The Sagehens came out flying Saturday, Oct. 3 at the University of Redlands, starting the game with a touchdown at the end of the first quarter.
The Bulldogs (1-2, 1-0 SCIAC) fought every step of the way but couldn’t hold the Hens off as Pomona-Pitzer (1-2, 0-1) made their way 75 yards up the field into the end zone. It started with a 10-yard pass from Stephen Smith PO ‘17 to receiver Brett Harper PO ’16, and a 20-yard rush from Aseal Birir PO ’18 to Redlands’ 45.
After the Sagehens' defense forced two three-and-outs against Redlands, P-P scored in its second offensive drive.
“It was a long, heavy offensive drive that took almost seven minutes off the clock,” Birir said. “Seeing Brett score was very relieving, as it was a long drive where we had done a lot of good things and [scoring first] gave our team a lot of momentum.”
The Sagehens dominated the first quarter and Birir and Harper continued to have standout games, with Birir rushing for 82 yards on 17 carries and Harper catching six passes for 66 yards.
Nevertheless, Redlands caught their momentum in the second quarter, scoring twice for a halftime score of Redlands 14, Sagehens 7. The teams filed off the field and the coaches launched into strategy analyses and pep talks, preparing their players to up the game another notch in intensity.
“We discussed what we thought Redlands was doing against us and tried to make some adjustments to open our vertical passing game up more,” Birir said.
Adjustments against the opponent weren’t the only changes happening on the field.
“We have a lot of injuries on the team, so we are working on having guys play new positions and helping each other out since a lot of people are moving around,” Birir said.
The teams came out of halftime with a battle of drives—P-P with nine yards, Redlands with 25, then P-P with 17. But then Redlands broke through with another touchdown halfway through the quarter.
At the end of the day it was Redlands 38, Sagehens 7 in the SCIAC opener. Despite a slew of injuries, P-P showed its strength in the first quarter. Maintaining that dominance is one component the team is working on.
“We are hoping to be more of a consistent team throughout the whole game rather than just parts of the game,” Birir said.
The Sagehens will be back in action on Saturday, Sept. 10, hosting Chapman University (0-3, 0-1) in their home SCIAC opener.