November 1, 2013

Sagehens Host Occidental Saturday In Battle For Drum

Claremont, Calif. - The Pomona-Pitzer Football team hosts Occidental on Saturday at 1 p.m. in one of the oldest rivalries in all of college football, known as the Battle for the Drum.

It will be final home contest for the Sagehens in 2013 and the game will be preceded by a Senior Day ceremony for the program's 10 seniors, including four-year starting offensive lineman Garret Bell (pictured). Also honored will be fullback Dalton Bolger, offensive lineman Will Evenson, wide receiver Duncan Hussey, defensive end Brett Lingle, wide receiver Ryan Randle, middle linebackers Kyle Roskamp and Nick Sbardellati, cornerback Weston Staubus and kicker Michael Weil.

The Battle for the Drum dates back to 1895, and this year's meeting will be the 115th between the schools. A year ago, the teams met at Occidental, and the Tigers were able to come back late with their two-minute offense to defeat the Sagehens 31-27.

The Tigers have won the last nine meetings since Pomona-Pitzer won 28-14 in 2003 and now lead the all-time series 63-48-3. The Sagehens have led in the last two minutes in each of the last two years, before Occidental came back with a last-minute touchdown to get the victory.

Two years ago at Merritt Field, Randle made a diving catch in the end zone to put Pomona-Pitzer ahead 35-34, before the Tigers used a big play down the sideline to set up the winning touchdown. Last year, Hussey had 218 yards receiving (205 in the second half) and his third touchdown reception gave the Sagehens a 27-24 lead late in the fourth quarter, but Kwame Do scored on a one-yard run with just under a minute to play for the game's final score.

Hussey was named to the D3football.com National Team of the Week for his two-way performance against Occidental last year. In addition to the 13 catches for 218 yards and three touchdowns, he also had five tackles, a sack and a pass deflection on defense. It was only his second game ever playing wide receiver, and he managed to tie the school record for touchdown receptions (a record he since broke with four in the season opener against MIT this year). 

Current sophomore Brett Harper added 136 yards rushing for the Sagehens a year ago, while Occidental's Tommy Edwards threw for 372 yards, with Samuel Stekol catching 12 passes for 176 yards.

Both teams enter this year's Battle for the Drum on a high note, as the Sagehens (2-4, 2-2 SCIAC) have won two in a row, defeating Whittier 17-10 in overtime on Oct. 19 and then defeating La Verne 31-23 at home last weekend. Occidental (3-3, 2-2), meanwhile, is coming off a 44-34 win over defending SCIAC champion Cal Lutheran, with Do rushing for 258 yards and four touchdowns to win the SCIAC Male Athlete of the Week honor. Occidental and Pomona-Pitzer are among four teams currently tied for third place in the SCIAC standings

After facing Occidental, the Sagehens will close out the season with two road games, traveling to league-leading Redlands on Nov. 9 and then crossing the street for the annual Peace Pipe Game with Claremont-Mudd-Scripps on Nov. 16.