First and 10. 19 yards away from the end zone. A hut, a snap, and a pass. The brown leather flashed through the air, spiraling right into the hands of receiver Aseal Birir PO '18. Touchdown!
The Pomona-Pitzer football team (0-1, 0-0 SCIAC) took on Rhodes College (2-0, 0-0 SAA) to kick off their 2016-2017 season. The season opener was a spectacle to behold as two evenly matched teams fought tooth and nail for the ultimate edge. For most of the night, the Sagehens fought tenaciously from behind, never allowing the Lynx to pull far ahead. Ultimately, the Lynxes managed to protect their lead, taking the game 23-20 by a narrow margin of three.
The Pomona-Pitzer football team assembled a masterpiece. The Sagehens played better football throughout the night, earning 22 first downs, compared to Rhodes' 10, with a total of 404 yards. Of the 404 yards, Edwards Sias PZ '19 threw a career high 276 yards. The Sagehens found the end zone thrice while the Lynx managed to find it twice. What ultimately pushed the game in the Lynxes' favor was the difference in field goals. Rhodes was able to kick the football through the goalpost three times for nine points.
The first two touchdowns by the Sagehens came through the hands of rusher Karter Odermann PO '20 who punched through the Lynx line two times for the last crucial yards. Odermann said, “The line did a great job of blocking on the two scores and it made my job very easy.”
The two touchdowns came at timely moments, always keeping the Sagehens within striking distance. One put the Sagehens on top 7-3. The other happened right after a touchdown by Rhodes putting the Sagehens one touchdown down at 13-20. The touchdown allowed the Sagehens to tie the game with the completion from Sias to Birir at 20-20.
In the third period, Rhodes's kicker Kyle Edmiston scored the decisive field 24 yard field goal to put the Lynxes in the lead. The rest of the game was a gridlock between the two defenses, neither defense allowing the other offense to score. The Sagehens got as close as the Rhodes's 22-yard line but failed to convert.
Despite the loss, the outlook of the Sagehens is auspicious. Sias looks to have a phenomenal season ahead of him as well as Birir, Second Team All-SCIAC running back. Including Odermann, the new freshmen are adjusting well and meshing with the team.
“All of the guys on the team have been awesome. Really great teammates and friends on and off the field. They have made the adjustment from high school to college a lot easier for me,” Odermann said.
The Sagehen's next game is against Lewis & Clark College (0-1, 0-0 NWC) on Saturday, Sept.17.