Thousands of fans stood silenced in the stands, muted after the amazing comeback executed by the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps football team (2-2, 1-1 SCIAC) against Chapman University after RB Andrew Segre CM ‘18 barreled past the Panther defenders into the end zone, scoring the game-winning touchdown.
Unfortunately, Saturday’s game against the University of La Verne (3-1, 2-0) did not conclude with the same exhilaration. Although the Stags fought tooth and nail, it was ultimately not enough to ward off the Leopards.
“The Stags got off to a really rough start,” said John O’Malley CM ‘18, an attendant at Saturday's game. “I thought they played all right. Shane Pico [CM '18] led them down the field repeatedly, Victor Bunce [CM '18] played some great defense, Brendan MacDonald [CM '18] with the nice sack. They had a chance to win it, but just didn’t put it together.”
The Stags returned to the locker room after an underwhelming first half down 20-7. QB Trey Reynolds CM ‘17 locked down one 27-yard touchdown to WR Ryan Farney CM ‘16 with an over-the-shoulder pass that put the Stags on the board, but they left the field looking nothing like the victorious team they had been one week ago.
Rushing back onto the field for the third quarter, the Stags began to show some of their usual ferocity. Reynolds quickly spotted WR Trey Smith CM ‘18 and WR Tyler Stanek CM ‘16 in the end zone for two more touchdowns to bring the team within five points of La Verne.
Finally, with five minutes left in the game, the Stags got their first lead 27-26 with a two-yard touchdown courtesy of Segre after overcoming a 13-point deficit. But in a heartbreaking ending, La Verne proved itself the mightier of the two with a touchdown play that the Stags proved unable to block, giving them the final victory.
“We never gave up,” DB Geno Quaid CM ‘18 said. “We fought back, but they kept answering our rebuttal. We had a chance at the end to win, but our team never gave up on itself, even though we were losing.”
For the future, Quaid noted that the team has to improve on playing their best all four quarters. To win, they have to come out in the first quarter ready to play and carry that momentum all the way to the end.
DL Andrew Frick CM ’18 also cited the win against Chapman as a contributing factor to the loss.
“We beat Chapman and we thought we were sick, but then we turned out not to be as sick,” he said. “We didn’t have a good enough week of practice, because our players didn’t get focused enough to play our opponent for the week. So we’re changing that this week.”
The Stags face off against the University of Redlands (2-2, 2-0), one of their biggest rivals, this Saturday, Oct. 17. Quaid admits that it’s going to be a tough game.
“If we work hard during the week and execute our game plan, it’s going to be a good game,” he said.
At the end of the day, though, it’s still just a game.
“I’m just looking forward to getting out there with my teammates,” Frick said. “The camaraderie, being next to my guys, that’s what the game’s all about. That’s why I play the game.”