Photo: Connor Bloom '19

For the first time since 2003, the CMS football team is in the running for first place in the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.

The Stags football team is currently ranked second, after La Verne, having won four games and lost two. The losses against La Verne, on October 10, and Puget Sound, on September 5, were close games with final scores differentiating by five and three points, respectively.

Though disappointed with the losses, the team’s performance against Chapman, Redlands and Occidental boosted spirits and confidence.

At Chapman’s homecoming game on October 3, CMS beat Chapman, last year’s defending conference champions, with a touchdown in double overtime by Andrew Segre ‘18. “There were so many people there. The stands were packed, and it was awesome that we got to go in there and win,” said quarterback Trey Reynolds ’17.

In their game against Redlands on October 17, running back Shane Pico ’18 scored a winning touchdown within the last 34 seconds of the fourth quarter. Pico said, “Once we got toward the end of the game, and it was so close, we were like ‘we might actually win.’ So that confidence caused a chain reaction – we fought hard and came back.” The game marked their first victory against Redlands in 12 years.

In their most recent game against Occidental, the Stags earned 22 points just in the fourth quarter. “In all the games that I’ve coached and played and watched, I’ve never seen anything like that. To do something like that, for our guys to do that, is something I’ll never forget,” said Head Coach and Offensive Coordinator Kyle Sweeney.

The Stags football team attributed this year’s successes to several different factors. For one, the majority of the coaching staff returned, unlike previous years. Now in their fifth year together, the staff is finally settling in and implementing their visions for the team.

The team dynamic has also been a major factor in their performance. Reynolds commented, “I think this year we’re a lot more confident about going into games knowing we have a chance to win. And the players that we have now are extremely talented and devoted to winning.”

Sweeney added, “The one thing I would say about our team this year is it’s been a very well–balanced group; one week, it’s Shane Pico, the next week, it’s Trey Smith. It’s somebody different all the time, and I think that speaks to our players’ unselfishness.”

The new players on the team have also shown great potential and have proven to be talented athletes, according to Pico.

The team hopes to continue their winning streak against Cal Lutheran, Whittier and Pomona-Pitzer in the next two weeks. Their goal for the season is to be the 2015-2016 SCIAC football champions — a goal that hasn’t been achieved since 1986-1987.

“Especially with Claremont being so focused on academics, it would be awesome to be the best of both worlds,” said Reynolds.

Sweeney is convinced that “as long as they keep that belief in each other, and they play for each other, we’ll continue to win.”

Come out to support the Stags in their final stretch of games (schedule in link), including the “Claremont Super Bowl” against Pomona-Pitzer at Homecoming on November 14.