Unfortunately, the SCIAC lacks visibility, even within the Southern California region, as last weekend's slate of games brought a defensive battle and the possible emergence of a new star in the conference.
Although small, the SCIAC has been a fun conference this year with a healthy level of parity and the tight regionality of classic collegiate athletics.
Week 9 Results
Chapman Panthers 14 | CMS Stags 10
This was the biggest game of the weekend as CMS could have punched their ticket to the SCIAC Championship Game with a win, but a Chapman win put the Panthers in control of the Surf Division.
The two teams engaged in a defensive battle, with Chapman holding a slim yardage advantage in the game of 255 to 244 as Luke Peterman continued to do just enough for Chapman while not committing any critical errors. For the afternoon, he completed 10/18 for 139 yards and a touchdown while being sacked once. A fairly unspectacular stat line, but it was enough.
The 4th quarter began with CMS leading 7-0 and preparing to kick a field goal after their drive stalled inside the Chapman red zone. The 10-0 lead felt like it would be enough with how the Panthers' offense struggled to that point.
However, the tide would shift as Chapman drove down the field and scored their first touchdown on a 23-yard reception by Gian Lagemann.
The following drive saw a 3rd down sack produce a three-out for the Panthers' defense. They would take the change of possession and once again drive down the field and score a second touchdown with three and a half minutes remaining and a four-point lead.
In a stroke of drama, The Stags drove down the field in response, setting up a 1st & Goal from the five-yard line after a 28-yard reception from Walter Kuhlenkamp to Bryce DesJardins.
The Panthers dug in their heels and stuffed a run at the line of scrimmage followed by two incomplete passes to force a 4th & Goal attempt.
Kuhlenkamp would break the pocket to his right and turn upfield, attempting to dive across the goal line, but two defenders brought him down at the one for a turnover on downs. This field position situation forced Chapman to run the ball and not simply kneel. In the end, they succeeded at not being caught for a safety and held on for the huge victory.
The Chapman defense has been the real MVP of their season as they flipped a switch after an 0-3 start to the season and have held the opposition to 7, 0, 10, and 10 points in their four victories since.
La Verne Leopards 12 | Redlands Bulldogs 40
The Leopards would score first on a Tevin Bowie touchdown run late in the first quarter, but the extra point would be blocked and returned for 2 points for the Bulldogs to make the score 6-2 after the first quarter.
Midway through the 2nd quarter, Redlands hit a chip-shot field goal to tighten the score to a rather uncommon 6-5. The Leopards would make Redlands sweat even more as Jimmy Rumsey hauled in a 21-yard touchdown reception from Brian Rudden, followed by a failed 2-point conversion, to make the score 12-5 going into halftime.
The better team would prevail as Redlands scored 35 points in a shutout 2nd half, which included three interception return touchdowns. The Bulldogs must be concerned with their offensive showing against La Verne. They only totaled 301 yards on the night, led by RB Tony Williams Jr, who had 147 yards on the ground on 17 carries, including a 66-yard touchdown in the 3rd quarter. Without Tyler Tremain, the Bulldogs no longer look like a threat to win the SCIAC.
Pomona-Pitzer Sagehens 38 | Cal Lutheran Kingsmen 24
This was one of the more offensively explosive games of the SCIAC season as the Kingsmen raced to a 21-0 first quarter in front of the home crowd. JP Andrade and the Cal Lutheran offense did not have a great game, as two of those touchdowns came on drives of five yards following an interception and four yards following a dropped snap on a punt attempt downed inside the five. Andrade completed 28/44 for 247 yards with those three first-quarter touchdowns and two interceptions while being sacked twice.
The real story of the game was the emergence of Grady Russo as a raw, athletic option at quarterback. After the frustrating first quarter, the Sagehens would outscore Pomona-Pitzer 38-3 the rest of the way. Russo finished the game 12/17 for 113 yards, three touchdowns, and an interception. Including four sacks, he carried the ball 27 times for 175 yards and two TDs. Russo is only a Freshman and has shown that his athleticism makes him a threat at this level.
Russo’s top running mates have been the Wimmer twins, both as receiving threats and subbing in at quarterback when needed. This game even saw the Sagehens utilize a true running back in Kenrick Jamieson who totaled seven carries for 44 yards.
Week 10 Schedule (Pacific Time)
Redlands Bulldogs (5-3, 4-2) at Pomona-Pitzer Sagehens (5-3, 4-2) | 7PM
This season has worked out as well as the schedule makers could have asked for about meaningful games at the end of the season. After a single game last week to effectively decide the Surf Division, this game will decide the Sun Division.
The earlier matchup this season saw the Sagehens prevail 10-9 in Redlands in a defensive battle. Nevertheless, Russo had not established himself yet, and Redlands still had Tremain at quarterback. The game will still come down to strength versus strength as the Bulldogs will look to contain and corral Russo and force him to stay in the pocket. The Redlands offense will need to find ground success through Tony Williams Jr.
CMS Stags (6-2, 4-2) at Cal Lutheran Kingsmen (3-5, 2-4) | 7PM
The Stags know that to have a chance to get into the conference championship game, they must beat the Kingsmen and hope for a major upset by La Verne over Chapman. CMS is a strong, physical team that wants to base their offense around running the ball, creating an intriguing matchup with the Kingsmen.
The strength of the Cal Lutheran defense is their defensive line, which specializes in rushing the passer, although the interior run game gives the Kingsmen fits. The offensive line is their weakness in front of Andrade, which limits their ability to run the ball and to several sacks.
In their first meeting this season, the Stags beat the Kingsmen 49-28 in Claremont. CMS plays better at home, making this a thrilling game than the last. The Stags are already slotted to play La Verne in their final game in a matchup of 3rd-place teams. A win this week does not change anything for them.
La Verne Leopards (1-7, 0-6) at Chapman Panthers (4-3, 4-2) | 7 PM
The definition of a trap game. Chapman needs to keep their focus on this game. A win puts them in a position to play for the SCIAC Championship while a loss and a CMS victory keep them out.
After a surprising 0-3 start, which included having their first game called due to weather, the Panthers have won their last four games without allowing more than 10 points in a game. They had to rely on their third-string quarterback, Luke Peterman. Still, he has risen to the occasion without throwing any interceptions and is undefeated as a starter.
La Verne showed a fire in the first half against Redlands, and they will be even more driven to get their first conference win to wreck Chapman's playoff dreams.
Week 10 SCIAC Power Ranking
- Chapman Panthers
- Pomona-Pitzer Sagehens
- CMS Stags
- Redlands Bulldogs
- Cal Lutheran Kingsmen
- La Verne Leopards