CLAREMONT, Calif. - The CMS football team chewed up the final 9:29 of the clock with a 14-play drive, 13 of which were on the ground, to preserve a 17-10 home win over Cal Lutheran on Saturday afternoon at Zinda Field.
With the win, CMS improves to 3-2 on the season and 2-0 in the SCIAC, giving it a share of first place after the first two conference weekends. Cal Lutheran slips to 2-3 overall and 1-1 in the SCIAC with the loss.
Junior running back Garrett Cheadle went over 100 yards for the fourth time in the first five games, finishing with 138 yards on 30 carries to lead an offense that had 199 of its 251 yards for the day on the ground. The offensive line of Jacob Lyle, Matthew May, Jett Zeimantz, Jackson Tate and Brian Wahl helped pave the way for the nine-plus minute final drive to seal it.
Freshman Stiles Satterlee had 11 tackes to lead a defense that held Cal Lutheran to just 272 yards. The Stags have allowed just 47 points over the last four games, since falling in their opener 45-35 to Puget Sound. Senior cornerback and team captain Mackenzie Cooney said the Stags were able to regroup after that opening game.
"We got back to our basics," said Cooney. "Stop the run first -- that's our goal; that's what we do; that's what we pride ourselves on. And then after that we just play to our strengths and try to make the other team one-dimensional.
The Stags took over on their own 35-yard line leading 17-10 with 9:29 remaining after Cal Lutheran missed short on a 52-yard field goal. Junior Christian Curcio carried for 11 yards to give the Stags a first down, and Cheadle ran the ball three times for 14 yards to move it into Cal Lutheran territory. A holding penalty set CMS back, but sophomore quarterback Jake Norville competed the only pass of the drive, an eight-yarder to Curcio, to set up a fourth-and-three at the Cal Lutheran 35.
The Stags elected to go for it with just under four minutes remaining, and sophomore Jordan Leonard found a seam on the right side of the line to gave seven yards and move the sticks. Cal Lutheran called its second timeout of the half, but Cheadle carried for six yards, three yards and one yard to get another first down at the Cal Lutheran 18-yard line. Cheadle carried for five yards, and after the Kingsmen called their final timeout with 1:52 left, Leonard earned the last first down that the Stags would need, carrying it to the eight. The Stags then kneeled down to run out the rest of the clock, killing almost 10 minutes without giving the Kingsmen a chance to get the ball back.
"That's our best defense right there," said Cooney, "when we can take the ball and pound it down the field. Garrett Cheadle, Jordan Leonard, Christian Curcio, all those guys are workhorses, and that's what they do all game."
The game started auspicioulsy for the Stags, as they won the toss and elected to defer, then forced a fumble on the opening return. Freshman Matt Niemann had the hit and sophomore Carter Henderson recovered at the Cal Lutheran 31-yard line. Cheadle then carried the ball five times for 29 yards, the last 12 bringing him over the goal line to give CMS a 7-0 lead.
The score stayed 7-0 until the second quarter, when Jabar Byrd broke loose for the one big play of the day, carrying the ball 57 yards down the sideline for a touchdown to tie the score with 12:28 left in the half.
CMS, though, was able to take advantage of another short field, as a bobbled snap on a punt led to a 10-yard loss as sophomore Camrion Davis made the tackle in the backfield at the Kingsmen 39-yard line. Cheadle picked up a first down on 4th-and-2 at the 19 to keep the drive going, and Norville found sophomore tight end Theo Chamberlain wide open over the middle for a 17-yard touchdown pass with 5:10 left in the half to give the Stags a 14-7 lead.
Touchdown Stags! Norville finds Chamberlain open over the middle. CMS up 14-7 with 5:16 left in 1H. pic.twitter.com/OKmXE03e0o— CMS Athletics (@AthleticsCMS) October 6, 2018
Cal Lutheran managed a 29-yard field goal on its last possession of the first half to make the score 14-10 at the break, but the Stags got those points back to start the second half after a 13-play, 56-yard drive that ended with a 30-yard field goal from Alessandro Maiuolo.
The Kingsmen then chewed up 6:29 of clock on a long drive, converting on three third-down conversions, but the Stags stopped Cal Lutheran on 4th-and-2 at the 36, with Cooney and junior Connor Lehner stopping Byrd for no gain.
FB: Big 4th down stop! Mac Cooney first to make the hit on 4th and 2 to stop the Kingsmen one yard short. CMS leads 17-10 w 1:34 left in the third. pic.twitter.com/jMmqywA4Eu— CMS Athletics (@AthleticsCMS) October 6, 2018
Cal Lutheran had a short field to work with after a long punt return early in the fourth, taking over on the CMS 32, but Satterlee came up with a tackle in the backfield for a loss of four yards. Sophomore Cade Moffatt broke up a pass and then had a key third-down tackle after a short gain to force Cal Lutheran into a long field goal which missed with 9:29 to go, which turned out to be its final play from scrimmage.
CMS finished with 34:33 in time of possession on its way to the win, converting 18 first-downs, including both on fourth down. Leonard had 48 yards on 13 carries in a key supporting role on the ground. Freshman Benjamin Cooney, Moffatt, and senior linebacker Mitchell Allan each had seven tackles to support the 11 from Satterlee.
The Stags will be in action next week for their first SCIAC road game when they take on Redlands at 7 p.m.