Comeback comes up short in 32-27 loss to La Verne

Shane Pico (Photo by John Valenzuela)
Shane Pico (Photo by John Valenzuela)

CLAREMONT, Calif. – After some first half woes, the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps football team put up 20 points in the second half to momentarily take the lead but ultimately lost 32-27 to La Verne. In an exciting fourth quarter, the Stags marched down the field in the final possession but was unable to score a touchdown to win the game. With the loss, CMS is now 2-2 overall, 1-1 in conference while La Verne improves to 3-1 overall and 2-0 in SCIAC.

A 27-yard touchdown pass from junior quarterback Trey Reynolds (CMC) to senior wide receiver Ryan Farney (CMC) for an over the shoulder catch got the Stags on the board after two turnovers in the first quarter started CMS in the hole offensively. That would be Farney's longest reception of the day as he led all Stag receivers with six catches totaling 99 yards.

CMS' special teams denied ULV from both point-after attempts during the game, including one blocked by senior Andrew Sova (CMC). The Leos were additionally unsuccessful in two-of-three two-point conversions as senior Will Shannon (CMC) intercepted their final attempt which would have given ULV a seven point lead with under two minutes remaining in the game.

Conversely, junior kicker Matthew Aven (CMC) was perfect for the Stags in PATs for the second week in a row with three on the day.

CMS tacked on another seven points in their first possession of the second half. Reynolds connected with Farney, junior Andrew Scott (CMC) senior Tyler Stanek (CMC) twice to combine for two first downs. Reynolds then identified sophomore receiver Trey Smith (CMC) in the back of the end zone to bring CMS within one score at 20-14.

ULV stretched out its lead to 26-14 as Travis Sparks ran in for a three yard rushing touchdown. In the entire game, CMS only had a two yard advantage over La Verne in the run game at 104 yards, significantly lower than the Stags' average of 172.5 yards this season.

After a 24 yard kickoff return by Smith and then a pass interference call in the first play of the drive, the Stags had great field position on their own 39 yard line. CMS went to the passing game as Reynolds was 4-for-5 in the drive that resulted in a touchdown. Sophomore running back Shane Pico (CMC) charged for nine yards down to the ULV 10 yard line and set up Reynolds to find Stanek in the end zone at the 5:56 mark in the third quarter.

CMS trailed by just five points going into the fourth quarter: 26-21.

The Stag defense made a big stop in La Verne's first drive of the fourth quarter including a tackle by sophomore Geno Quaid (CMC) on a first and goal. That forced the Leos to attempt a field goal after driving all the way down to the CMS 3-yard line. As the field goal attempt sailed wide of the uprights, CMS remained in striking distance still down by just five points.

Aided by another interference penalty, the Stags turned to running backs Pico and sophomore Andrew Segre (CMC) and picked up positive yardage six plays in a row with Segre earning the final two yards and the touchdown. Despite an unsuccessful two-point conversion, the Stags owned their first and only lead of the game at 27-26.

La Verne struck back with two long plays, a 28-yard completion to Alex Arellano and a 15-yard run by Sparks, setting up William Livingston for a six yard touchdown run with 1:24 left on the clock.

Trailing 32-27, CMS rapidly advanced down the field capitalizing on the Leo's prevent defense and another pass interference penalty against ULV. As time wound down, the Stags ended the game with four consecutive incomplete passes, stranding CMS 19 yards from a victory.

Pico carried the bulk of the rushing yards going for 96 on the day, none for a loss. Defensively, senior James Ingram (CMC) led the Stags with seven total tackles followed closely by junior Gator Adams (CMC) and Quaid who each had five including one TFL for Adams. CMS' only sack on the day was attributed to junior Paul Slaats (HMC) and sophomore Brendan MacDonald (CMC).

In the past two seasons, CMS and ULV have traded games with the Stags winning 40-24 in 2014 and the Leos taking the 2013 game, 30-6.

Next up for CMS is Redlands (2-2, 2-0) who share a lead of the conference after beating Cal Lutheran on Oct. 10. The Stags host the Bulldogs at 1 p.m. on Oct. 17 at Zinda Field.

Box Score

By Emily Nordhoff
Sports Information Director

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