CMS Defense Smothers Whittier in Historic Performance

When Whittier
College arrived at Zinda Field last Saturday, Nov. 8, they probably wondered
why there was a cardinal-and-gold brick wall in the middle of the field. That’s
about how effective the Stag defense was at halting the Poet offense’s advances
throughout the four quarters of play. In
fact, the Stags allowed the fewest yards in Claremont-Mudd-Scripps football history, holding them to 49. CMS broke a 43-year-old record, set when
they only allowed 66 yards against the University of California, Riverside, in 1958. This, coupled with an
explosive performance from the offense, gave CMS (4-4, 3-3 SCIAC) the dominant victory
over Whittier (2-6 1-5 SCIAC) by a score of 40-3.

“It meant everything to the seniors
to win that game,” quarterback Trey Reynolds CM ’17 said. “I can only imagine the
feeling of knowing that it was your last game on the CMS football field. I was
extremely happy that we were able to pull out that big of a win for them to
remember for the rest of their lives.”

The defense’s huge day was catalyzed
by the stout defensive line, which recorded six sacks on the day to put pressure on
Whittier’s quarterback all game long. Defensive lineman Alex
Chang CM ’15 in particular had a huge day for the Stags, totaling six tackles
and two sacks, including a safety.

“We took advantage of putting Alex in one-on-one situations, especially
in passing situations,” defensive coordinator Mark Odin said. “His
quickness and acceleration make him difficult to block for any offense.”

The entire CMS defense was firing on
all cylinders, absolutely smothering the Whittier rushing attack by holding the
Poets to -16 net rushing yards.

“Defensively, we played solid for a
couple of reasons,” Odin said. “Whittier has a couple of running backs that are
very similar as far as speed. Our defensive line played assignment
football and executed physically well.” 

Andrew Sova CM ‘16, Paul Slaats HM
‘17, Henry Wei CM ’17 and Chang all played consistently, which Odin explained as a key
in stopping Whittier’s backfield speed. 

“Once again, our defensive focused on us as far as preparation and continued
throughout the week to game day,” Odin added. 

In addition, Reynolds directed the
offense to five total touchdowns, including four through the air. The Stags
started off strong out of the gate by rushing 40 yards down the field on only
four plays before running back Shane Pico CM ’18 punched it in for the score. After that, the CMS offense never let up,
scoring 32 points in the first half.

“I believe it was the offense’s
ability to finish drives that allowed us to beat Whittier by that much,”
Reynolds said. “Our defense has been playing well all year, and they came
through again on Saturday. This time, the offense backed them up and put points
on the board, allowing us to dominate them.”

Reynolds did his part in backing up the
defense by tossing four touchdowns to four different receivers in Andrew Scott
CM ’17, Patrick Dixon CM ’17, Ryan Farney CM ’16 and Trey Smith CM ’18. In
addition, wide receiver/punter Tyler Stanek CM ’16 completed a trick play by connecting with
Sam Healy CM ’18 for a 27-yard strike to convert on fourth down.

The Whittier game also marked a
special occasion; it was Senior Day for linebacker Max Winsberg CM ’15, linebacker Nick Nasse CM ’15, wide receiver Lucas Agnew CM ’15, defensive back Chris Fang CM ’15, offensive lineman Peter Clancy CM ’15 and Chang, playing in their last
home game.

“The biggest part about losing these guys is the
relationships that we have built for the last four years,” Odin said. “We all started
our journey at CMS at the same time. We won’t be able to watch them play
in cardinal and gold after this game against Pomona, but I look forward to
seeing them continue their success into their future.”

The Stags next take the field
against Pomona-Pitzer (1-7, 1-5 SCIAC) in the latest rendition of the Sixth
Street rivalry game on Saturday, Nov. 15, at 1 p.m. on Merritt Field.

“Right now we are just focusing on
us,” Reynolds said. “We believe that this is a very winnable game as long as we
control what we can control. If we minimize penalties and turnovers, the game
should play out in our favor.” 

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