A controversial game from start to finish, Saturday's contest between the CMS Stags (2-1, 1-0) football team and the University of La Verne (0-3, 0-1) turned out to be an exciting and close game down to the wire. Early in the game Senior quarterback Patrick Rooney suffered a serious leg injury that took him out of the game and threatens to sidetrack his season. The Stags rallied around their injured teammate and pulled of a three point 20-17 victory.
It was the Stags who found the scoreboard first with a 26 yard field goal by Chet Corcos, before La Verne just a minute later scored a touchdown by way of a 55 yard pass from quarterback Thomas Arguello to Cedric Ho. The Stags would kick two more field goals in the half but trail 14-9 at halftime after two controversial calls led to a La Verne touchdown. What at first appeared to be a fumble by Josh Jones when Sae Bin Park ripped the ball free from his hands was later ruled that Jones had been declared down. The very next play saw two flags thrown on to the field only to be picked up after the play with no penalty called and Jones finding the endzone.
The Stags found themselves down 17-12 midway through the fourth quarter after Corcos' fourth field goal of the day, followed shortly thereafter by a field goal by La Verne kicker Alex Miller. With only five minutes left in regulation, CMS quarterback Peter Kimmey (16 carries for 57 yards, 14-29 for 169 yards 1 touchdown and 1 interception) found Gregory Wilson (pictured) on the La Verne 10 yard line for what appeared to be only a short gain before Wilson broke free from a tackle and turned up field for what would be the game winning touchdown. On the 2-point conversion attempt Kimmey would connect with Jackson Doyle to put the Stags ahead for good 20-17.
La Verne would have two more chances to tie or win the game, the first being stalled with an interception by Kyle Hansen. After forcing the Stags to punt with only 26 seconds left to play, the controversy continue when the Leopards ran a seven second play with no time running off the clock much to dismay of CMS fans. Fortunately for the Stags, the defense held firm and stopped the Leopards as time expired to seal the victory for the Stags.
Wilson ended the day with seven catches for 98 receiving yards, while Alex Wheatley led the team in rushing with 61 yards on 15 carries. Ben Salzman led the team in tackles with 12 with Max Winsberg contributing nine of his own.
The win earned CMS first year head coach Kyle Sweeney his first SCIAC victory as the team improved to 2-1 overall and 1-0 in SCIAC play. "I think our guys played very, very hard. It was a good win for the team because we overcame a lot of adversity and gave ourselves a chance to win late in the game," Sweeney added about the victory.
The Stags return to action next weekend at Chapman University. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:00 PM.