The Pomona-Pitzer football team went into their game on Saturday knowing that they are a much better team than their 0-5 record suggests. This is, after all, the same team that just sent last season’s quarterback—now Quarterback Coach Jacob Caron PZ ’11—to play in the arena football league next season. This is the team that boasts the leading running back not just in Division III, but in the entire NCAA. These are the Sagehens that are averaging more than 27 points a game and have lost three games by ten points or less. Unfortunately, this wasn’t the weekend their potential would be realized as they suffered another embarrassing loss to a ranked opponent, this time at the hands of Cal Lutheran.
Although the game appeared to be over by halftime, four full quarters were played as the Cal Lutheran Kingsmen, ranked 18th in Division III, cruised past the injury-riddled Sagehens. The Kingsmen made their mark on this game early through four quick touchdowns, all punched in by their star running back Daniel Mosier. The P-P rushing attack, on the other hand, was nowhere to be found. Luke Sweeney PO ’13, coming into the contest with an average of 203.2 yards per game, was held to just 56 yards, and no other Sagehen—with the exception of constantly on-the-run quarterback Luke Ferguson PO ’13—even attempted a rush. The Cal Lutheran players were clearly larger and stronger than the Sagehens, and it showed from the final score of 62-7. However, one player who refused to be intimidated by the larger Kingsmen was linebacker Jake Rollins PO ’13.
Rollins, always near the top of the team’s tackle breakdown, blew his fellow Sagehens away with 18 total tackles—9 solo and 9 assisted—twice as many as the next closest player. Rollins always seemed to be exactly where he needed to be to make a play, and he proved unafraid to take on the Cal Lutheran blockers (weights ranging from 235-320 pounds) in order to get to the running back.
“Jake is the leader of our defense and [he] stepped up big against Cal Lu,” fellow defenseman Willie Goldberg PO ’15—three solo and three assisted tackles himself—said after the game. “He knows his responsibilities, fills his gaps, and plays downhill. He is our team’s leading tackler and it is great to be able to count on him to make big defensive plays like he did on Saturday.”
Although Rollins had always been consistent, he hadn’t yet had the breakout type performance he did on Saturday. Unfortunately, it wasn’t nearly enough to keep the Sagehens in the game.
After racking up a 48-0 halftime lead behind their powerful running game, Cal Lutheran slowed down a bit in the second half as P-P’s defense stiffened, and a strong scoring drive by Luke Ferguson in the final three minutes saved the Sagehens from a potential shutout. On a day when the offense and defense had lackluster games, the Sagehen special teams unit proved to be a welcome bright spot. P-P forced one of the Kingsmen’s field goal tries to bounce off the upright, stopped another extra point attempt, and racked up over 200 yards on kick returns; but it was hardly a consolation for the way the rest of the game played out.
The Sagehens now sport a 0-6 record, but they still have the nation’s leading rusher, an offense that has proven its explosive potential, and a defensive anchor that should help lead a struggling unit. Next Saturday, Pomona-Pitzer looks to prove that they are still far better than their record suggests as they travel to Whittier for a 7:00 p.m. game.