Birir, Bresler Rack Up Yards; P-P Still Falls to La Verne

Much like the abnormally warm November day, the
Pomona-Pitzer Sagehens came out hot last Saturday, Nov. 8, against the University of La Verne Leopards.  After
receiving the first punt on their 30-yard line, the Hens (1-7, 1-5 SCIAC) were able to string
together 12 plays over 70 yards for an early touchdown.

“We’d run
the same play two plays before, and I didn’t look all the way back and missed the
back side route,” quarterback Alex Bresler PO ’17 said. “So the next time it came around with exactly
the same play, Sean Mulcahy [PZ ’16] was open for the touchdown. And I think that really
just set the tone for the offense. Scoring on the first drive is a really big
confidence booster.”

Despite
this early success, the Hens were unable to hold onto the lead and ended up
falling to the Leos (2-6, 1-5 SCIAC) 41-37.  Despite the undesirable final outcome, the
Hens still had a successful game, especially on offense. Much of this stems
from the hard work they put in during their practices.

“I thought we had a decent week of practice,”
head coach Roger Caron said. “It’s hard to practice, though, when your numbers
are thin and guys are only sort of healthy.”

After
averaging roughly 300 yards a game over the past few weeks, the Hens decided to
focus specifically on their passing game for the match against La Verne.

“We knew
the run was there, but we knew that we needed to pick up the passing game, and
that was a big focus the past week. And it really showed on Saturday,” Bresler
said.

Going into
the game, the P-P team felt prepared for a tough battle against a physical La
Verne.

“We went in
feeling pretty confident that we could do well against them,” Bresler said. “We knew they were
really athletic and physical on defense, so it would be a physical game. But we
were still confident in ourselves and our schemes.”

This
self-assurance showed not only in the first drive, but also throughout much of
the first three quarters.

The Hens
ended the first quarter with Bresler running one yard to make the score
14-7.  P-P then went into the half
down only 24-27 after tight end Mulcahy caught a 15-yard pass from Bresler and Kevin Masini PO ’18 kicked a 32-yard field goal. However, the Hens
regained the lead to end the third up 37-34 after two touchdowns from
running back Aseal Birir PO ’18.

Despite their position ahead, the Hens were still not satisfied.

“Each moment is the same, and each
game is the same,” Caron said.

This aggressive, goal-oriented state of mind was nothing out of the ordinary for offense. 

“For the
offense, the mindset really doesn’t change no matter what the score is,” Bresler said. “We
always know we have to get on the field, stay on the field and put points on
the board. And if we do that, then we’re probably going to be
successful.”

In the end, the Hens were unable to maintain
their lead as La Verne scored a touchdown with 7:20 left in the game, defeating
the extraordinary effort of the offense that had 670 total yards of offense. Although
the loss was frustrating, there were many highlights in the game. Bresler, who
threw for 478 yards, and Birir, who rushed for 138 yards and broke 1,000 yards
on the season, both had astonishing efforts. However, the game’s notable plays extended beyond these two players.

“The guy
that had a great game for us was Jack Pietrykowski [PO ’16],” Caron said. “He really had
a breakout game, 13 receptions and almost 200 yards. When all the other guys
went down he stepped up.”

According
to Bresler, the Hens out of the limelight had a stellar game as well.

“The O-line
especially had great pass protection the whole day. A ton of credit needs to go
to those guys as they had a huge game,” Bresler said.

While the
loss was an undoubtedly tough blow, the Hens have little time to dwell on it as the big 6th
Street Rivalry game looms on the horizon.  The
team encourages the fans to get excited as well.

“The fans
should expect a good one. We always get amped up about this game, and everyone
plays outside and above their ability level,” Bresler said. “Let’s go Hens!”

You can
catch the Hens as they take on the Stags this Saturday, Nov. 15, at 1 p.m. on
Merritt Field.

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