CMS Football Faces Pomona-Pitzer Saturday with Two Trophies on the Line
CLAREMONT, Calif. - The neighboring Claremont-Mudd-Scripps and Pomona-Pitzer football teams meet every mid-November in the season finale with the Sixth Street Trophy at stake.
For the first time this year, there's a second trophy at stake as well.
The Stags will make the 1500-foot walk down Sixth Street to take on the Sagehens in a battle between the top two teams in the SCIAC. CMS comes in with a perfect 5-0 record in league play, while Pomona-Pitzer stands at 4-1, with only an overtime loss at Redlands.
CMS has already clinched at least a share of the SCIAC title, but not sharing it is clearly the team's primary goal at this point. A loss would not only give Pomona-Pitzer the Sixth Street Trophy, and half of the championship, but the Sagehens would also earn the SCIAC's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament, due to the head-to-head win, and put a premature end to the CMS season.
CMS has made the NCAAs once before, winning the SCIAC title in 2018 and falling 48-6 to Whitworth. The game was close for most of the first half, but then the Pirates pulled away after breaking a long touchdown in the closing moments of the second quarter to go ahead 21-6 at intermission and carrying that momentum after halftime. Pomona-Pitzer will be trying to make its first appearance in program history, as well as earning its first SCIAC title since Pomona College and Claremont McKenna College split into different athletic departments in 1958.
Several current Stags were on the 2018 NCAA team, who have come back to take advantage of their fifth season of eligibility, including defensive captains Stiles Satterlee and Ben Cooney, and quarterback Zach Fogel, who was the starter in the NCAA game against Whitworth and ran for an early touchdown to put CMS ahead. Kicker Alessandro Maiuolo, who has been a four-time SCIAC Specialist of the Week this year, and has two 50-yard field goals to his credit, was also already the Stags kicker in 2018 as a first-year.
This year's team is currently on a six-game winning streak, sitting at 7-1, with only a 12-7 loss on the road to Whitworth on Sept. 17 stopping them from a perfect season. The program would love to see how it fares in the NCAAs this year, given that it is currently playing at an extraordinarily high level. Chapman, Cal Lutheran and Redlands were considered the "big three" in the SCIAC not so long ago, and CMS defeated the three of them in conference play by a combined score of 111-9.
Those nine points include three field goals at Zinda Field, two by Chapman and one by Cal Lutheran. The Stags also shut out Whittier in a non-conference game at Zinda 42-0, and did not allow a home touchdown all season, outscoring their four opponents 153-9. Over the course of the whole season, CMS is allowing less than 200 yards (196.4) and less than seven points per game (6.9). Joey Asta has recorded 9.5 sacks, while the Stags have had lots of tackle balance between Christopher Wicke (40), Asta (39), Satterlee (39), Cooney (38) and Michael Colangelo (31), having outstanding seasons playing for a defense where it is hard to put up big numbers, given how few plays they are typically on the field.
Another big factor in the CMS success is turnover margin. The Stags have forced 20 turnovers, picking off 11 passes, led by three from Kirby Baynes, and recovering nine opposing fumbles, both of which lead the SCIAC. Meanwhile, they have turned the ball over only once all year (an interception against Redlands in the non-conference meeting on Sept. 24). Walter Kuhlenkamp, Fogel, and Hank Harvego have combined for 12 touchdown passes and only one pick.
As for this year's offensive attack, sophomore Justin Edwards will look to reach 1000 yards for the second straight season (he comes in with 984 and needs just 16), as well as adding to his career total of 30 touchdowns (29 rushing, one receiving), which already ranks among the top figures in program history in less than two full seasons (fourth in rushing touchdowns, fifth in all-purpose touchdowns). Since becoming the full time starter, he has scored a touchdown in 13 of 15 games, including nine with multiple touchdowns (the last four CMS games included, as well as four-touchdown game against No. 17 Chapman last year).
Pomona-Pitzer kept him out of the end zone twice a season ago, although he only carried the ball four times for eight yards in the season opener before moving into the regular starting lineup in week four. In the finale, Fogel had the only touchdown for CMS on a quarterback keeper as Pomona-Pitzer earned back the Sixth Street Trophy with a 24-10 win after the Stags had won the last two meetings.
If CMS can get back on the winning side this time, the Stags will make the 1500-foot walk home with two trophies, and not have to share either one.
For more insight on the rivarly between CMS and Pomona-Pitzer, read the following article from James Andersen (parent of CMS linebacker Austin Andersen '25)
The Greatest Football Rivalry You've Never Heard About