CLAREMONT, Calif. – Senior Trey Reynolds (CMC) and the Stags defense brought the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps football program back on the win column after holding off University of La Verne (1-6, 1-4) in a key 34-23 victory. The Stags (5-2, 3-2) overcame a fairly rough start to stampede past the Leopards, capitalizing on 11 penalties committed by La Verne as the Leopards lost a total 148 off penalties alone. Reynolds threw for four touchdowns, a season-high, and 255 passing yards. Junior Trey Smith (CMC) collected 107 receiving yards and pulled in two touchdowns while his fellow classmate Nick Wheeler (CMC) caught 67 receiving yards and one touchdown. La Verne saw running back Dallas Parent handle majority of the work on offense, rushing for 70 yards and throwing a 29-yard pass for a touchdown. On the defensive end, four different players recorded a sack, including senior Jake Glasser (CMC) who also forced a fumble.
The Stags appeared nervous in the opening quarter and paid dearly with a muffed snap in their first possession in their goal line. CMS managed to recover the ball in their end zone, but got tackled to award La Verne the safety. However with 9:26 left in the opening quarter, the Stags regained composure to take the lead. On third-and-12 at the Leopards' 18-yard line, Reynolds found Wheeler for the touchdown.
La Verne responded with a touchdown on the following drive, courtesy of Zak Tomlinson on a seven-yard rush.
The second quarter was a back-and-forth affair, as both teams managed to score back and forth. The Leopards' lead was short-lived when Reynolds threw a three-yard pass to freshman Enzo Tallerico (CMC), but La Verne responded with a creative formation to regain the advantage. On first-and-10 at the CMS 29-yard line, Tomlinson organized a wildcat formation and shoveled the ball over to Parent. Parent cocked his arm back and delivered a deep pass to Ezra Broadus for 29 yards for the touchdown, giving La Verne the 16-14 lead.
With 3:28 left in the second quarter, CMS opened their drive on the Leopards' 48-yard line after a botched punt went out of bounds. Following a 11-yard pass to Smith, the Leopards gifted CMS 10 yards after committing a holding penalty. After CMS advanced the ball to La Verne's 18-yard line, the Leopards committed another penalty off a personal foul during a completed pass to send the Stags to the seven-yard line. Reynolds capitalized on this error with a seven-yard touchdown pass to Smith to give CMS the 21-16 lead.
Less than a minute left in the first half, junior Geno Quaid (CMC) snagged an interception at La Verne's 41-yard line and the Stags advanced the ball to set senior Matthew Aven (CMC) up for a 42-yard field goal attempt, taking a 24-16 lead at the half.
Trey Smith continued the Stags' momentum at the start of the third quarter, receiving an eight-yard pass off a seam route and finding no defenders in his vicinity. The junior took off for 38 yards to the end zone to push the Stags' lead 31-16.
Zak Tomlinson worked to bring the Leopards back in the game, hitting DaeJohn Logan with a six-yard pass to bring the game to a close 31-23. The Stags offense stagnated the rest of the quarter, but the defense stepped up to keep La Verne locked out.
With 10 minutes left in the fourth quarter, on third-and-eight on the visitor's 20-yard line, junior Brendan Macdonald (CMC) made a key sack on Tomlinson for a loss of 13 yards to force a punt. On the following possession, Reynolds found junior Chris Cziesla (CMC) with a 29-yard pass into the end zone, but the touchdown was denied after a holding call on offense. The Stags managed to burn clock off several run plays and settled for a field goal to extend their lead.
The Stags will host Chapman next week in their final home game of the season. Kickoff will start at 1 p.m.
By Young Kim
Sports Information Assistant