CMS travelled to Whittier on Saturday afternoon to play the Poets in their opponent's homecoming game. The Stags faced several deficits in the game including 17-7 at half, 24-7 early in the third quarter and 30-21 early in the fourth quarter, but persevered and finally took their first lead of the game at 6:51 of the fourth and held on for a 31-30 win. CMS improved to 3-3 overall and 2-1 in SCIAC while Whittier fell to 1-5 and 0-3.
The game appeared to get off to a great start for CMS as Corey Bickler rushed 69 yards on the opening play, but Whittier was able to strip the ball at the one-yard line and recovered the fumble in the end zone for a touchback. Each team went three and out before Whittier was able to complete a 78 yard drive for a 7-0 lead. The teams again traded punts, but the exchange gave CMS the ball in Whittier territory. Peter Kimmey (pictured) hit Gregory Wilson for a 33-yard strike on the first play and Kimmey finished the three-play drive to tie the score on a two-yard run. Whittier responded on their next drive with a 65-yard drive to take a 14-7 lead. CMS was unable to get any offensive momentum on their three remaining drives of the half while Whittier converted one of their two field goal attempts and held a 17-7 haltime lead.
After the Poets drove 65 yards in 11 plays to take a 24-7 lead to start the second half, the Stags responded with a two-play Bickler drive. He rushed for 11 yards for a first down and on the next play dashed 66 yards for a touchdown. The point after attempt was unsuccessful so the lead was only cut to 24-13. CMS successfully executed an on-side kick, though, and recovered the ball at their own 41-yard line. The Stags drove 59 yards in 11 plays and Kimmey scored his second touchdown of the game and then converted the two-point conversion on a pass to Jesse Franklin to cut the lead to 24-21. The drive was highlighted by another long run, this one of 27 yards, by Bickler.
CMS got the ball back almost immediately as Ben Salzman intercepted a pass and returned it to the Whittier 34. The Stag drive stalled and Chet Corcos' 47-yard field goal attempt was wide left. The teams again exchanged punt before the Poets were again able to find the end zone. Whittier converted a third and 17 for a 45 yard touchdown pass, but the point after attempt was unsuccessful. The Stags' next drive also stalled, but Whittier fumbled the punt return and CMS recovered at the Whittier 41. Corcos cut the lead to 30-24 with a 30 yard field goal. Corcos executed his second successful on-side kick of the game and CMS went 54 yards in four plays to tie the game at 30 on Kimmey's third TD of the game. Corcos converted the PAT for CMS' first lead, 31-30. The Stag defense turned up the heat on the next possession and recorded two of their six sacks in the game. Faced with a fourth and 32 on their own 40, Whittier was forced to punt with 4:27 remaining.
The CMS ground game, which recorded 304 yards in the game, converted three straight first downs and forced Whittier to burn their remaining timeouts. At that point, CMS was able to down the ball twice and run out the clock to secure the come-from-behind win.
Bickler led the Stags with 186 yards rushing. Kimmey completed eight passes for 101 yards.
CMS returns to action this Saturday, October 29. They will travel to Thousand Oaks to take on California Lutheran University at 1:00 PM.