CMS Defense Keeps Oxy in Check, Stags Still Lose Tight Contest to Tigers

The play clock began to tick down,
signaling to the opposing quarterback that he needed to set the next play in
motion. The score stood at 7-0 in favor of Occidental College (4-2, 3-1 SCIAC). The Oxy
quarterback took the snap and looked to the air in an attempt to tack on
another touchdown. 

“PASS!” rang across the field from the
Claremont-Mudd-Scripps (2-4, 1-3 SCIAC) sideline. He saw it coming. Victor
Bunce CM ’18, the Stags’ defensive back, read the quarterback like a book. Bunce locked down
the receiver, fighting him in a mid-air battle for the ball. Defender and
receiver came crashing into the ground. The ball was in Bunce’s hands.

It
was another exciting game on Saturday when the CMS Stags traveled to take on
cross-town competitor Occidental. Yet again, the Stags defense put on a great
performance, but, while their offense came to life in the second half, the Stags
were not able to complete the comeback and fell to the Tigers 21-14.

Mark
Odin, the team’s defensive coordinator and linebacker’s coach, recognized coming into the game that the defense would have their hands full with the
opposing quarterback. 

“Oxy has an extremely good quarterback in no. 18,” Odin said. “He is
very polished, makes great decisions, is very accurate and surrounded by a
good group of receivers.”

The CMS defense handled the
challenge well. The Stags intercepted two passes and impressively blocked a
field goal. So what is it about the Stags defense that has made it so
successful lately?

“Our whole team has great chemistry. We work well
together, and we put ourselves in positions to be great,” James Ingram CM
’16, a veteran DB for the stags, said.
“Turnovers are huge, and we work hard as a defense to have more takeaways than
the other team every week.”

 Ingram exemplified this with both
a field goal block and an interception, which he attributed to the pressure his
defensive teammates were applying, in the game. 

“We focus on us
defensively—meaning we don’t worry about outside factors,” Odin said. “We
concentrate our efforts and focus on one rep or one play at a time.  As a
defense, we also want to hold each other to high expectations—on and off the
field.” 

In addition to the team’s playing standards, Bunce attributes a good deal of his
success to his skilled coaching staff.

 “I never would have been in position to make
the interception had Coach Sierra not told me right before the play that the
receiver was going to run a fade,” he said. “Also, tireless scheming by Coach Odin has
really helped our defense take advantage of the fact that we are smarter than
the teams we play.”

In the first half, CMS suffered some
fundamental errors on both the offensive and defensive side of the ball.
Holding penalties, missed field goals and giving up long passes all contributed to a
14-0 deficit going into half-time.

In the second half, the Stags’
defense got back to its fundamentals. Offensively, the Stags clicked in the
third and fourth quarters, but it was too late. CMS scored two touchdowns late
in the game, one on the ground and one in the air. However, Oxy reached the end zone on an
impressive, 45-yard reception. The end score of the game was 21-14 Occidental.

The Stags will return to
their home field for their next game Saturday, Nov. 1, vs. California Lutheran University (2-4, 2-2 SCIAC). 

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