Stags Intercept a Victory Against Lewis & Clark

As the
Claremont-Mudd-Scripps football team cruised to a commanding 36-14 victory over
Lewis & Clark College on Sept. 13, they at last began to erase
memories of their game a week before.

With the clock winding down in CMS’ first game of the season against the
University of Puget Sound, the team’s last-second field goal attempt fell short, and CMS found itself returning home from Washington without a ‘W’ in
tow. 

However, the
fourth quarter of the Stags’ second game served as a platform for a much sweeter
ending. Buoyed by a defense that snatched three interceptions, including two by
linebacker Max Winsberg CM ’15, the team was able to put together a complete
effort on both sides of the ball and avenge their loss from the previous week.

“Our
defensive guys are very disciplined and play very well together and pursue the
ball like crazy, and we had good team play,” head coach Kyle Sweeney said. 

On offense,
CMS took to the air to penetrate the Lewis and Clark defense, exploiting a
weakness in the Lewis and Clark secondary they had discovered. After the first of Winsberg’s interceptions
on Lewis and Clark’s second possession of the game, running back Nick Gott CM ’17 found
the end zone to give CMS a 7-0 lead. Then, quarterback Trey Reynolds CM ’17 found wide receiver Tyler Stanek CM ‘17 to increase the Stag lead heading into halftime.

“We saw how their defensive backs were
aligned and realized that they were leaving the middle of the field open, so we
felt like we could attack the middle with one of our slot receivers,” Stanek said. “They were
in man defense most of the game, so we felt like we could beat them one-on-one.”

Throughout
the night, Stanek used his position in the slot to infiltrate the Lewis and
Clark defense as he snagged 10 passes for 167 yards and three touchdowns, all
single-game career highs.

The Stag offense went into full force in the fourth quarter, beginning when
Reynolds connected with Stanek again for a 70-yard touchdown strike.  CMS promptly followed that score with another
touchdown connection between Reynolds and Stanek, packaged with a Reynolds two-point
conversion. Another scoring run by running back Andrew Segre CM ’18 gave the Stags 22
fourth-quarter points as the team closed out the game with a statement.

Last year, it took a last-second field goal by kicker Matt Aven CM ’17 to give CMS a 31-28
victory over Lewis & Clark. This year’s game against the Pioneers was definitely a step in the
right direction. Sweeney, who took over offensive coordinator duties this
season, attributed some of the success to an increase in play-calling diversity
this year.

“I think
we’re more aggressive, and we have more formations and motions, so we can give
you different looks,” he said. “We have some similar plays, but we disguise
them better, and we’ve gone a lot of up-tempo at times in order to force the defense
to adjust.  On Saturday, we caught Lewis
and Clark with too many guys on the field at times and got off a big play when
they couldn’t get set in time.”

After
earning their first victory of the season, CMS now has a two-week break before
they take on Chapman University on October 14 at 1 p.m. in a home game.
After finishing second in SCIAC last year with a conference record of 6-1, the
Panthers should prove to be a tough matchup for CMS.

“Chapman is
very well-coached, so we know where they’re going to be and how they’re going to
react, so actually we can plan for that,” Sweeney said. “We have to exploit their strengths and depend on the fact that they’re
going to have a disciplined reaction and use it against them.”

With the Stags’ new strategies and a victory under their belt, the Panthers will have some hearty competition. 

“They’re a
physical team, maybe even a little too aggressive, so hopefully we’ll be able
to take a advantage of that, maybe with a little play action,” Stanek added.

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