Sagehens Open SCIAC Play At Redlands

Game Notes In PDF Format


Claremont, Calif. - The Pomona-Pitzer Football team will open conference play when it travels to Redlands on Saturday for a 7 p.m. contest.

The Sagehens come in at 0-3, but the last two games have both been high-scoring affairs in which they have come up just short in the fourth quarter (48-39 to Lewis & Clark and 45-35 to Chapman).

The scoring barrage has been led by Pomona-Pitzer's two Lukes - junior running back Luke Sweeney (Broken Arrow, Okla.) and junior quarterback Luke Ferguson (Silverton, Ore.). Sweeney is now the top running back in all of college football (all divisions) with 182.7 rushing yards per game, a 13.7 yards per game over Jeremy Murray (Mt. Union) for the Division III lead.

Ferguson, meanwhile, is coming off a game in which he threw for 261 yards and four touchdowns, which was nearly five touchdowns, except a swing pass to Sweeney in the first quarter went backwards for a lateral, resulting in a touchdown run. Sophomore receiver Ryan Randle (Compton, Calif. - pictured) had two of those touchdown receptions on a day when he set career bests with 11 receptions for 145 yards.

Redlands is ranked No. 17 in the country by D3 Football.com and is 2-1 on the season after dropping a narrow road loss to Cal Lutheran last weekend. The Bulldogs defeated the Sagehens 38-26 last year in Claremont, but only after Pomona-Pitzer pulled within 28-26 late in the third quarter.

After facing Redlands, the Sagehens will return home to play Occidental next weekend, for a 7 p.m. game on Saturday, Oct. 15 at Merritt Field. 

Game Notes

Last Game:

Junior running back Luke Sweeney (Broken Arrow, Okla.) had 185 yards on the ground and junior quarterback Luke Ferguson (Silverton, Ore.) threw for four touchdown passes, but the Pomona-Pitzer Football team couldn't hold a big first-half lead and fell to Chapman 45-35 on Saturday evening at Merritt Field. Ferguson's third touchdown pass of the game came with 2:20 left in the first half, as he connected with sophomore wide receiver Ryan Randle (Compton, Calif.) from 27 yards out to put the Sagehens ahead 28-7. However, Chapman used a big kickoff return to score before the half and help swing the momentum, then added a touchdown on its first possession of the second half to pull within 28-21. A Mauricio Alfonso field goal with 5:47 left in the game capped off a stretch of 31 unanswered points for the Panthers, before Ferguson found Randle a second time with 2:32 left to make the score 38-35. Chapman tacked on one more touchdown on a 44-yard run with 1:23 left when the Sagehens defense, with the team out of timeouts, didn't even try to tackle the runner (Kyle White) as it held him up for several seconds trying to force a fumble before he broke away for the clinching touchdown. Ferguson finished the day by completing 25 of 38 passes for 261 yards and his four touchdowns, while Randle had his best day as a Sagehen with 11 catches for 145 yards and two touchdowns. Andre Shepley (Springfield, Mass.) led the defense with 7.5 tackles (three solo, nine assisted), while sophomore Nick Sbardellati (Nuevo, Calif.) had a hand in 13 tackles (one solo, 12 assisted).

Sweeney Leads The Nation: Junior running back Luke Sweeney (Broken Arrow, Okla.) currently leads the country in rushing (all divisions) with his 182.7 yards per game. He holds a 13.7 yards per game lead at the Division III level, over Jeremy Murray of Mount Union, and a 2.7 yards per game lead over Jonas Randolph of Mars Hill (Division II) for the lead in any division. Sweeney also ranks second in Division III in all-purpose yardage at 238.3 yards per game, trailing only Trey Fairchild of Otterbein, a wide receiver/kick returner, who averages 246.7 all-purpose yards. 

National Rushing Leaders (All Divisions)

Name, School Div. YPG
Luke Sweeney, Pomona-Pitzer III 182.7
Jonas Randolph, Mars Hill II 180.0
Richard Haley, Minn.-Crookston II 176.7
Cory McCaffrey, Portland St. FCS 169.7
Jeremy Murray, Mt. Union III 169.0

Paving The Way: The big offensive numbers for junior running back Luke Sweeney (Broken Arrow, Okla.) have not come without some help, of course. The offensive line that opened the holes for Sweeney has included left tackle Tim Stapenhorst (Fremont, Calif.), left guard Kevin Ludlum (Mission Viejo, Calif.), center Jack Horstmann (Fresno, Calif.), right guard James Lambert (Mercer Island, Wash.), and right tackle Garret Bell (Fullerton, Calif.), along with tight end Peter Ferrin (Salt Lake City, Utah) and fullback Zack Tannous (Millbrae, Calif.). Not only did that unit block effectively for Sweeney last weekend, they also prevented quarterback Luke Ferguson (Silverton, Ore.) from being sacked a single time in 38 pass attempts.

