The football team faced a tough loss Saturday, losing to the Pomona-Pitzer Sagehens, 31-23.
Failed offensive opportunities down the stretch led to the loss for the Leopards.
The team is now 3-3 overall and 2-2 in the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.
“It’s tough going into a game where you’re expected to win and it’s tough to do,” head coach Chris Krich said. “They’re a good football team and we just need to be better.”
The Leopards had a rough start in the first quarter. Freshman quarterback of Pomona-Pitzer Alex Bresler made a 39-yard pass to senior wide receiver Ryan Randle making a touchdown, scoring the Sagehens’ first touchdown of the game.
Senior kicker Michael Weil’s kick was no good, making the score 6-0.
La Verne struggled with their first possession of the first quarter with not enough yards to get a first down.
The Leopards were looking out as Bresler’s pass was intercepted by junior safety David Kain at the La Verne 15-yard line.
La Verne struggled as senior running back Matthew Biggers carried the ball for 3 yards but it was not enough to get a touchdown in the first quarter of the game.
“Game was terrible,” Biggers said. “We clearly lost to a team that we were expecting to beat and it’s quite a shocker.”
The defense slacked, not being able to tackle quick enough as Alex Bresler continued to complete his passes to junior wide receiver Guy Scherzer and sophomore running back Brett Harper, gaining yards moving closer to their goal.
“I feel more disappointed than anything about this loss,” junior wide receiver Jamar Johnson said. “It’s because I know we’re much better than what we displayed out there.”
A block by junior safety Carvante Hill prevented the Sagehens from getting a complete pass with 4th and 4 but the Sagehens still went for it.
Bresler scored yet another touchdown, rushing through the open space left by the offense.
To up the score, Pomona-Pitzer went for the two-point conversion and it was complete by Weil making the score 14-0.
“We just need to take things as they come,” Biggers said. “We will come back next week and be ready to play like how we should be.”
The Leopards were finally on the scoreboard, answering back with a pass by senior quarterback Justin Gomez to junior wide receiver Jon Lilly for 30 yards and a kick attempt that was good by senior kicker Alex Miller, making the score 14-7.
But the Sagehens had an answer back to La Verne as Bresler rushed for 53 yards breaking past the La Verne defense and made a touchdown with 4:09 left on the clock, 21-7.
With 3:12 left in the second quarter, sophomore running back Travis Sparks-Jackson rushed for 9 yards and made a touchdown and Miller’s kick was good as La Verne was rising on the scoreboard, 21-14.
“Travis did a great job. He had big runs and did well,” head coach Krich said. “He did a nice job on running and carrying as well.”
With a 34-yard field goal by Miller to the end the quarter, the score became 21-17.
But the Sagehens in the third quarter did not stop there. Gomez made a pass intended for junior running back Nijiah Hauser but was intercepted by Weil with a minute to play. Harper finished off the quarter with a touchdown making the lead, 28-20.
It was a chance to take the lead in the fourth and final quarter of the game. The defense slacked as Pomona-Pitzer completed each of their passes.
Sparks-Jackson and Biggers consistently rushed to gain yardage throughout the quarter to complete first downs for La Verne but were unable to get a touchdown and resorted to field goals.
“Our preparation and execution overall on both sides of the ball can and will be focused on for the next game,” Johnson said.
Pomona-Pitzer claimed the victory, 31-23, as the Leopards were unable to gain the lead in the game. Pomona-Pitzer’s overall record is now 2-4 overall and 2-2 in the SCIAC.
“The team has a lot to improve on and we need to prepare for that,” Krich said. “Working on fundamentals like tackling and blocking to be better than the other team is a big thing for us but we’ll be ready.”
The Leopards face Chapman at 1 p.m Saturday at Ortmayer Stadium.
Jolene Nacapuy can be reached at email@example.com.