The first time the Lewis-Clark Valley football team played Pomona-Pitzer, the Loggers got off to a rough start against their NCAA Division III opponent.
The Sagehens scored 28 points in the first quarter and went on to beat the Loggers 57-12 in 2018 in Claremont, Calif.
“We were a bit overwhelmed and shell-shocked in that game,” Loggers director Bob Thorson said. “It looked a bit like the opening scene in ‘Saving Private Ryan.’”
Thorson doesn’t think that’ll happen again when the teams meet at 11 a.m. today at Joe Albi Stadium in Spokane.
“I expect we’ll be a little bit better prepared this year,” Thorson said.
The Loggers return a number of players whose experience gained during the Loggers’ 1-7 season last year seems to have paid off. Now a sophomore, quarterback Leo Gomez threw for more than 300 yards in his team’s 47-8 loss to Mayville State (N.D.) last weekend in LCV’s season opener. Two of his receivers (Ramal Maad and Tyler Lohman) piled up more than 100 yards apiece. Defensively, Ramon Organiz led the Loggers with 10 tackles.
“There were a lot of promising aspects to that game,” Thorson said. “And that was (against) an NAIA varsity. ... many of them scholarship athletes, so with a young team on the road, taking a 1,200-mile road trip to North Dakota, we were overall pleased with the performance, minus the mistakes.”
The Loggers will need to cut down on those — which included three interceptions returned for touchdowns (one by the team’s punter on LCV’s opening possession) — to compete with the Sagehens. This is Pomona-Pitzer’s opener.
While the game is being played in Spokane, it will nominally be a home game for the Loggers.
“We’re really lucky to get it because we have not been able to get a Division III varsity team to travel to our home field, so this was our first home-and-home arrangement and we were fortunate to get Pomona to do that,” Thorson said.
“The unfortunate part was we were not able to get a local field to play this game. It would have been great to have a D-III game in the Lewis-Clark Valley. I don’t think it’s ever happened before, to my knowledge, but there was simply no place to play the game. So Joe Albi is not a bad alternative.”
Thorson called Pomona-Pitzer the “best team we played last year” and anticipates the Sagehens will compete for the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference title this year. They went 7-3 in 2018.
“They’re great athletes, but their execution is flawless,” Thorson said. “Academically, they’re rated No. 1 in D-III football. Their roster’s full of pre-med and engineering students, so they’re very smart.”