Family Rivalry: Junior running back Luke Sweeney (Broken Arrow, Okla.) had his career high in rushing last year at Occidental, which provided an interesting twist to the Sweeney household. Sweeney's father Phil attended Occidental and was a national champion in both cross country and track. In fact, Sweeney's 220 yards rushing against the Tigers even has a little bit of a track feel to it, as it translated to almost exactly a 200-meter run (201.6 meters, to be exact). Sweeney has approached his career high several times this season (see above), but his 220 against Oxy remains his best. Occidental visits Pomona-Pitzer next weekend in a rematch.

Sweeney's 100-Yard Performances

Yards Opponent Date
220 Occidental 10/16/10
187 Lewis & Clark 9/17/11
185 Chapman 10/1/11
176 Whitworth 9/10/11
126 Whittier 10/30/10
116 Lewis & Clark 9/18/10

Mr. Efficiency: Junior running back Luke Sweeney (Broken Arrow, Okla.) has put up some huge rushing numbers this season (see above). But what is perhaps most impressive is that he has done so in a workmanlike fashion. His longest run from scrimmage this season is only 25 yards, and he accumulated his 187 yards vs. Lewis & Clark without any runs over 17 yards.

We'll Take A Second Luke: Junior running back Luke Sweeney (Broken Arrow, Okla,.) has been the big story offensively so far this season, but another Luke also stepped up in the loss to Lewis & Clark on Sept. 17. Junior quarterback Luke Ferguson (Silverton, Ore.) threw for 222 yards on the day, and also had an electrifying 28-yard scramble in the fourth quarter. Ferguson is in the unenviable position of replacing the leading quarterback in program history, Jake Caron, who is now Pomona-Pitzer's quarterbacks coach after graduating last year. Last weekend, Ferguson threw for four touchdown passes (completing 25-of-38 passes for 261 yards), including a 12-14, 3-TD first half alone. He almost threw for five touchdowns, but his first was a swing pass to Sweeney that went backwards for a lateral, resulting in a 19-yard touchdown run.

Mr. Versatility: A year ago, senior Zack Tannous (Millbrae, Calif.) was one of the top defensive players on the Sagehens, tallying 38.5 tackles, including five for losses. This year, though, Tannous has switched over to fullback, where he has tallied 83 yards on 16 carries through three games, including a 34-yard run against Whitworth.

New Ferrin Heights: Sophomore tight end Peter Ferrin (Salt Lake City, Utah) had a big impact in the Sagehens game against Lewis & Clark on Sept. 17, providing a go-to target for junior quarterback Luke Ferguson (Silverton, Ore.). Ferrin opened the scoring with a 43-yard touchdown reception in the first quarter, and also added a 22-yard touchdown in the second stanza. He finished with three catches for a team-high 77 yards on the day. He also added a third touchdown reception against Chapman last weekend.

Randle On: Sophomore wide receiver Ryan Randle (Compton, Calif.) is coming off a huge game last Saturday against Chapman, tallying 11 catches for 145 yards and two touchdowns. Randle comes from an athletic family, as his cousin, Lenny Randle, played Major League Baseball, while another cousin, Tyus Edney, played on the 1995 UCLA Men's Basketball national championship team (famous for a coast-to-coast lay-up to beat Missouri in the second round) and went on to an NBA career. Randle's father was also a collegiate tennis player at Cal State Dominguez Hills.

Defensive Leaders: Junior linebacker Jake Rollins (Simi Valley, Calif.) led the Sagehens with 10 tackles in the season opener. Seeing Rollins at the top of the defensive stat lists is nothing new. Rollins led Pomona-Pitzer in tackles as a freshman in 2009 with 57 (47 solo), and then led the team last year with 51.5 (46 solo). He'll have some competition this season from sophomore linebacker Kyle Roskamp (Chesterfield, Mo.), who had 11 tackles against Lewis & Clark and now leads the Sagehens with 21 tackles on the year (16 solo, 10 assisted).

Last Year vs. Redlands: The Sagehens battled Redlands close for most of the game, but the Bulldogs were able to hold them off for a 38-26 win at Merritt Field. The big story for the Sagehens was the day for current wide receivers coach R.J. Maki, who caught 17 passes for 158 yards and a touchdown on the day. Current quarterbacks coach Jack Caron was 27-of-42 for 209 yards and two touchdowns, while current junior Luke Sweeney (Broken Arrow, Okla.) had 15 carries for 52 yards and a touchdown. Sweeney's 10-yard scoring run with 4:45 left in the third quarter brought the Sagehens within 28-26, but Selway threw his fifth touchdown pass of the day for Redlands on the ensuing drive to make it a two-possession game at 35-26, and the Bulldogs added a late field goal to close out the scoring. Selway was 23-of-34 for 323 yards and five touchdowns, although he did throw three interceptions, one of which was returned for a touchdown by current sophomore Weston Staubus (Solana Beach, Calif.).