Claremont-Mudd-Scripps (CMS) took an early 6-0 lead, but a 17-point second quarter helped Whitworth pull away to a 48-6 victory over the Stags in Saturday afternoon's NCAA Division III Football Championship first round tilt at the Pine Bowl on the campus of Whitworth in Spokane, Wash.
With the loss, CMS concludes its season 7-4 overall, while Whitworth improves to 10-0 on the season and advances to the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
After holding the Pirates to a three-and-out on their first possession, CMS marched 54 yards on five plays on its opening drive of the game which resulted in a 13-yard touchdown run by Zach Fogel to give the Stags an early 6-0 lead.
Whitworth answered as Cody McDonald converted a 34-yard field goal attempt with 5:47 to play in the first quarter, and then struck from 47-yards out early in the second stanza to knot the game at 6-6. The Pirates took the lead on a 5-yard touchdown pass from Leif Eriksen to Nick McGill, and Eriksen later found Mason Elms for a 58-yard score with 12 seconds left to make it 20-6 at intermission.
Whitworth added to its advantage with 14 more points in the third quarter as Ericksen connected with Garrett McKay for a 22-yard touchdown, while Tariq Ellis legged out a 15-yard score to make it 34-6 after three quarters of play. The Pirates scored twice more in the fourth on a Caleb Jones 36-yard touchdown pass from Connor Johnson, and a 27-yard run by Brayden Corona to set the final score at 48-6.
Fogel finished 10-for-28 with 189 yards passing and an interception. He also added 11 yards and a score on the ground. Matthew Sill was his favorite target as he made five receptions for 98 yards including a long reception of 28 yards. Christian Curcio finished with 30 yards rushing for CMS, while Ethan Takeyama totaled 55 yards on four catches with a long of 28 yards.
Defensively, the Stags were led by Benjamin Cooney who collected 10 total tackles and breakup, while Sevion DaCosta notched three tackles for a loss of 15 yards. Camrion Davis and Alex Plunk each forced a Whitworth fumble.