Whittier College took one giant step forward last Saturday when, down 10 points in the third quarter, the Poets came back to tie and then defeat Colorado College, 26-23, in overtime on the road in a football opener. Considering the Poets lost their last seven games of the 2004 season, it was a heck of a way to start 2005. “We were very pleased with our football team for the first game,” head coach Greg Carlson said Tuesday. “We had not scrimmaged, so we were a bit untested. I thought our defense stood up well, as far as the yards given up because Colorado College had an experienced quarterback (Chris Neal). “When you are on the road and are down by more than a TD — we were down by 10 — we managed to fight back. Hopefully, we have a little more mental toughness to our approach to the game; we feel like we are more capable of coming back.” AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREThe top 10 theme park moments of 2019 Carlson noted that even after his team tied the score, 16-16, with 8:14 left in regulation, Colorado came right back and went up 23-16 on an 80-yard pass play just 11 seconds later. “I think it is a huge step for Whittier football in what we are trying to build here, to come back and tie it up and win it in overtime,” Carlson said. Wittier had 428 total yards and held Colorado to just 284. For a team that allowed 284 points and scored only 145 a year ago, that allowed 402.9 total yards per game while gaining an average of just 255.1, this was a favorable beginning. Sophomore quarterback Josh Scurlock was perhaps the brightest spot on offense. He completed 20 of 35 passes for 220 yards, two touchdowns and just one interception. He also carried the ball 17 times for 79 yards and a touchdown. “He is so much better prepared to be a quarterback in a college football game,” Carlson said of Scurlock, who started the second half of last season as a freshman. He took command of the offense and made good decisions.” Interestingly, Carlson said that back-up quarterback Jimmy Monaco will see some playing time in other-than-garbage-time conditions. In Saturday’s nip-and-tuck game, Monaco completed 3 of 5 passes for 30 yards and one interception. – Carlson talked about a big play by Jared Izidoro that came during Colorado’s 16-point second quarter. After Neal hit running back Marquis Malcom for a 15-yard touchdown and a 16-6 lead over the Poets, Izidoro blocked the extra point that would have given the Tigers a 17-6 cushion. This meant quite a bit later when Whittier tied the score at 23 with 2:50 left in regulation on a 27-yard touchdown pass from Scurlock to Alex Jones; Scurlock hit Kevin Cullina on a 5-yard touchdown pass in overtime to win it. “That helped us get into a tie situation,” Carlson said of Izidoro’s block. “It happened earlier in the game and you kind of forget about it. But when you look back…” Whittier (1-0) next will host Menlo College (0-1) at 7 p.m. Saturday. — Robert Morales can be reached at (626) 962-8811, Ext. 2213, or by e-mail at [email protected] 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!