The Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Stags stole the show as they defeated the Leopards, 41-13, during Saturday’s Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference football home opener at Ortmayer Stadium.
The Leopards started off strong, as they pushed for yards and gained power with each play. Despite the Leopards’ forceful drive, it was no match for the Stags’ defensive line, as they sacked junior quarterback Miguel Aguero Jr. at the start of the game.
Senior linebacker Sam Melvin said that the Stags’ offense knows what they are doing.
“Claremont has a simple run-heavy offense that they execute very well,” Melvin said. “We just had to take the game and execute each play one at a time without trying to do too much.”
With three minutes left of the first quarter, Stag sophomore running back Justin Edwards received a 10-yard pass and made it to the Leopards’ endzone, scoring the first touchdown of the game. The extra point was good and CMS was up, 7-0.
The Leopards fumbled the ball on the next drive and lost possession as they were inching closer to the endzone. The Leopards continued to push with a strong defense, as sophomore safety Jacob “JJ” Rider made game changing tackles on the field.
With 10 minutes left in the second quarter, Edwards scored another touchdown for the Stags, making the score 14-0.
Unsportsmanlike conduct calls were made on the Stags after the touchdown.
The Leopards kept their composure, sacking the Stags’ quarterback before the quarter ended, however the Stags closed out the first half with a field goal, making it 17-0.
As the second half of the game began, the Leopards’ continuous determination was evident as they kept the Stags out of the endzone. Claremont had to settle for a field goal, moving the score to 20-0.
Both teams pressured the other, causing mistakes such as false starts, pass interferences and incomplete passes.
Halfway through the third quarter, Stags sophomore quarterback Walter Kuhlenkamp made a 46-yard pass to sophomore wide receiver Jackson Gonzales, who ran it into the endzone for a 27-0 lead.
The Leopards later had possession of the ball when defensive back Kirby Baynes intercepted Aguero’s throw and got a pick six.
The third quarter ended with the Stags leading 34-0.
After the Leopards gained yards and consecutive first downs in the fourth quarter, senior wide receiver Ethan Medeiros gave the Leopards their first touchdown with 13 minutes left of the game. The extra point was blocked by the Stags, keeping the score at 34-6.
The Leopards fought back and blocked the Stags’ attempted field goal that came five minutes later.
Still pushing for another touchdown, the Leopards moved up the field quickly as the fourth quarter was coming to an end. With one minute left of the game, sophomore wide receiver Davonte Johnson gave the Leopards one more celebration as he made it into the endzone, making the final score 41-13..
Johnson said he was focused on stepping up and continuing to play hard no matter what the score was.
“I knew it was our last play of that drive and wanted to make it worth it when the opportunity came,” Johnson said. “When I scored everything felt unreal. This was my first career touchdown for ULV and there are many more to come.”
The Leopards are 0-4 overall and 0-1 in SCIAC. They will continue conference play at Pomona-Pitzer at 7 p.m. Saturday.
Kristen Schoenick can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.