PORTLAND, Ore. - The Lewis & Clark football team dropped its first game of the season on Saturday, falling to the Pacific Lutheran Lutes 31-14 at home in Northwest Conference action.
The loss puts the Pioneers at 4-1 on the season and 1-1 in conference play. The Lutes pickup their first conference win of the year to improve to 2-2 overall and 1-1 in the NWC.
Jacob Costantino and Evan Standbro had scored both touchdowns for the Pioners, with Costantino finishing with 57 yards on eight catches, while Stanbro had 22 yards receiving on three catches. Connor Imel picked up a team-high 97 yards receiving. Keith Welch ended the contest 26 of 45 passing for 232 yards despite throwing three interceptions and being sacked five times.
Dalton Ritchy finished his day 22 of 33 for the Lutes with one interception for 297 yards, while being taken down by the Pio defense five times. Kyle Warner had 195 yards receiving on nine catches, while Brandon James rushed for 57 yards on 10 carries.
Receiving the ball on a Pacific Lutheran deference, the Pioneers steadily made their way down field on the opening drive of the game. Logan Kotzian set the team up to start off on their own 22-yard line after a 15-yard kickoff return. Nearly into Lute territory, Welch was picked off by Tayler Angevine, setting up good field position for Pacific Lutheran.
The field position paid off for the Lutes who scored with a Dalton pass to Kellen Westering four plays into their drive.
Pacific Lutheran would get on the board again in the first minute of the second quarter with a good field goal from Nick Kaylor.
Clay Istaelson gave the Pioneers a good chance to score with 3:53 to go in the first half after picking off the Lute quarterback at the Pioneer 26-yard line. Unfortunately for Lewis & Clark the Pacific Lutheran defense forced them off the field after three plays.
Like the in the first half, the Lutes came out of the locker room and scored on their first drive with a Ritchey pass to Brandon James.
Down 17-0 the Pioneers finally found the back of the end zone with a 24-yard touchdown by Costantino.
Ritchey responded with a 69-yard pass to Kyle Warner on the Lutes next go to make it a 24-7 contest.
Taking over on their own 19-yard line the Pioneers put together a string of 18 plays for 81-yards en route to their final score of the contest. After nearly six minutes of possession, Welch found Stanbro for a four-yard receiving touchdown.
Pinned back at their own eight-yard line with a little over a minute remaining in the game the Pioneers lost control of the ball, which was recovered by the Lutes. Instead of taking a knee, the Lutes put an exclamation point on their win with an Austin Hilliker touchdown on the first play of the drive.
Kotzian led the Pioneer defense with nine tackles, a breakup and a forced fumble. Jasper Dean and Alex Fitch each got the Lute quarterback two times. John Berokoff and Darrell Nelson each recoved fumbles for the Pioneers, while Israelson picked up an intercepiton.
The Pioneers hit the road for their next contest, taking on Willamette at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 13 in Salem.