Veteran P-P Defense Shows Improvements

For the first time in a while, the Sagehen offense doesn’t have to pace the sideline waiting to get back on the field.“Our defense is older and has more experience as a whole than in years past,” said safety Bobby Montalvo PO ’10. “Most of us have played together for a while. Off-season training also had a lot more participation and determination to work hard to get better as a team this last year.”Just one year after allowing the most points per game in SCIAC, the Pomona-Pitzer defense now stands third in the league in red zone defense and third in run defense, and is allowing 16.9 fewer points per game this season.The Sagehens sit at 2–2, with three down-to-the-wire finishes and their defense largely to thank for keeping them in these games. Against Lewis & Clark, for example, the defense came up with a huge stop late in the fourth quarter to bring the offense back onto the field for the game-winning drive. As always, experience seems to be the main cause for the team’s early success this season. Most of the Sagehen defense has played together the past two seasons, and the results are showing.In last year’s first two non-league games Pomona-Pitzer gave up 477 yards and 493 yards to UPS and Lewis and Clark respectively. This year, the new and improved defense allowed just 202 yards to UPS and 378 to Lewis and Clark. “I definitely feel our defense is better than last year,” said defensive lineman Ross Tanaka PO ’11. “We all worked really hard over the off-season, and this year we are a year older, stronger, and more experienced. In such a physical game sometimes it can be hard to compete with juniors and seniors [as] freshmen and sophomores, so now the theme of this year is that there are no excuses.”Montalvo noted that, while the Sagehen D has had been successful stopping the run so far this season, the players are still trying to improve their pass defense.Pomona-Pitzer gave up 311 passing yards in a 48-14 loss to Cal Lutheran this Saturday. The Sagehens were in the game early and led 7-3 through most of the first quarter, but early turnovers and a lethal Kingsman passing game proved too much for the Sagehens to overcome. Two late first-half touchdowns gave the Kingsmen a 24-7 lead, and they never looked back. RB Russel Oka PI ’11 had 14 carries for 51 yards, QB Jacob Caron PO ’11 was 11-29 for 99 yards with two rushing touchdowns, and star WR RJ Maki PO ’11 had four catches for 45 yards.Defensively, LB Jacob Rollins PO ’13 had eight tackles and Montalvo added seven. Cal Lutheran is currently in first place in SCIAC.“We still have not reached our potential as a unit, but we should hopefully turn it up soon,” Montalvo said of the team’s goals. “Win, no mental mistakes, play hard, play together.”Although experience has been a windfall this year, the Sagehens also have to thank a talented newcomer for their success. Rollins has been all over the field this year and leads the team with 22 total tackles (20 solo). LB Charles Sander PO ’11, Tanaka, and Linebacker Matt Jevsevar round out the top four, with 19.5, 18.5 and 17.5 total tackles respectively. The Sagehens will try to get back to their winning ways against a winless La Verne team that is averaging just 21.8 rushing yards with a night game that kicks off at Pomona at 7 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 17.

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