SCIAC Co-Champion CMS Football Drops Regular Season Finale, Heads to NCAA Tournament Next Week

SCIAC Co-Champion CMS Football Drops Regular Season Finale, Heads to NCAA Tournament Next Week

CLAREMONT, Calif. - The SCIAC Co-Champion Claremont-Mudd-Scripps football team saw its bid for an undefeated SCIAC season come up short as it dropped its regular season finale on the eve of the NCAA Division III Football selection show tomorrow, when the Stags will find out where they are headed for their first-ever NCAA bid.

CMS ends the regular season 7-3 and 6-1 in the SCIAC, following its 24-19 road defeat to Pomona-Pitzer on Saturday, most of which was played without junior running back Garrett Cheadle, who came in with 1,275 yards on the year (ranking seventh in the nation in yards per game), but was restricted to seven carries and 30 yards due to injury. The loss drops CMS into a tie for first at 6-1 with Redlands, but the Stags will earn the tiebreaker for the NCAA bid due to their 20-10 road win over Redlands head-to-head. The Sagehens see their season end at 7-3 overall and 5-2 in the SCIAC. 

Sophomore Jordan Leonard (pictured) had 14 carries for 79 yards and two touchdowns in the absence of Cheadle, while sophomore Matthew Sill had six catches for 100 yards and sophomore Ethan Takeyama had five catches for 70 yards as CMS turned more to its air attack. Sophomore linebacker Camrion Davis led the defense with nine tackles. 

Freshman kicker Alessandro Maiuolo kicked a 26-yard field goal on the final play of the first half to give CMS a 10-3 lead at the break, then kicked from 25 yards on the third play of the fourth quarter to give the Stags back the lead at 13-10. However, Karter Odermann threw two long passes to Win Hunter, the first a 45-yarder and the second a 42-yarder for a touchdown, to put Pomona-Pitzer ahead 17-13. 

On the next Sagehen possession, Ordermann capped off an 11-play drive covering 60 yards by finding David Berkinsky from four yards out to make it a 24-13 game with 4:21 left. Freshman quarterback Zach Fogel was able to lead the Stags down the field to keep them in the game, completing a 23-yarder to freshman tight end William Smith and a 14-yarder to Sill on 3rd-and-10, setting up a one-yard touchdown run from Leonard with 1:09 to go.

The two-point conversion failed, and Pomona-Pitzer recovered the onsides kick. CMS had all three timeouts left and burned all three, but took over on its own 13 yard line with 47 seconds left. Fogel found Sill for 19 yards to the 32, but his desperation pass downfield was intercepted by Elan Harris to seal the win for the Sagehens. 

CMS took its first lead in the second quarter after a 14-play, 73-yard drive. Cheadle started off the drive with two carries for 13 yards, his last yards of the day, before sophomore quarterback Jake Norville connected with sophomore tight end Theo Chamberlain on fourth-and-two at the Pomona-Pitzer 38. A Norville pass to running back Christian Curcio put the ball in the red zone at the 14, and Leonard took it in for his first touchdown of the day to make it a 7-3 CMS lead with 4:15 left in the half. 

The Stags held Pomona-Pitzer to three and out, and scored again just before the half, as Norville found Sill for 15 yards to the Sagehen 35, and Leonard carried it for 15 yards to the 20. Norville completed a pass to Leonard for 10 yards, and the Stags took two cracks at the end zone, before settling for a Maiuolo field goal and a 10-3 lead at the break. Odermann threw his first of three second half touchdowns to Nick Kapule from eight yards out with 10:24 to go in the third, and the Sagehens were able to finish off the win in the fourth. 

The NCAA selection show will take place tomorrow at 2:30 p.m. (PST) as the Stags will find out where their 2018 season will continue as the SCIAC representative in the NCAA Division III Tournament.