Photo by: Tony Leon/ActionWestPhotography.com
CLAREMONT, Calif. – The Whittier College Football team attempted to knockoff the undefeated Stags of Claremont-M-S Saturday afternoon giving them all they could handle at Zinda Field in a 34-21 loss.
Whittier now drops to 1-6, 1-4 SCIAC, while Claremont-M-S remains undefeated in conference play at 6-2, 5-0 SCIAC. The 21 points put up by Whittier is the third most allowed by the Stags all season as the Poets threatened CMS on the road.
It was tough for the Purple & Gold to stop the CMS rushing attack giving way to Garrett Cheadle and his 274 yards on the ground, which set their program record. The difference in the game was the second quarter where the Stags outscored the Poets 20-7, which proved crucial.
Cheadle started off the scoring with a 52-yard scamper on CMS' opening possession. But on Whittier's second series they would go 98-yards on 10-plays led by freshman quarterback Daniel Garlick (Lodi, Calif.) who found Brian Phelan (Chino Hills, Calif.) for a 24-yard hook-up and then again for 17, which he would carry into the endzone that would tie the game up. During the series, freshman running back Alex Retana (Whittier, Calif.) came up huge with a 50-yard run that set the Poets up deep in CMS territory.
On the second play in the second quarter, the Stags went back on top when Jake Norville found tight end Zach Heffernan from 14-yards out. Cheadle then stretched the lead to 14 with 11:10 remaining in the half breaking free for a 30-yard run moving the score to 21-7.
The Poets didn't go away quietly however fighting back to pull within a score on their next possession. This time it was Garlick scoring on a quarterback keeper from a yard out coming on 4th and Goal. During the series, the big play was Garlick finding Moises Gonzalez (Long Beach, Calif.) for a 44-yard reception.
After a touchback on a booming kick from Cooper Allen (Visalia, Calif.), CMS was setup on their own 25 but swung the field with Cheadle going 75-yards on the first play from scrimmage giving the Stags a 27-14 lead at the break.
With 4:03 left to play in the third, Jordan Leonard stretched the lead for the Stags with a three-yard touchdown run making the score 34-14. The Poets continued to battle though in the 4th, getting another score from a Garlick to Phelan hook-up this time from 10-yards out making it a two-score game. After a three and out forced by the Poets defensive unit, Whittier got the ball back with 10:18 to play and drove deep into CMS territory on 11-plays covering 3:53, which included a Matthew Valencia (Commerce, Calif.) rush for 25-yards. But facing a 4th and 15, the Poets saw their drive stall as Garlick would get sacked for a seven-yard loss turning the ball over on downs.
Then from there, the Stags would run the clock out holding on for the victory.
Whittier had a strong offensive effort with 363 total yards (247 Passsing/116 Rushing), were 7-for-15 on third downs and 2-for-3 on fourth downs.
Garlick in his first start finished 23-of-40 for 247 yards and two touchdowns. Retana led the backfield carrying 20 times for 107 yards averaging 5.3 yards per carry. Gonzalez led the receiving core catching eight for 110 yards with a long being of 44 averaging 13.8 yards per catch. Phelan also had a big game, hauling in ten catches for 108 yards and two scores, averaging 10.8 yards per catch.
Allen totaled five punts on the day for 176 yards averaging 35.2 yards per punt with a long being of 45. Zurie Clark (Upland, Calif.) had four kick-off returns on the day totaling 101 yards averaging 25.3 yards per return with a long being for 28.
On defense, Andrew Rosales (Pico Rivera, Calif.) finished with 10 tackles (5 Solo/5 Assisted) along with an interception. Sean Hamilton (Henderson, NV), Nicholas Markarian (Chino Hills, Calif.), and Alfonzo Ibanez (Whittier, Calif.) each added eight tackles with Markarian having a pass break-up.
Whittier returns home for their final two games in the month of November. They start with the University of Redlands this Saturday, November 3 beginning at 5:00pm and then wrap up their season Saturday, November 10 against Cal Lutheran University.