Lewis & Clark College's defense simply had no answer for the Stags' running game. Midway through the first quarter, as RB Shane Pico CM ’18 consistently bulldozed through the Pioneers’ defense, darting around and plowing over various would-be tacklers, the team realized that it had found a recipe for success. Claremont-Mudd-Scripps (1-1) kept feeding Pico the ball and 12 plays later, Pico punched it into the end zone for the first touchdown of the game.
“We gotta give credit to the O-line and the running backs,” QB Sam Healy CM ‘18 said. “When you run the ball, that’s where the credit is due and all three running backs did great. So from my point of view it was pretty easy, just handing the ball off every time. We found out early that we could run the ball and we just stuck to that all game. I know that we could’ve passed it if we’d wanted to, but if you don’t need to pass it you shouldn’t; just keep running.”
Pico in particular had a dominant day on the ground, accruing 129 rushing yards and two touchdowns to help secure the 27-7 victory for CMS, their first win of the season.
“When we started the game, running seemed to be the easy way to go, so we just kept going back,” Healy said. “Sometimes we even ran the same play back-to-back. When your offensive line has a dominating performance as that, you can run it all day, so we did.”
Later in the second quarter, DL Andrew Frick CM ’18 blocked a Lewis & Clark field goal attempt to kick-start a new CMS drive. The Stags offense took advantage of the opportunity, starting with a 13-yard strike from Healy to WR Trey Smith CM ’18. The next play, Healy was able to dash through the Pioneer defense and scramble for 46 yards into the end zone for the Stags’ second touchdown of the game.
“The coaches saw something and called that play and told me to focus on it,” Healy explained. “It was a read, so I decided to keep the ball and run it up the middle because I saw a good hole and the defense reacted to the read option. So I saw the hole, took it, and sprinted forward and everything was green, so it was good.”
On the other side of the ball the CMS defense was dominant as usual, holding the Lewis & Clark offense to only one touchdown.
“Our defense works extremely well together,” LB Brendan McDonald CM ’18 said. “I would say that our defensive line is probably the most essential part of what we do. Those guys work so hard and fight every play to keep blockers off of us. Honestly, they sacrifice a lot for the team. They're never going to have the most tackles, or the most interceptions, but they are going to make the biggest impact on our team. Also, our defensive backs are so talented.”
In defense of that point, DB Victor Bunce CM ’18, who snatched three interceptions in CMS’s first game against the University of Puget Sound, caught another one against Lewis & Clark when he picked off an underthrown deep ball in the end zone to halt a Pioneer drive. Also, DB James Ingram CM ’16 tied LB Mitchell Allan CM ’19 for the team lead in tackles with eight.
In addition, McDonald snagged an interception of his own, the first of his career.
“It was really great,” McDonald commented. “I came out of my break, saw [DL] Andrew [Sova CM ’16] absolutely destroy the QB, and the ball came out and I was able to make a play. Honestly it's just another example of the defense working together to make plays and shut down offenses.”
CMS will look to capitalize on their dominating performance when the team faces off against Chapman University on Saturday, Oct. 3 at 7 p.m.