Sagehens looking to improve

Veteran Pomona-Pitzer football coach Roger Caron is always optimistic heading into a new season. This year is no different.

The Sagehens finished last season 1-8, that win being a 37-0 thumping of neighborhood rival Claremont-Mudd-Scripps. Some key players have departed but Caron thinks he has the makings of a competitive team.

“We’re going to be more athletic than we have been in years past on both sides of the ball,” he said. “That can go a long way.”

Among the departed are running back Luke Sweeney (the school’s all-time leading rusher) and quarterback Luke Ferguson. But Sweeney was injured more than he was healthy and there is some promise out of those fighting for the spot vacated by Ferguson.

Junior Peter Ianelli, who got some reps last year, and sophomore Austin Kay  are the leading candidates.

Caron will also look to distribute the ball more on offense rather than rely on a single ball carrier. He also likes what he has at the rest of the skill positions with FB Grant Frazier, RB Brett Harper, TE Mike Etzel and WR Jack Pietrykowski looking like pivotal players. The wide receiving and tight end core is one spot the Sagehens will have some depth.

Junior DB Don Swann and senior LB Kyle Roskamp will head a defense that has more athleticism and experience than it has in years past.

Caron is also looking for a break-out season from Duncan Hussey, the team’s most versatile player who will see time on both sides of the ball.

John Walsh has joined the program, taking over as defensive coordinator for Damon Tomeo, who took a head coaching position at Knox College (Ill.) Walsh has been at schools such as Georgetown, Yale and Tufts so he is familiar with what it takes to excel athletically where academics is a high priority.

The Sagehens open the season at 1 p.m., home on Sept. 7 against MIT and will be at Menlo on Sept. 14 before opening SCIAC play on Oct. 5 against defending champion Cal Lutheran.