Football Falls on Homecoming
The Pioneer football team fell 40-14 (box score) Saturday to the visiting Pacific Lutheran Lutes. Harrison Keller had both touchdown catches for the Pioneers. Ryan Kostecka had his third 100+ yard receiving game.
The Lutes had the ball just six seconds before they scored their first touchdown of the game. Michael Byrne connected with Greg Ford on the Lutes first play from scrimmage for a 43-yard touchdown pass, giving the Lutes the early 7-0 lead. After a three-and-out by the Pioneers, the Lutes scored on another long pass from Michael Byrne to Greg Ford, this one a 57-yard touchdown completion. The Pioneers' Chris Kelly (freshman, Atwater, Calif. ) blocked the point-after attempt to make it a 13-0 Lute lead.
The beginning of the second quarter was highlighted by the defensive play of the Pioneers' Shawn Kelly (sophomore, Clackamas, Ore.). He recoved a Lute fumble on the first play of the second half. After the Pioneers were forced to punt after their next possession, Kelly got the ball back for L&C on an interception at the PLU 37, retuning it to the PLU 26, putting the Pioneers in good scoring position. After a seven-yard tackle-for-a-loss by the Lutes Giustin Jenkins and a sack of QB AJ Brown, the Pioneers had to punt again. After they fumbled the long snap, the Lutes recovered at the L&C 43, setting up the third long-pass play for a touchdown from Michael Byrne to Greg Ford to put the Lutes up 20-0. With 1:33 left in the first half, Byrne and Ford connected for their fourth TD of the game, a 33-yard pass fo a 27-0 halftime lead.
The Lutes had the ball to start the second half, and went back to the formula that had worked all game, a 60-yard bomb from Michael Byrne to Greg Ford to put the Lutes up 33-0 ten seconds into the second half. Danny Lockard (junior, Creswell, Ore.) blocked the extra point for the Pioneers.
The rest of the third quarter belonged to the Pioneers. With 10:15 left in the third, the Pioneers got the ball just shy of midfield. Harrison Keller (sophomore, San Luis Obispo, Calif.) had a 9 and an 11 yard rush to help put the Pioneers in the red zone. He caught a four-yard pass from AJ Brown (senior, Vancouver, Wash.) to make it 33-7.
With two minutes left in the quarter, AJ Brown connected with Ryan Kostecka (sophomore, Napa, Calif.) on a 76-yard completion with Kostecka nearly making it to the endzone before an ankle tackle took him out on the six yard line. On the next play, Brown through another TD pass to Harrison Keller to make it a 33-14 contest.
The Lutes final score of the game came with nine minutes left in the fourth quarter on a two-yard run by Bryce Davis.
For the Lutes, quarterback Michael Byrne was 13-20 for 325 yards and five touchdowns. He had two interceptions. Greg Ford had seven catches for a 272 yards, including five touchdown grabs, setting Pacific Lutheran single-game records for both TD catches and total receiving yards.
For the Pioneers, Ryan Kostecka had five receptions for 125 yards, his third 100+ yard receiving game of the season. AJ Brown was 11-26 for 201 yards with two touchdown passes and one interception.
Defensively, Shawn Kelly led the Pioneers with nine tackles. He also had an interception and a fumble recovery. Angus Blair (sophomore, St. Helens, Ore.) had eight tackles, including two for a loss. For the Lutes, Jordan Davison led them with seven tackles. Giustin Jenkins had four tackles-for-a-loss.
It's the first victory of the season for the Lutes, who improve to 2-1 (1-0 NWC). The Pioneers fall to 1-3 (0-1 NWC).
The Pioneers will in Salem next weekend, taking on the Willamette Bearcats. The game will be carried live on sportjuice.com.
Photo below: The Pioneers being led out onto the field by Buddy the Newfoundland dog.