Sweeney Has Another Big Night, But Sagehens Fall 45-35 To Chapman

Sweeney Has Another Big Night, But Sagehens Fall 45-35 To Chapman

Claremont, Calif. – Junior running back Luke Sweeney (Broken Arrow, Okla.) rushed for 185 yards, but the Pomona-Pitzer Football team surrendered a 28-7 lead and fell 45-35 to Chapman on Sunday evening at Merritt Field.

The loss drops the Sagehens to 0-3 on the young season, while Chapman improves to 2-1. Junior quarterback Luke Ferguson (Silverton, Ore.) was 25-38 for 261 yards and four touchdowns, while sophomore wide receiver Ryan Randle (Compton, Calif.) had his best day as a Sagehen with 11 catches for 145 yards and two touchdowns.

Sweeney entered the game as the second-leading rusher in all of Division III (181.5 ypg) and has rushed for 175 yards or more in each of his first three games. He made sure he would continue to rank near the top of the national leaders by rushing for 152 yards in the first alone. The Sagehens scored touchdowns on all four of their first-half possessions (other than kneeling down to end the half), as they dominated time of possession in the first stanza (21:50 to 8:10).

Ferguson's first touchdown to Randle, a 27-yarder, made the score 28-7 in favor of Pomona-Pitzer with 2:20 left in the first half. Chapman, though, responded immediately as Chad Milburn returned the ensuing kickoff to the Sagehen 37-yard line. Two plays later, Chad Milburn rushed in from 11 yards to pull the Panthers within 28-14 and give them some momentum heading into the locker room.

The momentum indeed carried over, as Chapman drove 52 yards on the first possession of the second half to score on a 25-yard pass from Bret Viscaglia to Mike Lambesis. On its second possession, Kali'l Kunitomo was tackled for a 14-yard loss on an attempted reverse, but then caught a 72-yard touchdown pass from Viscgalia on the very next play to tie the score 28-28.

Chapman then took the lead for good as it drove 89 yards on 13 plays, including a 17-yard pass to Kunitomo on 3rd-and-11 to set up a three-yard touchdown run from Jon Harris. Mauricio Alfonso, who scored both goals in Chapman's 2-0 win over the Pomona-Pitzer Men's Soccer team on Sept. 9, hit a 33-yard field goal with 5:47 left that proved to be the difference in the football game between the schools as well.

The Sagehens made that field goal important by driving 72 yards in 10 plays, culminating in the second touchdown pass from Ferguson to Randle on fourth and goal from the nine-yard line, to make the score 38-35 with 2:32 left.

Kyle White capped off the scoring on a 44-yard run with 1:23 left when the Sagehen defense, which was out of timeouts, tried to hold him up and strip the ball loose for several seconds before he finally broke free and ran all the way to the end zone. The Sagehens had one final drive that stalled inside the Chapman 10-yard line as the game expired.

Visciglia threw for 221 yards for Chapman in the win, while three different running backs had 60 yards or more and at least one touchdown (Harris, Milburn, White). Andre Shepley (Springfield, Mass.) had 7.5 tackles to lead the Sagehen defense, while Nick Sbardellati (Nuevo, Calif.) added seven (one solo, 12 assisted).

Pomona-Pitzer returns to action next week when it travels to Redlands to open SCIAC play with a 7 p.m. contest.