October 20, 2011

Nationally Ranked Cal Lutheran Visits Sagehens Saturday

Game Notes In PDF Format

Claremont, Calif. - The nationally ranked Cal Lutheran Football team visits Merritt Field to take on Pomona-Pitzer this Saturday night at 7 p.m.

Cal Lutheran comes into the game with a 4-1 record and is ranked No. 18 in the latest AFCA Coaches poll (No. 12 in the D3 Football.com poll), with the only loss coming on the road to No. 5 Linfield. The Kingsmen have had a perfect 6-0 record in each of the last two seasons in the SCIAC, and are 3-0 so far this year to extend their conference winning streak to 17 games, after a narrow 28-24 comeback win over Redlands and two lopsided wins over Whittier (56-0) and La Verne (52-17).

Pomona-Pitzer, meanwhile, is 0-5 on the year and 0-2 in the SCIAC, but has played well at home, where all three games have come down to the final minutes. The Sagehens fell 48-39 to Lewis & Clark, 45-35 to Chapman and 42-35 to Occidental so far at Merritt Field.
 
The Sagehens are led by the top rusher in all of college football (all divisions) in junior Luke Sweeney (Broken Arrow, Okla.), who averages over 200 yards per game on the ground (203.2 ypg). Sweeney has a lead of 35 yards per game at the Division III level (over Johrone Bunch of Mount Ida) and a 15 yards per game lead at any level (over Jonas Randolph of Division II Mars Hill).  Cal Lutheran comes in with the second-best defense statistically in the SCIAC (and third against the run).

Sweeney rushed for a Pomona-Pitzer record 265 yards last weekend against Occidental, surpassing his previous high of 220 yards set a year ago at Occidental. He achieved that total despite missing two of his key blockers in tight end Peter Ferrin (Salt Lake City, Utah) and fullback Zack Tannous (Millbrae, Calif.) who missed the game due to injuries. The 265 yards broke the old program record of 262, set by Jeremy Lim against Oberlin in 1999. Sweeney now has two of the top five single-game rushing totals in the history of the program, both of which have come against Occidental.

The Pomona-Pitzer offensive line continued its strong season, as 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.) helped pave the way for Sweeney's career high. That unit has also allowed only seven quarterback sacks in the first five games (on 185 total passing plays).

Sophomore wide receiver Ryan Randle (Compton, Calif.) also had another big performance with 10 catches for 101 yards and three touchdowns, the last of which was a diving grab in the end zone to give the Sagehens a 35-34 lead with 2:48 to play. Randle now ranks tied for 12th in NCAA Division III in receptions per game with 8.0, including 30 catches in the last three weeks. Quarterback Luke Ferguson (Silverton, Ore.) is also 27th in the country in pass completions per game (20.0).

After facing Cal Lutheran, the Sagehens will head to the road for a 7 p.m. game at Whittier on Oct. 29, and then host its home finale against La Verne on Nov. 5 at 7 p.m.