ORANGE, Calif. – It all came down to the final seconds again. Last year, the Chapman University football team scored a game-winning touchdown with no time on the clock to win at Pomona-Pitzer. This year, Pomona-Pitzer scored the game-winning TD with just 3.5 seconds left as Chapman fell 24-21.
The game-winner came on a 30-yard heave from Edward Sias to Karter Odermann. Sias rolled to his right to escape Chapman's pressure and launched the pass to the back of the end zone. Odermann leaped and came down with the ball with his toes touching the last piece of green turf to give the Sagehens (4-3, 3-2 SCIAC) the lead and eventually the win.
Pomona-Pitzer completed an eight-play, 80-yard drive that spanned just 47 seconds and ended a back-and-forth fourth quarter battle. It was the third lead change of the fourth that started with the teams tied 14-14.
After the teams traded punts on the first two drives of the fourth, the Sagehens broke the tie with a 13-play drive that chewed over six minutes off the clock. A 27-yard field goal capped the lengthy drive that gave Pomona-Pitzer a 17-14 lead with 2:19 left on the clock.
The Panthers offense, which had been shutout in the second half to that point, came to life. The Sagehens had limited the Panthers' big plays but senior Dominic Vaccher finally broke loose. He was running all alone down the left sideline and was spotted by senior QB Ian Fieber. Fieber launched the long pass for a 48-yard gain into the red zone.
On second down, Fieber found Vaccher again for a 14-yard gain to set up first-and-goal at the four yard line. Two plays later, junior Jake Newman broke through the line and dove for the end zone for a 21-17 lead with 50 seconds left.
Newman ran the ball 19 times for 94 yards and the go-ahead TD. Sophomore Nicholas Callen ran it 10 times for 41 yards and a second quarter touchdown. Vaccher hauled in nine passes for 118 yards and a touchdown while Fieber threw for 263 yards.
Chapman built a 14-7 halftime lead after the Sagehens were the first to get on the scoreboard. Callen finished off a nine-play, 60-yard drive with a three-yard TD run to tie the game at 7-7. Vaccher reeled in a 23-yard touchdown catch to cap an eight play, 66-yard drive that put the Panthers up 14-7 with just over two minutes left in the first half.
The Sagehens took advantage of a short field in the third quarter to tie up the game at 14-14. After a botched snap on fourth down, the Sagehens took over on the Panthers' 22. Five plays later, Odermann hit David Berkinsky for a two-yard score.
Odermann threw for 96 yards, ran for 38 yards and had 101 receiving yards to lead the Sagehens. Sophomore Franky Narez had a career-best six tackles, including two for loss, and grabbed his first career interception off of Odermann.
Senior Andrew Dieken had a pair of tackles for loss, including a big hit on Joseph Ha behind the line that ended the Sagehens first drive in the fourth quarter.
The Panthers head to SCIAC-leading Claremont-Mudd-Scripps next week for a 1 p.m. kickoff.
By Steven Olveda
Sports Information Director