Second-half surge upends Pioneers

Photo by Luke Peevyhouse
Photo by Luke Peevyhouse

FOREST GROVE, Ore. -- After a field goal brought the Lewis & Clark Pioneers to within five at halftime, the home team Pacific Boxers scored four touchdowns and two field goals in the second half in a 54-22 loss for the Pioneers on Saturday at Hanson Stadium.

Bryce Johnson and Aidan Verba-Hamilton had first-half touchdowns for the Pioneers (2-4, 1-3 NWC), while Hayden Moses made his first career field goal. Moses' 34-yard kick brought the Pios to within 20-15 at halftime.

Pacific (4-3, 3-1 NWC) outgained the Pioneers, 443-324, and limited the Pioneers to 23 rushing yards, their lowest total of the season. A fumble by Lewis & Clark quarterback Caden Voges at the Pios' 41-yard line was forced by Bobby Ulrich, who recovered it at Lewis & Clark's 7-yard line. The 34-yard loss affected the rushing total.

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Key Moments

After giving up a 71-yard touchdown reception to Pacific freshman Hayden Von Almen on the game's first drive, the Pioneers responded two series later with a 3-play, 50-yard drive capped off by Johnson's second receiving touchdown of the year. Johnson, who finished the game by matching his career high with four receptions, brought in Voges' pass and took it 45 yards. Johnson also had a career-high 78 yards receiving.

Noah Riley had the first of two extra-point attempts blocked after Johnson's score and Moses took over point-after duties.

The week after returning his first kickoff for a touchdown, Verba-Hamilton took a punt at the Pacific 44-yard line and returned it for a score by utilizing the entire width of the field. The touchdown brought the Pios to within one, 13-12. David Ceja has his first career sack when he got to Greenough at the Boxers' 7-yard line, forcing Pacific to punt from its end zone before Verba-Hamilton's return TD.

In the second half, Pacific scored another big passing touchdown when Boxers quarterback JT Greenough found tight end Jack Lopez for a 48-yard score. The Boxers split out an offensive lineman and Lopez was an eligible receiver in the lineman's spot. Greenough finished 16 of 33 for 296 yards and four touchdowns, a season high for TDs.

Lewis & Clark was forced to punt on three of its first four possessions to start the second half, but the Pioneers limited Pacific to two field goals to stay within striking distance. However, the Pios offense could not get down field, settling for punts on nine on its 19 possessions in the game, a career high for freshman punter Travis Benham who averaged 31.6 yards per kick.

The Boxers ended the game with two 7-play scoring drives and another on a single 14-yard touchdown by Storm Lotomau following another Pioneers turnover.

Deeper Look

  • Voges had his second game of the season without throwing an interception, but was limited to his second-lowest number of completions (21) and his lowest completion percentage (43 pct.) this year
  • Michael Abraham, who entered the game as the Northwest Conference's leading rusher, had his lowest per carry average of the season (2.3)
  • Lewis & Clark was playing without nearly all of its starting secondary that was expected at the beginning of the year
  • Mike Machado entered the game in the fourth quarter and threw 4 for 8 for 89 yards and a touchdown, a 25-yard pass to Heisman Hosoda
    • Hosoda led the Pioneers with six catches for 99 yards
  • Dejour Williams failed to bring in at least seven receptions for just the second time this season; he did miss parts of the game after an injury in the first half
  • Running back Cory Hincks caught a season-high 33-yard reception and now has a reception in three of his last four games
  • Pete Lahti had a forced fumble and Anakin Mares finished with two pass breakups
  • Alex Hensley, a freshman, led the team in tackles with seven, one of which went for a loss
    • A freshman has led the Pioneers in tackles each of the last three games (Mares - Oct. 6 and 13, Hensley - Oct. 20)
  • Lahti and Tanner Ono, also a freshman, had six tackles apiece
  • Ramonne Canales added to his career-high sacks total with another on Saturday, one of three for the Pioneers
  • Lewis & Clark was held to its lowest yards per reception total (0.8) this season and allowed their most points to an opponent since giving up 53 to Whitworth in the 2016 season finale
  • Jantzen Shinmoto caught his second pass of the year
  • Benham punted for a career-high six fair catches

Looking Ahead

Lewis & Clark plays two of its last three in Portland starting on Oct. 27 against George Fox.