Claremont, Calif. - Sophomore quarterback Alex Bresler threw three touchdown passes to three different receivers to have Pomona-Pitzer within 28-21 in the fourth quarter, but Rhodes was able to pull away and take a 42-21 win over the Sagehens, spoiling their 2014 home opener at Merritt Field.
Rhodes improves to 3-0 on the young season with the win, after also defeating Austin College and Washington University. Pomona-Pitzer slips to 0-2 with the loss after falling on opening day at MIT.
Third-string tailback Kevin Viera gave a huge lift to the Lynx with 169 yards on 20 carries after making his first appearance late in the first half. His 38-yard touchdown run up the middle early in the fourth quarter gave Rhodes a 28-14 lead.
However, Bresler engineered a nine-play, 80-yard drive to come right back, culminating in a 13-yard pass to freshman Kevin Masini to make the score 28-21 with 9:57 left. Rhodes had a third down from the Pomona-Pitzer 48-yard line with the Sagehens looking for a key stop, but quarterback Blake Box threw a quick slant to Jonathan Weimer, who fought off a Sagehen defender while juggling the pass, pulled it in, and went the distance for a back-breaking touchdown.
Rhodes led 14-7 at the half and appeared ready to take command of the game, using a 12-play, 60-yard drive to open the third quarter and stretch the lead to 21-7, and then forcing the Sagehens to three-and-out after two straight sacks from Spencer Smith. However, the momentum swung quickly as sophomore cornerback Eric Montgomery intercepted a Box pass in the red zone and returned it 45 yards, with an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on Rhodes tackling on 15 more yards to give Pomona-Pitzer the ball on the Rhodes 26-yard line.
Two plays later, Bresler threw a deep pass down the left sideline that was hauled in by junior Jack Pietrykowski for a 27-yard touchdown, who made the catch while being interfered with by a Lynx cornerback. Pomona-Pitzer got the ball back and had a chance for a tying drive, but a fake punt that resulted in a first down was waved off due to offensive pass interference, and Rhodes scored on their next drive on the Viera run to go ahead 28-14.
Bresler finished completing 17-of-24 passes for 165 yards and three touchdowns, while also running for 59 yards. Piertykowski had seven catches for 84 yards, while Masini added five catches for 50 yards and freshman Aseal Birir also caught a touchdown pass and ran for a team-high 62 yards. The defense was led by senior safety Don Swan with 12 tackles, while junior safety Nelson Cole and sophomore linebacker Nick Urban each added 11.
Pomona-Pitzer is back in action in two weeks when it hosts Redlands in its 2014 SCIAC opener on Oct. 4 at 7 p.m.