CLAREMONT, Calif. – Whittier scored on all but one of its second half possession as it erased a four-point halftime deficit to down Pomona-Pitzer Colleges, 37-17, on Saturday night at Merritt Field.
The Poets (2-5, 1-3 SCIAC) are getting closer to a full bill of health and it showed with its five touchdowns coming from four separate players.
Kimble Tillman scored on a 34-yard run and a 60-yard pass, Rodrigo Muratalla hammered a touchdown in from five yards out, Alesana Sausau found the endzone from 15 yards out and Cardell Turner hauled in a 16-yard scoring toss for the purple and gold.
As an offense the Poets ran for 228 yards led by Tillman who finished with 98 yards on 18 carries. Muratalla ran for 66 yards on nine carries and Sausau chipped in with 41 yards to pace the ground attack.
Through the air, Sausau was 14-of-23 for 259 yards, a pair of scores and one interception.
Tillman scored first on the Poets' opening possession as he capped a 4-play, 70-yard, drive that used just 2:04 of the clock. Eric Cejudo added to the Whittier lead with a 47-yard field goal on their next possession but the Sagehens scored the final 14 points of the half to take a 14-10 lead into the break.
Pomona-Pitzer got a 40-yard and 4-yard scoring run from Luke Sweeney.
The Poets wasted little time regaining control. Muratalla ended a 9-play, 50 yard, drive with the go-ahead Whittier score. The purple and gold would never trail again.
Sausau scampered in on Whittier's next possession and after the Poets were forced to punt, Tillman and Turner found pay dirt through the air.
Tillman had a team-high six receptions for 101 yards.
The defense was led by John O'Malley who had 11 tackles (10 solo). Travis Driskell had eight stops while Jared Cato finished with four tackles and an interception.
As a team, the defense collected three tackles for loss with Richard Hopkins and Ryan Kirkpatrick getting credit for solo TFLs.
The win by the Poets snaps their four-game skid and is the first conference win of the season.
Whittier will look to keep momentum going next week as it hosts Redlands at 7 pm.