Tigers remain in SCIAC hunt after big win

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For the 11th straight season, Occidental football (5–2 overall, 4–1 SCIAC) kept the coveted drum from Pomona-Pitzer at Saturday night’s rivalry game win. The Tigers clinched a 41-17 victory in their last home game of the season and went out with guns blazing, shutting out the Sagehens the entire second half.

Although it was not the last game of the season, it was the last game for the team’s seniors at Jack Kemp Stadium. The evening’s festivities began with the acknowledgement of each of the seniors as they were escorted by their family and loved ones.

“It was great and awesome to play with the seniors one last time here at Oxy,” defensive lineman Dallas Gosselin (senior) said. “It’s unbelievable how fast it’s gone by, but I’m glad we got to end it with a bang.”

The game began with a balanced playing field as the Sagehens and Tigers played a call-and-response type game. Pomona struck first with a touchdown five minutes after kickoff, but Occidental answered back with a touchdown on quarterback Bryan Scott’s (sophomore) pass to wide receiver Devon Bullock (junior). The Sagehens continued with another touchdown and field goal, but that ended their scoring for the night. The Tigers were off to a slow start offensively in the first quarter, but picked up the pace in the second half.

 

One of the star players of the game, defensive back Shay Mueller (junior), recorded two interceptions and a touchdown due to a fumble recovery.

“We started off slow on both offense and defense, but I’m glad we got the win,” Mueller said. “I was just at the right place at the right time. It was a perfect bounce right up to me and a great play by Zach [Hunter] who knocked the ball out.”

With Mueller’s touchdown right before the end of the first half, the Tigers took the lead back, 20-17. Occidental continued to score in the second half as Scott connected with Bullock for two more touchdowns, and with wide receiver Kaleb Mitchell (junior) for another. Running back Kwame Do (junior) also found the end zone for his sixth touchdown of the season.

This was Occidental’s 11th consecutive win against Pomona, so offensive lineman David Hernandez (senior) was familiar with the feeling of winning the drum.

“Every time we’ve played Pomona since I was a freshman it has always been close.” Hernandez said. “The first half seemed like it was going to be like the previous years, but we stepped it up in the third quarter and finally took control of the game.”

While there was reason to celebrate the big win, there was also a somber atmosphere at the end of the game. The crowd sat in hushed silence after defensive back Teran Mawhinney (senior), a team captain, suffered a season-ending knee injury. With an average of seven tackles per game, Mawhinney is a key defensive player. Losing him in the fourth quarter was felt by both the team and the crowd for the remainder of the game.

Although the night was bittersweet for the seniors, the season is not over yet. Two more games remain with the SCIAC championship still in reach. The Tigers will take on Cal Lutheran on the road next Saturday at 7 p.m.