After defeating Whittier College two weekends ago to notch their first win of the season, the Sagehens stepped up again to beat the University of La Verne Leopards 31-23 with strong play from first-year quarterback Alex Bresler PO ’17 and senior defensive back Weston Staubus PO ’14. In the win, Bresler completed the trifecta: throwing for a touchdown, rushing for a touchdown, and even catching a touchdown on a throw back pass which involved running back Brett Harper PO ’16. On the defensive side of the ball, Staubus had two clutch interceptions and broke up the final pass of the game in the end zone to secure a victory for P-P. In recognition of his outstanding play, Staubus was named to the Team of the Week on d3football.com.
The Hens got out to a quick 6-0 lead after Bresler threw a short pass over the middle to wide receiver Ryan Randle PO ’14. Randle broke a tackle and then blew past the rest of the La Verne defense to score on a 39-yard touchdown pass. Neither team scored for the rest of the first quarter, and the Hens scored next on a fourth down early in the second. The coaching staff reached into their bag of tricks, calling for a lateral pass to Harper, who then threw it back across the field to Bresler. After catching the ball, Bresler tightroped his way down the sideline for the score. To top it off, on the extra point the Hens ran an impressive option with kicker Michael Weil PO ’14, who scored to make it 14-0.
La Verne struck next, however, on a 30-yard pass from Justin Gomez to wide receiver John Lilly. With the lead cut to just seven, the Hens drove back down the field on the next possession. With 4:09 left in the first half, Bresler eluded the La Verne rush and sprinted up the middle for a 53-yard touchdown run, completing his trifecta. La Verne’s kick returner Dallas Parent returned the ensuing kick-off 77 yards to the Hens’ 12-yard line. Two plays later, the Leopards scored on a nine-yard run to make it a one-touchdown game. Then, on the final play of the first half, kicker Alex Miller made a field goal to cut the lead to four points at 21-17.
The only score in the third quarter was another field goal from Miller, which made it a one-point game. A Staubus interception and return changed the momentum late in the third quarter, however, and brought the Hens down to the Leopards’ 20-yard line. Bresler then connected with tight-end Sean Mulcahy PZ ’16 on the final play of the third to give P-P a first and goal.
After switching sides to start the fourth quarter, Harper took a handoff from Bresler and kept his momentum moving forward, despite being hit behind the line, to score from four yards out. After kicking the extra point, the Hens regained a seven-point lead. Then Weil hit yet another field goal for P-P, this time from 25 yards out, to extend the lead to 10 before Miller answered just a few minutes after with a strong 35-yard field goal to make the score 31-23 with only six and a half minutes to play.
The Leopards earned the last chance to score, starting on their own 46-yard line after a key stop. Things got a little dicey after a roughing-the-passer penalty against the Hens gave La Verne a new set of downs on the P-P 10-yard line. The P-P defense held strong, setting up a final try for the Leopards on fourth and 10. Justin Gomez threw to the back of the end zone to John Lilly, but Staubus capped off his impressive game by breaking up the attempt, sealing the victory for the Hens.
With just under two minutes left and no time-outs remaining for La Verne, the Hens ran out the clock, securing their second straight win by a score of 31-23. Bresler threw for 188 yards in addition to his three touchdowns and also added 100 yards on the ground. Harper rushed for 85 yards on 18 carries. Jack Pietrykowski PO ’16 stepped up after Randle went down with a broken foot and Duncan Hussey CGU missed the game with an injury, as he caught seven passes for 81 yards. Junior linebacker Matt O’Connor PO ’15 led the defense with 12 tackles. Senior linebackers Kyle Roskamp PO ’14 and Nick Sbardellati PO ’14 both had nine tackles. In addition to Staubus’s two interceptions, Justin Gomez also threw one to Don Swan PO ’15.
The Hens are back in action at home this weekend versus Occidental College at the Battle of the Drum, a rivalry game that dates all the way back to the 1890s.