This past Saturday, Oct. 31, was quite the competition for the Pomona-Pitzer football team, as the Sagehens took on the third-place Occidental College Tigers with quarterback Taylor Mensik PZ ’18 taking the helm of the offense for his first career collegiate start.
This game was close, people. Mensik put on a show, channeling his inner Marshawn Lynch with 125 passing yards and 106 rushing yards. Speaking of Seahawks superstar players, when Mensik sat down with TSL to discuss his breakout performance this past Saturday, he compared himself to another Seattle player, stating, “I think my own play style is a lot like Russell Wilson due to his ability to both run and pass the ball.”
Like Wilson, Mensik commands his offense despite being undersized for a quarterback at 5’11”. His height doesn't slow him down, though, as he is incredibly agile and avoids the pass rush by using his legs to buy him time to look downfield. During the heated matchup, Mensik’s running abilities were on fully display early on in the first quarter when he ran the ball for 62 yards just three minutes in the game to give the Sagehens an early 7-0 lead. This early drive and subsequent touchdown was Mensik’s longest rushing gain and first touchdown of the season thus far.
The Sagehens appeared to be on pace to hold their lead going into halftime until the Tigers scored on a drive on the one-yard line to pick up six points in the last few minutes of the second quarter. This small victory for the opposition was short-lived, though, as Pomona-Pitzer’s menacing defense held Oxy off and prevented them from completing the two-point conversion, allowing the Sagehens to hold onto a one-point lead heading into halftime.
The Sagehens came out slugging in the second half, battling back and forth with the Tigers throughout the third quarter. Halfway through the quarter, Occidental passed it in for a touchdown and then tacked on a field goal. The Sagehens kept on plugging away, but the Tigers maintained the 17-6 lead going into the fourth quarter. However, though the boys might've been down, they sure as hell weren’t done yet.
In the beginning of the final quarter of play, the Sagehens showed signs of life as Mensik continued his strong play by finding wide receiver Ryan McGee PZ ’19 for a 19-yard score to bring the score to 16-14. This offensive resurgence was short-lived, though, as Mensik’s offense fizzled out as the clock ran down. At the same time, Occidental QB Bryan Scott proceeded to outgun the less-seasoned Mensik and company.
“The reason why we ultimately lost the game in the fourth was because the offense became stagnant on third downs,” Mensik said. “I also made some mental errors at the end of the first half and on some reads in the second half. But I think I’ve learned from them and will not make the same mistakes in future games.”
Mensik’s attitude is refreshing. Although his squad has a losing record this year, he is committed to improving individually and pushing his own squad to perform and go harder to close out a dismal season. With drive and commitment like that, which has obviously translated to epic performances on the field, Mensik may very well not only be the quarterback Pomona-Pitzer wants, but the one it desperately needs.
This upcoming Saturday, Nov. 7, the Hens will take on first-place University of La Verne at home, with kickoff slated for 1 p.m.