With 34 seconds left in the game, the Stags lined up against Redlands, down 21-19 and looking to complete their comeback over the Bulldogs. With the game on the line, QB Sam Healy CM ’18 handed the ball off to RB Shane Pico CM ’18, who ran into the end zone to give Claremont-Mudd-Scripps a lead they would never relinquish.
The Stags (3-2, 2-1 SCIAC) went on to capture the nail-biting 25-23 victory, their first win over the Bulldogs (2-1, 2-3 SCIAC) since 2003.
Healy came on in relief of QB Trey Reynolds CM ’17 and went 12-19 with 184 yards passing to help ignite the CMS passing attack. CMS set the tone offensively in the opening five minutes with a 14-play drive that led to a 24-yard field goal by Matthew Aven CM ’17.
“Starting off strong early is very important, especially against good teams,” Healy said. “The fact that we had a first-drive field goal and second-drive touchdown, I think that was really important.”
Though Redlands took a 7-3 lead with just over two minutes left in the first quarter, CMS came roaring back with a 54-yard pass from Healy to WR Trey Smith CM ’18 that put the Stags up 10-7.
Healy spread the ball out to several different receivers throughout the game, including to Smith and TE Chris Cziesla CM ’18, who each had 68 yards receiving. Pico also added 41 receiving yards in addition to his 69 rushing yards.
Redlands responded in the second quarter with a 29-yard run from RB Devin Appleton that gave the Bulldogs the 14-10 lead, but CMS kept its composure, answering with a 23-yard field goal from Aven to close the lead to 14-13.
After Redlands expanded its lead to 21-13 with a 36-yard run in the third, CMS took control in the fourth quarter. The Stags methodically worked their way down the field to take complete offensive control and score two touchdowns to put them ahead 25-21.
Throughout the match, CMS’ offense dominated. Led by Healy, the Stags carried out 93 offensive plays compared to Redlands’ 52 and held the ball for 39 minutes while Redlands only had possession for 21.
“We ran [almost] 95 offensive plays, which we don’t usually do. Just having our defense off of the field and giving them a break was the most influential part of the game,” Healy said.
In addition, the Stags received defensive support from CB Victor Bunce CM ’18, who snagged two interceptions, including an impressive one-handed snag at the end of the first half.
Having the ball nearly twice as often as the Bulldogs gave the Stags a huge advantage. By constantly running the ball, CMS’s defense had opportunities to recover, while Redlands’ defense became exhausted.
“By the end of the game, they were just so tired and worn out, which was good for us,” Bunce said.
After a huge victory, the Stags have no intentions of slowing down as they prepare to face Occidental College (3-2, 2-1 SCIAC) this Saturday, Oct. 24 at 1 p.m. on Zinda Field.
“We intend to beat them,” Bunce said. “We take this game as seriously as any other game. This is a huge game, the biggest game of the season, and next week will be the biggest game of the season when we get there.”