Claremont, Calif. - Freshman running back Aseal Birir (pictured, photo courtesy Tracy Maple) became only the sixth running back in Pomona-Pitzer history to run for over 200 yards in a game (208), but it wasn't enough as Cal Lutheran built a quick 20-0 lead and went on to a 41-17 win on Saturday afternoon at William Rolland Stadium.
Cal Lutheran improves to 2-3 overall and 2-1 in the SCIAC with the win. With the loss, the Sagehens slip to 0-5 overall and 0-3 in the league, after facing the top three teams in the SCIAC in their first three conference weekends.
After the Kingsmen took a 27-3 lead into halftime, Birir broke for big touchdown runs of 26 and 61 yards in the third quarter, with his 61-yarder coming after he appeared to be stopped after about a five-yard gain. However, he kept his legs churning through a scrum of players, and broke into daylight for a long scoring run to cut the lead to 34-17 with 3:12 left in the third quarter.
The Sagehens earned a stop on the next possession to try to come closer, but Cal Lutheran got the ball right back and answered with a 78-yard drive that ate 6:34 off the clock, ending with a two-yard touchdown run from Michael White, to make the score 41-14. Pomona-Pitzer drove deep into the red zone on its next possession, with freshman running back Errol Francis churning out a 35-yard carry to get inside the 20, but Francis was stopped on fourth and short inside the 10 yard line, and Cal Lutheran was able to run out the rest of the clock.
Birir's 208 yards ranks as the eighth-highest single-game total in school history. All-time leading rusher Luke Sweeney carried for 200 yards in a game four times, including a school-record 265 against Occidental in 2011 (and also had games of 247, 246 and 220 yards). The only other backs to reach the 200-yard milestone were Jeremy Lim (262), Jim Regan (244), George Bushala (222) and Chris Smith (207). Birir almost did it in hiis debut against MIT on Sept. 6 as well, but finished with 190 yards in that one.
Sophomore quarterback Alex Bresler added 83 yards on the ground, as the Sagehens amassed 335 yards rushing as a team. Cal Lutheran had a more balanced attack with quarterback Nick Isham completing 18-of-26 passes for 238 yards and three touchdowns, and also ran for 74 of his team's 233 rushing yards.
Freshman Adam Hinthorne led the Pomona-Pitzer defense with eight tackles (seven solo), while freshman Will Latta had six tackles.
Pomona-Pitzer will be back in action on Saturday when it returns home to Merritt Field for a 7 p.m. contest against Whittier.