CMS Football Drops Defensive Struggle at Pacific Lutheran 10-7

CMS Football Drops Defensive Struggle at Pacific Lutheran 10-7

TACOMA, Wash. - The CMS football team held Pacific Lutheran to only 242 yards of total offense and 10 first downs, but it came up on the short end of a 10-7 defeat on Saturday afternoon in its final non-conference game of the 2018 season.

With the loss, the Stags slip to 1-2 on the year, after taking a defensive battle last weekend from Northwestern (Minn.) 14-3 at Zinda Field. The season opener was a more high-scoring affair, with CMS falling to Puget Sound at home 45-35. 

CMS trailed 10-0 entering the fourth quarter, but nearly made a late comeback. Freshman quarterback Zach Fogel, who earned the start behind center, started the drive at the end of the third when he connected with sophomore tight end Nick Parise for a 33-yard pass to the CMS 45. After the teams switch ends to start the fourth, Fogel carried for 14 yards down to the Pacific Lutheran 28-yard line, then found sophomore wide receiver Ethan Takeyama for 16 yards. One play later, he connected with Dylan Byrd in the end zone from 11 yards out to pull CMS within 10-7 with 12:36 left, capping off an eight-play, 80-yard drive. 

After the Stags held, Fogel completed a pass to Byrd to get the ball back into Lutes territory, but the drive stalled at the 42-yard line after a sack and CMS was forced to punt the ball back to Pacific Lutheran with 6:37 to play. The Lutes made a bid to seal the win, getting down all the way to the CMS 13-yard line in the closing minutes, but senior Mackenzie Cooney broke up a pass, and senior linebacker Mitchell Allan had a fourth down tackle to stop the drive at the 14. 

With 86 yards and 1:52 on the clock, the Stags faced long odds, but Fogel nearly led them down the field. He found sophomore running back Jordan Leonard for seven yards on 4th-and-5 to keep the drive going, then ran for six yards on 4th-and-4 to give the Stags new life with 36 seconds left. A 20-yard pass to sophomore wide receiver Matthew Sill on 3rd-and-18 put the ball at midfield, and a 19-yard pass to Takeyama with two seconds left got CMS into range for a long-distance tying field goal attempt for a chance to force overtime, but the kick ended up short as the Lutes held on for the win. 

Pacific Lutheran got its only offensive points on its first play from scrimmage. After CMS was pinned deep its own territory on the opening kickoff, a turnover gave the Lutes the ball on the 26 and Anthony Louthan rushed for 26 yards to score the game's first points 29 seconds into the game. 

The CMS defense stepped up late in the first quarter, when sophomore linebacker Sevion DeCosta and sophomore defensive back Matthew Stuppiello III combined on a tackle short of the sticks on 3rd-and-2 at the CMS 23 to force a field goal attempt that missed wide. The Stags then had a long drive at the end of the half and nearly tied it up, but were stopped on 4th-and-goal at the one on the final play of the half with two seconds left after driving the ball 84 yards over 16 plays. 

A big kickoff return to start the second half allowed Pacific Lutheran to start at the CMS 39-yard line, and they were able to connect on a 33-yard field goal that proved to be the winning points with 12:06 left in the third. Junior defensive lineman Likas Svitek snuffed out another Pacific Lutheran scoring threat with a big sack on fourth down from the CMS 22-yard line. 

Fogel finished with 179 yards on 13-28 passing, while junior Garrett Cheadle led the ground game with 82 yards on 21 carries. Allan and Davis tied for the team lead with eight tackles apiece, while sophomore safety Sachi Mindich had seven. 

CMS will be back in action in two weeks when it opens SCIAC play with a home game against La Verne on Saturday, Sept. 29 at 1 p.m. at Zinda Field.