Taking the lesson from the week before, the Sagehens (1-1) came back with a fiery attitude and fought for their 20-14 victory over Lewis & Clark College (0-2) on their home field on Saturday, Sept. 19.
Despite every effort the Sagehens put in against Rhodes College to pierce through the opposing team’s defense, Rhodes’ disciplined defense seemed unbreakable. Their disappointing opener in Memphis, Tenn. left the Hens with an avenging heart as they stepped on their home field for their second game.
Right after the Pioneers got their taste of sweetness in the first possession, the Hens took flight. With the offense and defense working together cooperatively, the team worked hard and effectively on both sides of the ball to snag away their first victory at home.
On offense, Pomona-Pitzer saw the opportunity to beat the Pioneers’ defense and went for it, with QB Luke Lowell PO ‘18 throwing a 15-yard pass to WR Kevin Masini PO ’18 on the left for a touchdown, tying the game in the second quarter. But that didn’t stop Masini at all, who scored a 35-yard field goal, putting the Hens in the lead a few minutes later.
“I think the Rhodes game was a good first game, because we made mistakes that teams make in the first game,” Masini said. “Our confidence grew after the first game because we knew if we were at our best, we’d be able to beat that team. Overall we were a lot better than the first game, and able to finish drives better. Lewis & Clark did a good job, but we were able to move the ball and do what we gotta do.”
The Hens’ scoring spree didn’t end there. A 13-yard pass from QB Stephen Smith PO ’17 in the third quarter found RB Aseal Birir PO ‘18, who kept the drive going, with Smith ending the six-minute drive with a touchdown, pulling away from the Pioneers with a ten-point lead. Going into the fourth quarter, the desperate Pioneers crept closer to the Hens, scoring a touchdown on the first play. But that didn’t scare the Hens at all, as Masini scored a 27-yard field goal later, putting the Hens in a six-point lead.
“Our defense did great throughout the game,” Masini said. “I think they rallied well after giving them a touchdown on the first drive. And about the intense finish of the game, that was an amazing stop by them. Lewis & Clark did a good job of keeping the drive alive, but at the end, our defense did a great job making stops and making plays like we need to.”
Seeing the potential to win in the six-point game, the Pioneers played even harder toward the last four minutes, advancing closer and closer to the endzone. The Sagehen defense did not give in at all. DB Eric Montgomery PO ’17 timed the stop perfectly on fourth down with only five seconds left, giving the Hens a sigh of relief as they celebrated their first victory.
“Eric Montgomery made the key play for us,” OL Max Potvin PO ’19 said. “It sealed the win, and it’s been a long time since defense has clinched the win; usually it is the offense that makes the last-minute score.”
After their first victory, the Hens have a bye week before they go on the road to take on University of Redlands on Saturday, Oct. 3, for their first SCIAC game. After finishing second to Chapman University last year with a conference record of 6-1, the Bulldogs should prove to be a tough challenge for the Hens.