Before delving into the Sagehens' last home football game of the 2015 season this past Saturday, Nov. 7, it is an honor to congratulate the talented Class of 2016 for their commitment and participation in Pomona-Pitzer collegiate athletics. Honored at the last home game (aka senior night) were Matt O’Connor PO '15 CGU '16, Isaac Richard III PZ '16, David Howell PO '16, Jack Pietrykowski PO '16, Scott Tan PO '16, Nelson Cole PO '16 and Grant Frazier PO '16. Hats off to you gentlemen, and we wish you all the best as you leave your collegiate athletic years behind and endeavor into the vast world.
Now, onto Saturday’s game. The seniors as well as the rest of the P-P football team (2-6, 1-5 SCIAC) gave it their all to best the league-leading University of La Verne (7-1, SCIAC 6-0) in their final home game of the season. The daunting Leopards have only dropped one game this season, to non-conference opponent Whitworth University. Yet, this didn’t deter the Sagehens as they put up monster stats against a formidable opponent. All of the game leaders for P-P beat out the Leos' leaders in rushing, passing and receiving yards. QB Taylor Mensik PZ ’18 led all passers with 356 yards on the day, RB Aseal Birir PO ’18 powered the rushing game with 132 yards and WR Brett Harper PO ’16 caught anything thrown in his direction as he totaled a monstrous 296 yards. The Sagehens also had thirteen more total minutes of possession than their opponents.
The real Achilles heel for the Sagehens in this game wasn’t when they had the ball, though—it was when they didn’t. We're talking turnovers, people. These turnovers didn't come from bad offensive plays by Mensik, as he wasn’t picked off even once during the contest. Instead, they came from fumbling the ball. In this game, P-P had six, which is six too many when playing a top-notch opponent. These mistakes hurt the Sagehens, as the visitors brought the first quarter to a close with a 21-0 lead.
But that was only the beginning, as the scoreboard would be run up quite high by the end of this contest. In every quarter of this fixture, a minimum of one touchdown was scored. Although the Sagehens fell short in the end, losing 35-49 to the Leos, we learned a lot about this team over the course of the season. This football team is flexible, as all of its members can play multiple positions, giving the team a certain fluidity on the field. We also learned that Mensik is the quarterback this program needs. Mensik’s on field play has spoken for itself in the few games he’s started at the end of the season. He’s averaged 240.5 yards per game and has completed over 60 percent of his passes in the past two games he’s started.
Although this season’s playoff aspirations are no more for our Sagehens, P-P football can still finish with a bang at the Sixth Street rivalry game against CMS this Saturday, Nov. 14, during alumni weekend, with kickoff at 1 p.m.