Claremont, CA.-Saturday's edition of the annual battle for the Peace Pipe between the CMS Stags and Pomona-Pitzer Sagehens provided all the drama, excitement, and intensity that fans have come to expect of the rivalry. Tempers flared, touchdowns were scored, and hits were delivered with precision as the Stags claimed their fifth consecutive Peace Pipe and 31st overall with a 24-14 victory.
While the final score indicates a close match, it does not capture the flow of the game. The Stags dominated the Sagehens defensively and the offense found the end zone three times in the first half to build a 21-0 lead. Senior kicker Jordan Santo came in to kick a 25 yard field goal late in the fourth quarter, his successful kick extended the lead to 24-0. Pomona-Pitzer would not find the endzone until only 38 seconds remained in the game, when national rushing leader Luke Sweeney ran in a TD from 4 yards out. After recovering a kickoff at the CMS 30, Pomona-Pitzer found the end zone again on a 15 yard pass from QB Luke Ferguson to Kareem Smedley. CMS would recover the ensuing onside kick and run out the clock.
All three of CMS' touchdowns came on exciting highlight reel plays. The first on a great option read by QB Peter Kimmey as he held on to the ball and ran it in himself from 34 yards out. Corey Bickler would contribute the next TD on a 56 yard rush in which he high stepped his way out of diving defenders' grasp and was alone for the final 20 yards of his run. Alex Wheatley found space at the P-P 14 yard line and appeared free to score when a defender got in his way. Thanks to great blocking by the receivers, the defender was taken down, however now he was directly blocking Wheatley's open path to the end zone. Naturally, Wheatley saw the defender go down and jumped clear over him, running the final couple of yards in for the Stags third rushing TD of the afternoon.
The CMS defense stifled the Sagehens, as they held the nation's leading rusher, Luke Sweeney to 40 yards below his average. They kept the Sagehens to 2.9 yards average per rush and found ways to hit the QB and take the ball away from the P-P offense. Both Sae Bin Park and Eddie Mills sacked Ferguson, and Elijah Chiang and Jake Weyerhauser picked the QB off. Chiang's INT occurred thanks to a circus catch by Chiang as he was rotating in the air while attempting to catch the ball, while Weyerhauser's pick came off a poorly executed half-back pass by the Sagehens. Chiang would also recover a fumble forced by Park.
Offensive Statistical leaders for each team were:
Passing: Ferguson-PP (10-19, 75 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT)
Rushing: Sweeney-PP (40 carries, 142 yards, 1 TD)
Receiving: Smedley-PP (3 rec, 31 yards, 1 TD)
Passing: Kimmey-CMS (3-10, 53 yards)
Rushing: Bickler-CMS (7 carries, 72 yards, 1 TD, 10.3 yds/carry)
Wheatley-CMS (14 carries, 70 yards, 1 TD, 5.0 yds/carry)
Receiving: Bickler-CMS (2 rec, 45 yards)
The Sagehens defense was led by Jake Rollins who contributed 10 tackles to his team's effort.
The entire Stag defense got involved in the action Saturday as four Stags had double digit tackles, eight players had five or more tackles. Matthew Laredo led the way with 14 tackles, Joey Liekwig added 11, Corbin Tognoni had 10 of his own, and Ben Salzman also contributed 10.
The team's season leaders were:
Passing: Peter Kimmey (58-135, 732 yards, 3 TD, 6 INT)
Rushing: Wheatley (108 carries, 576 yards, 5.3 avg, 4 TD) Bickler, Kimmey, and Beltz each contributed at least 315 yards rushing over the season.
Receiving: Greg Wilson (19 rec, 290 yds, 15.3 avg. 1 TD)
Tackles: Ben Salzman (75 tackles, 2.5 sacks, 1 INT, 1 FF) 10th overall in conference.
Interceptions: Tognonig (2 INT, 96 ids, 1 TD) six others with 1 INT.
Sacks: Eddie Mills (5.5 sacks, 35 yards)
The Sagehens finish their season 0-9 overall, 0-6 in SCIAC play. CMS improves to 4-5 overall, 3-3 in SCIAC competition. First year CMS Head Coach Kyle Sweeney spoke of his first experience in the Peace Pipe game by saying "What a great rivalry. It lived up to everything I had heard. I am so happy our seniors finished their career 4-0 against Pomona."