SPOKANE, Wash. - The Lewis & Clark football team ended the season on Saturday afternoon with a frigid battle with the Whitworth Pirates. The Pirates pulled out a 37-20 win over the Pioneers on a very cold day in Spokane.
The Pioneers end the season 4-5 overall and 1-5 in conference after beginning the year with a 4-0 start. The Pirates conclude the year 7-3 overall and 3-3 in the Northwest Conference.
Whitworth jumped out to a very quick 7-0 lead courtesy of a 68-yard game-opening drive by Ronnie Thomas. The Thomas run setup a 19-yard touchdown drive by DJ Tripioli down the right sideline.
Lewis & Clark answered with its own 68-yard run that setup Curtis Shirey for a one-yard touchdown run. Despite the touchdown, the Pioneers were unable to convert on their point after attempt, pulling within one point of the Pirates.
Robert Thullen gave the Pirates a 10-6 advantage with a 20-yard field goal after the Pioneer defense held Whitworth on a first and goal situation on the Pios five-yard line.
Keith Welch gave the Pioneers their first lead of the game on a 23-yard quarterback keep. Lewis & Clark chose to go for a two-point conversion in order to take a 14-10 advantage, but were stuffed by Whitworth.
The Lewis & Clark defense would continue to keep the Pirates out of the end zone despite three trips to the Pioneers end of the field. Two of the three trips ended with Pioneer interceptions, with Joe Kopp-Anderson and Clay Israelson each coming up with a pick.
The Pioneers received the ball to start the second half, but were forced to punt on their opening drive. The punt shifted the momentum in the Pirates favor, with Whitworth finding the end zone on a 13 play, 72 yard drive.
Lewis & Clark remained in the contest down the stretch with Whitworth holding a flimsy 17-12 lead up until the final seven minutes of the game.
Whitworth scored two more times to take a 30-12 lead with 5:46 left to go in the game. Lewis & Clark found its way into the end zone on a fast three play drive. Welch connected with Nico Ohland on a 10-yard fade and then found Ohland again for the two-point conversion.
The Pioneers went for an onsides kick but the Pirates managed to recover it and proceeded to make their way to the end zone once more.
Welch finished the night 24 of 37 for 256 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions. Welch also rushed for 79 yards on 16 carries. Evan Stanbro had 86 yards on seven receptions, while Shirey ended with 39 yards on seven receptions.
Andrew Traver led the Pios with 16 tackles, while Kopp-Anderson concluded the contest with 14.