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Ben Cooney had 9 tackles and a pick to lead the CMS defense (photo by Joyce Andersen)
Ben Cooney had 9 tackles and a pick to lead the CMS defense (photo by Joyce Andersen)

Late Touchdown Gives Whitworth 12-7 Win over CMS

SPOKANE, Wash. – The Claremont-Mudd-Scripps football team led for almost the entire game, but dropped a 12-7 road decision to Whitworth in a non-conference regional matchup on Saturday afternoon at Puryear Field.  

The loss drops CMS to 1-1 on the young season, after a 42-0 win over Whittier last weekend. Whitworth improves to 2-1 with the win in a rematch of a 2018 NCAA Tournament game (the first in CMS history), which the Pirates won 48-6 (Whitworth also won 31-15 last year at CMS).

CMS led 7-5 at the half, after Whitworth cut it to two with a 43-yard field goal on the final play of the second quarter, and that score held up until the closing moments when Ryan Blair threw a five-yard touchdown pass to Logan Kitselman with 1:25 left. One play before that, Stiles Satterlee forced a fumble that rolled tantalizingly loose along the five-yard line, but the Pirates were able to come up with the big recovery and score one play later.

After the kickoff, CMS needed to go 75 yards in 75 seconds, but couldn't get the drive going. A long pass on fourth down from Zach Fogel nearly resulted in a big completion, but it just eluded the outstretched diving hands of Mason Cotton over midfield.

Both teams began the game with long drives, but the Stags were able to convert on theirs to take a 7-0 lead in the first minute of the second quarter. Whitworth had a 10-minute drive on its first possession, getting as far as the CMS 21-yard line, but a pass interference penalty and a sack by Thomas MacEachron killed the drive and forced the Pirates into a short punt.

CMS then went 77 yards for a touchdown, with Justin Edwards showing his versatility before ending the drive with a two-yard run. He began the possession with a 16-yard run, and then followed with a 29-yard reception down to the Whitworth 37-yard line. After Anderson Cynkar carried for two yards on 3rd-and-1 to get the ball to the Pirates' nine-yard line, Edwards carried three straight times for the final nine yards to give CMS the 7-0 lead.

The CMS defense kept the momentum going with David Vardanian getting one tackle for a loss of four yards, and Michael Colangelo following with a tackle for a loss of two. Whitworth completed an 11-yard pass on 3rd-and-16, but had to punt it away after a three-and-out.

Ben Cooney intercepted a pass to kill another Whitworth drive in CMS territory, but an illegal block penalty pinned the Stags deep and the Pirates were able to get on the board with a safety after Derrick Platt sacked Fogel in the end zone. Cooney, though, had another big play with a tackle for a loss on 3rd-and-2 at the Whitworth 45-yard line, forcing the Pirates into another punt. The Pirates were able to get one more possession, though, and end the half with a field goal to close it to 7-5 at the break.

The third quarter saw Whitworth have the ball for only three plays, as the Stags had the ball for 13:33 of the 15 minutes. On that brief Pirate drive, Jacob O'Connell and Christopher Wicke stopped a run for no gain, and Kirby Baines had a quarterback hurry on 3rd-and-5 to end their one drive of the period.

CMS then took the ball and Edwards had a fourth-down conversion with a two-yard run on 4th-and-1, but couldn't convert a second time on 4th-and-4 at the Whitworth 11. The Stags managed to kill 9:41 of game clock with the drive, but the score remained 7-5.  

Edwards finished with 94 yards on 22 carries for the CMS offense, while Fogel was 7-of-12 passing. Cooney finished the game with nine tackles (seven solo) and an interception, while Colangelo, Wicke and Costa each had six tackles, and Satterlee and Joey Asta had five.

CMS will be back in action next weekend when it travels to Redlands for a 7 p.m. non-SCIAC contest. The two teams will meet later this season in a SCIAC matchup at Zinda Field.