CLAREMONT, Calif. – The Claremont-Mudd-Scripps football program (3-0, 1-0) is off to its first 3-0 start since 2010 after blowing out Whittier College (0-3, 0-1) with a 45-13 victory. The Stags dominated on both sides of the ball, gaining 372 total offensive yards as senior Trey Reynolds (CMC) threw for 305 yards and completed 20 out of 26 passes with a touchdown. With 407 career completions, Reynolds broke the CMS passing record for career completions (previously 398). Junior cornerback Victor Bunce (CMC) returned two touchdowns while freshmen Christian Curcio (CMC) and Garrett Cheadle (HMC) each rushed for a touchdown. Whittier quarterback Matthew Valencia threw for 144 yards with a touchdown, completing 17 out of 29 passes while Bryson Sanders caught the team's only touchdown.
In the opening drive, Reynolds managed to complete four consecutive passes to bring the Stags to Whittier's six yard line. After a one-yard rush attempt from senior Matthew Orehek (CMC), the senior tried to drive to the end zone again, but saw the ball slip out of his hands. Fortunately, freshman Jett Zeitmantz (CMC) recovered the ball and drove into the end zone for the touchdown.
The Poets managed to score a field goal with four minutes left in the first quarter. At 10:58 left in the second quarter, the Stags managed to get within scoring range after the Poets committed a personal foul on their punt attempt. Starting at the Poets' 35 yard line, Reynolds hit senior Connor Stastny (CMC) for 13 yards followed by a 21 yard pass to junior Nick Wheeler (CMC) to bring the Stags close to the goal line. At 2nd and goal, Cheadle broke through followed by senior Matthew Aven (CMC) extra-point attempt to give CMS the 14-3 lead.
Whittier tried to look for response in their next drive, but on 3rd and 18 at their 42 yard line, Valencia got picked off by senior Griffin Lazarus (CMC) with an eight yard return to put CMS on offensive territory. However, the Poets won the ball back when Reynolds got picked off by Cale Quistgard on their two yard line. Fortunately for CMS, the Poets couldn't capitalize on the interception and resorted to punting the ball into CMS territory. The Stags mustered one last scoring drive before the end of the half when Aven drilled a field goal from 26 yards out to extend the Stags' lead 17-3.
The Stags' special teams and defense came out strong in the second half to put the game away. After the Poets struggled to score on their opening drive, Bunce came out to return the punt. The junior managed to elude his defender and run near the sidelines towards the end zone as his blockers kept him unscathed for the touchdown.
On their offensive drive, CMS misread Whittier's punt and ended up starting from their two yard line. But thanks to the combination of Reynolds' passes and Curcio's runs, the Stags managed to grind their way to the Poets' 22 yard line. Reynolds connected with senior Patrick Dixon (CMC) for a 22-yard touchdown pass to run the score 31-3.
CMS closed the third quarter strong as they managed to force a fumble off Valencia and recover at Whittier's 48 yard line. After Reynolds found Dixon with a 10 yard pass, Cheadle had four rush attempts for a combined 35 yards. Curcio finished the drive with a three-yard rush to give CMS the 38-3 lead.
Whittier opened up the fourth quarter with a field goal from Eric Voss, but later would find themselves in trouble with the Stags' special team unit. Following a punt attempt, Whittier could not contain CMS deep in their territory as Bunce managed to slip past his defenders and score an 58-yard return touchdown. The Poets would finally find the end zone with less than a minute left in the game, but that was all the damage they could do as the Stags took a knee on the following possession to end the clock.
The Stags will hit the road against Occidental College next week, Oct. 8 at 7 p.m., followed by a home game against Cal Lutheran on Oct. 15 at 1 p.m.
By Young Kim
Sports Information Assistant
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