Big plays in final minute give CMS first win over Redlands since 2003

CLAREMONT, Calif. – Similar to its win earlier this month at Chapman, with the game on the line, the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps football team turned to its ground game. And once again, CMS found the end zone for the game-winning score. This time around, sophomore running back Shane Pico (CMC) found the end zone for the winning score with 34 seconds left to give CMS a 25-23 win over Redlands on Oct. 17 at Zinda Field. The win is CMS' first over Redlands since 2003. The Stags last took a bite out of the Bulldogs on Nov. 15, 2003, a 20-6 home win.

The touchdown by Pico – his sixth of the season – gave the Stags a 25-21 lead. A failed 2-point conversion kept the score at 25-21. On the ensuing Redlands possession, Redlands aired it out on its first play, but Kevin Russell's pass was picked off by sophomore defensive back Victor Bunce (CMC) to seal the win. Bunce now has seven interceptions on the season. Coming into the game, he was tied for first in Division III in interceptions per game and was second in total interceptions (the D-III leader had six prior to Oct. 17).

After the interception, CMS (3-2, 2-1 SCIAC) attempted to run out the clock, taking a safety with one second remaining in the game which made the final score 25-23.

The winning drive for CMS started at its 15-yard line with 5:35 remaining in the game. After CMS threw an interception earlier in the quarter, the CMS defense forced a three-and-out and a punt by Redlands. The defense was stout all day for the Stags and allowed just 318 yards of total offense (159 yards rushing and passing).

CMS then put together a 15-play drive that took five minutes before Pico scored. The Stags came up with three key third-down conversions along the way.

Redlands (2-1, 2-3) led throughout the third quarter. After leading 14-13 at halftime, Redlands took a 21-13 advantage with 5:16 left in the third quarter on a 36-yard scramble by the quarterback, Russell.

The first half went back and forth for the duration. On the opening drive of the game, CMS put together a 14-play, 68-yard drive down to the 7-yard line of Redlands. The drive stalled, but CMS took a 3-0 lead on a 24-yard field goal from junior kicker Matthew Aven (CMC) with 10:25 left in the first quarter. Later in the first quarter, Redlands jumped ahead 7-3 on a 1-yard touchdown run by Curtis Tranquary at the 2:19 mark of the first quarter.

Just over a minute later, CMS responded for the go-ahead touchdown, a 54-yard pass from sophomore quarterback Sam Healy (CMC) to sophomore wideout Trey Smith (CMC) which gave the Stags a 10-7 lead. Healy did not start the game, but provided a spark for the offense all afternoon. He completed 11-of-18 passes for 163 yards, one touchdown and one interception and also had a rushing touchdown near the start of the fourth quarter. Four of CMS' five scoring drives were led by Healy.

Devon Appleton put Redlands back ahead, 14-10, with 13:40 before halftime on a 29-yard touchdown run.

Aven added his second field goal of the first half, a 23-yarder, at the 6:10 mark to put CMS within a point at 14-13. With Redlands marching late in the first half, Bunce ended the threat just before halftime with his first interception of the game.

On defense, two Stags were in double-figure tackles on the afternoon. Sophomore linebacker Brendan MacDonald (CMC) came away with a game-high 15 tackles while senior defensive back James Ingram had 10 tackles.

CMS now sits in a three-way tie for second place in the conference with Cal Lutheran (4-1, 2-1 SCIAC) and Redlands. La Verne (4-1, 3-0) is in first place.

Occidental visits CMS on Oct. 24 with kickoff set for 1 p.m. Live stats and video can viewed here.

Box score
Coach Sweeney Postgame Interview
Shane Pico Touchdown

By Chris Watts
Director of Athletics Communication
Claremont McKenna College

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