Pioneers lose season opener to Pomona-Pitzer

Photo by Kirk Reynolds
Photo by Kirk Reynolds

CLAREMONT, Calif. -- The Lewis & Clark Pioneers nabbed two interceptions and forced two fumbles in Saturday's season opener against the Pomona-Pitzer Sagehens at Merritt Field. The offense struggled, though, as the Pioneers lost 20-0. The Sagehens scored 17 of their 20 points in the first half.

Both Roger Hernandez and Deriontae Green had their first career interceptions for the Pioneers. Hernandez picked off Sagehens quarterback Karter Odermann on Pomona-Pitzer's first drive of the third quarter. Later in the same period, Deriontae Green intercepted Odermann at midfield and ended a stretch of four straight completions.

The Sagehens (2-0) scored a touchdown on their second drive of the game, a 4-play, 65-yard effort. Pass interference on third down by Lewis & Clark extended the drive and enabled Odermann to complete a 43-yard touchdown to Win Hunter. Pomona-Pitzer scored again on its next drive and climbed to a 14-0 lead with 4:30 left in the quarter.

The Lewis & Clark (0-1) defense found their stride after halftime and limited the Sagehens to a third-quarter field goal the entire second half. 

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Key Moments

Randy Manewa had the first of the Pios' three sacks when he brought down Odermann on their first possession. Sophomore transfer Denzel Baker got to Odermann on the next play and earned the first sack of his Pioneers career.

Marvin Pusung-Zita and Cameron Chang were defensive standouts. Pusung-Zita had seven tackles, while Chang had five. Chang also got the Pios' third sack of the game.

"Flashes of some very good plays," head coach Jay Locey said. "Defense and special teams were solid. Shot ourselves in the foot a lot on the offensive side which hampered our chances."

Senior quarterback Caden Voges went 15 of 30 for 98 yards and threw an interception as the Pioneers struggled to maintain possession. The Sagehens had the ball for nearly 36 minutes, and Lewis & Clark was held to 2 of 14 on third down.

The Pioneers' most successful drive of the game came at the end of the third quarter. Lewis & Clark went 12 plays, 46 yards and reached Pomona-Pitzer's 12-yard line, but the drive was cut short after an incomplete pass on fourth down. 

Deeper Look

  • Zondre Faraj-Washington and Xavier Tharpe combined for 60 of the Pioneers 70 rushing yards
  • Lewis & Clark averaged 2.7 yards per carry after 3.7 yards per rush last season
  • Cale Crawford, David Ceja and Hernandez each had six tackles
  • Pomona-Pitzer ran 84 plays and averaged five yards per play compared to Lewis & Clark's 56 plays that averaged three yards per play
  • Odermann finished 30 for 49 for 291 yards with a touchdown along with the two interceptions
  • Manewa punted nine times, a career high, and averaged 39.6 yards per punt
  • In his game with the Pios, Jalen Lewis had two receptions in the first half for 30 yards, while Kevin Johnson led the team with five receptions for the game
  • Now in their fifth collegiate season, Dallas Garreaud and Crawford both played in their first game since season-ending injuries ended their senior year in 2018
  • Garreaud had one catch for five yards
  • The Pioneers were called for 10 penalties and lost 107 yards, while Pomona-Pitzer lost 93 yards on 11 penalties

Looking Ahead

The Pioneers take on Whittier in their home opener on Sept. 21. The game will start at 11 a.m. from Griswold Stadium in Portland. Former Lewis & Clark head coach Chuck Solberg will be recognized during the game.