Perfect 2-minute drill keeps Drum in Los Angeles
LOS ANGELES — Tommy Edwards (Sherman Oaks) led a picture-perfect 2-minute drill, Samuel Stekol (Manhattan Beach) made a one-handed catch to set up the Tigers' final score and Occidental College football team beat Pomona-Pitzer for the ninth consecutive year in the 118th meeting between the schools.
The Tigers (2-5, 2-3 SCIAC) keep the coveted "Drum" trophy in Eagle Rock on their homecoming night and improve their overall record against Pomona-Pitzer (0-7, 0-5 SCIAC) to 63-48-3.
After Oxy surrendered a 10-point lead late in the fourth quarter, Edwards and the Tigers got the ball back trailing 27-24 with 2 minutes, 34 seconds remaining. The junior quarterback scrambled for a nine-yard run, hit Matthew Tuckness (Alamo) twice and found Stekol for three first-down completions — the third an 11-yard play that Stekol somehow snagged with one hand to position Kwame Do (San Marino) for his second one-yard touchdown run of the night.
"To be honest, that was one of those plays where you just put your hand out there and hope that something happens," Stekol said. "This is what we play for. You live for these moments and you grow up your whole life hoping that it happens and when it does, it's really special."
Stekol's catch was the highlight of an eight-play, 66-yard drive that took the Tigers just 58 seconds to complete.
"That's why I play quarterback," Edwards said. "That's what we wait for, situations like that. With the ball in my hands and the team on my back. … And then to put it in the end zone is a great feeling."
Pomona-Pitzer had one last crack at beating Oxy in Southern California's longest standing college football rivalry, but Dalton Spinas (Atascadero), Oxy's best offensive lineman, had a strip sack on 3rd and 10 that forced the Sagehens into a desperation Hail Mary that fell incomplete as time expired.
Luke Sweeney, Pomona-Pitzer's star running back who led the nation in rushing yards in 2011 and is just 10 yards shy of Jim Regan's all-time Sagehens rushing record (2,767 yards), did not play due to injury.
Edwards continued his hot streak offensively, finishing the night 33 for 48 with 372 yards passing, but went without a touchdown pass for the first time this season. Instead he rushed for two scores — both in the second quarter — and gained 35 yards with his legs.
"This was about the whole team tonight," Edwards said. "Special teams, offense, defense. … All the way around. It's a great team victory."
Oxy's receiving core still did plenty of the heavy lifting. Stekol caught 12 passes for 176 yards, Tuckness had nine for 83 yards and Ryan Rodriguez (Oakley) caught four for 68.
Oxy kicker and punter Marc Kuzbari (Clayton) made a career-long 40-yard field goal to put Oxy up 24-14 in the third quarter. The junior also had a touchback in the first half on a kickoff and averaged 44.3 yards per punt with a long of 49, helping the Tigers win the field position game.
Pomona-Pitzer's Duncan Hussey carried the Sagehens on every side of the ball. He led them offensively with 13 receptions for 218 yards and three touchdowns, brought back three kicks for 60 yards, had 4.5 tackles and even kicked off a handful of times. He caught a 78-yard touchdown on Pomona-Pitzer's opening drive to start the second half and then caught two fade routes in the corner of the end zone in the fourth quarter to erase the Tigers' lead and put the Sagehens in front.
Do, a freshman, scored his first career touchdown on a one-yard run that capped a 10-play, 75-yard drive that put Oxy up 7-0 with 5:06 left in the first quarter. Pomona-Pitzer's Brett Harper answered for the Sagehens less that 4 minutes later by breaking open a 42-yard run to even the score, 7-7.
Oxy's Jordan Lance (San Diego) picked off Luke Ferguson with 11:07 left in the second quarter to kick-start back-to-back scores that gave Oxy a 21-7 halftime cushion.
The Tigers finally got some sort of ground game going. Austin Cheadle (Portalnd, Ore.) had 17 carries for 64 yards and Oxy as a team ran for 100 yards for the first time this season.
Oxy's Casey Shibuya (Kahala, Hawaii) led Oxy with 6.5 tackles.
Oxy can get back to .500 in SCIAC play with a win over Whittier next Saturday at Jack Kemp Stadium.