The first day the Pomona-Pitzer football team met in August, about two weeks before school started, each player received a playbook/schedule over 200 pages long.
“The schedule was thorough and every event, game, eating period was presented,” quarterback Edward Sias PZ '19 said. “I realized that the football pre-season/season was going to be a big commitment.”
From 4 a.m. preseason sessions, to long didactic team meetings, to 1 p.m. games in the scorching sunshine, the P-P football team has demonstrated some serious dedication to their sport over the 2015 season.
Since August, they’ve spent countless hours on the practice field and with the team.
“Our team spends roughly 22 hours on football each week, including games on Saturdays,” Sias explained. “This time does not include the multiple hours of training you may need before practice, whether that means getting treatments for injuries or warming up.”
He notes that in addition, they spend a lot of time watching film on their upcoming opponent, finding weaknesses and developing tactics.
The team has been looking for that hard work to pay off on the field. With three games under their belt since their last win against Lewis and Clark College, the Sagehens (2-4, 1-2 SCIAC) were hungry for another win as they took the field on Saturday, Oct. 24 at Whittier College.
“From the first moment the team got off the bus, it was all business,” Sias recalled. “Every player knew that we came here to play hard, get the win, and go back home to prepare for the next opponent.”
He remembers captain DL Matt O’Connor PO '15 delivering a pre-game speech which gave the team “that last bit of fire to go out there and get the win.”
And with 7:49 left until halftime, the Hens saw their opening with RB Aseal Birir PO ’18 rushing six yards for a touchdown. Before the Poets (0-6, 0-4 SCIAC) could recover, Sias himself made a 16-yard pass to wide reciever Ryan McGee PZ ’19 to jump to a 12-0 lead.
At halftime, Whittier regrouped, and the third quarter entailed of a battle of drives, with both teams pushing for the touchdown. The Poets were able to stop P-P on fourth and goal, but not for long. Just seconds into the fourth quarter, Birir made a two-yard shove to get the ball into the end zone, his second touchdown of the game.
This time, Whittier pushed back. An 11-play, 68-yard drive got them on the board, and the scoreboard read 19-7 with 9:51 left on the clock as the Sagehens held onto their lead. This had happened before—P-P leading and an opponent finding a way to take their legs out from under them—but this time, the Hens were determined to hang on.
A twelve-yard run from Birir ended in yet another touchdown, making the game a season-high for him with three touchdowns and 189 yards on 36 carries. Before the night was over, Whittier got on the board again, but it wasn’t enough to bring them back. The game ended 25-13 with the Sagehens on top.
Pre-season and season may be a lot of work and a huge commitment for the football players, but that work is showing on the field.
“Football is a significant commitment, but having a love for the game nullifies the possible struggle of time commitment,” Sias said.
In a quest to win the Battle of the Drum, the Sagehens face off against rival Occidental College (3-3, 2-2 SCIAC) on Merritt Field at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 31.