Kingsmen Suffer First SCIAC Loss in Shootout with Sagehens; De Leon has Record Breaking Night

De Leon passes for school record 556 yards as Cal Lutheran took on Pomona-Pitzer.
De Leon passes for school record 556 yards as Cal Lutheran took on Pomona-Pitzer.

CLAREMONT, Calif.— Cesar De Leon passed for a school record 556 yards and threw four touchdown passes, but it wasn't enough as Pomona-Pitzer gave Cal Lutheran its first loss in Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) play 43-38 on Saturday night

De Leon is the first Kingsmen quarterback to throw for 500-plus yards in a single game and also tied the program record for completions with 44. He now has 17 touchdowns on the year to just two interceptions, with 1,901 yards.

The 43 points is the most CLU has given up all season. The previous high was 29 points against Wis.-Stout. The loss drops the Kingsmen back to .500 at 3-3 and gives them their first conference loss at 2-1. 

Jajuan Thomas caught two touchdown passes for the second straight game, giving him seven for the year. He hauled in 12 receptions for a total of 175 yards with a long of 39. Thomas has 621 yards this season ad averages 103.5 a game.

Also breaking the 100-plus yard mark was James Holland. He snagged a game-high 13 catches for 159 yards and a score. Cameron Jones made it three Kingsmen wide receivers with 100-plus yards as he added 123 off eight catches and recorded a touchdown. 

The leading rusher for the Violet and Gold was Jackson Taylor. He got nine attempts and averaged 5-yards per carry, for a total of 45 yards and a touchdown. 

Altogether between the teams, the game had 55 first downs, 1,119 yards of total offense, and both recorded 6.5 yards on more per play. 

On the defensive side of the ball, Ethan Pulley led the Kingsmen with 13 total tackles a one forced fumble. Conner McDermott was next with 10 tackles and Brandon Monroe tallied seven.Caleb Casimere came up with two key sacks for a loss of 10 yards. 

The game was high-scoring from the very beginning as the shootout happened almost immediately. Both offenses thrived in the first quarter as the Kingsmen and Sagehens both scored two touchdowns. 

Pomona-Pitzer got on the board first as the Kingsmen were quick to answer three minutes later as Taylor found the endzone from three-yards out. Setting up the scoring play was a 39-yard connection from De Leon to Thomas.

The Sagehens added their second touchdown, with 3:12 left, as they looked to take a 7-point lead to the second quarter. Cal Lutheran had other plans as De Leon connected with Thomas for a 35-yard touchdown with 10 seconds left and the game was all tied up heading to the second. 

After PP took the lead on a field goal, CLU took its first lead of the game as Thomas hauled in his second touchdown reception, a three-yard score, putting the Kingsmen up 21-17. The game continued to go back and forth as the Sagehens scored a touchdown on the ensuing position and took the lead back with 4:26 left in the half. 

Cal Lutheran was right there, again, as De Leon threw his third touchdown pass of the first half, this one a 39-yard touchdown to Holland. The Kingsmen defense handled the Sagehens the rest of the half as CLU took a 28-24 lead at the break. 

The second half looked promising for a the shootout to continue, but only Pomona-Pitzer found the endzone in the third quarter. The Sagehens outscored the Kingsmen 13-0 and took a 37-28 lead to the fourth. 

The Kingsmen broke through in the fourth quarter as they made it a one-score game. Christian Antezana connected on a 32-yard field goal and CLU trailed 37-31 with 2:26 left in the game. 

The Sagehens added a touchdown quickly on their next possession and the Kingsmen added one more score to put it back to the one-score game. De Leon hit Jones from 16-yards out and Cal Lutheran trailed 43-38 with 8.6 seconds left. 

CLU had a chance at the onside kick as the ball was bobbled by the Sagehens, but Pomona-Pitzer came up with the ball and won the game. 

Cal Lutheran will try and get back in the win column next Saturday, Oct. 26. The Kingsmen stay on the road and travel to undefeated Chapman with the kickoff set for 7 p.m.  

Box Score: PP 43, CLU 38
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Release by Ryan Jorgenson, Sports Information Director