of their overtime drive, forcing the fumble. Friel recovered, allowing the Hens to spoil Whittier’s homecoming game. With the win, the Hens improved to 1-4 overall, and 1-2 in SCIAC. 

The Hens will play again at home on Saturday, Oct. 26 at 7 p.m. against SCIAC rival University of La Verne.

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