By John Lind
Sports Information Assistant
PORTLAND, Ore. - The Lewis & Clark football team battled it out with the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps on Saturday afternoon in the Pioneers home opener. The Stags pulled out a 31-28 win over the Pios with a game winning field goal in overtime.
The Stags were first to get on the scoreboard midway through the opening quarter. CMS took advantage of good field position following a Pioneer fumble and drove 32 yards into the endzone. However, Lewis & Clark's Aaron Lucas was able to block the extra point attempt, leaving the Stags ahead only 6-0.
Lewis & Clark wasn't done yet. After forcing a CMS punt on the subsequent possession, the Pioneers drove down the field in similar fashion, mounting a six play, 82 yard drive.
Facing 1st and 10 on the CMS 11-yard line, Welch lofted a pass to the left corner of the endzone, where Darrell Nelson utilized single coverage and hauled in a nice touchdown catch over the Stag defender's helmet. Jacob Costantino then turned a fumbled hold into a successful two point conversion, putting the Pioneers up 15-6 going into the half.
After receiving the kickoff to start the second half, Lewis & Clark extended its lead to 18-6 after driving to the CMS 10 yard line and a successful field goal try by Cena. The drive included a crucial 27 yard pass from Welch to Curtis Shirey to put the Pioneers in the red zone.
However, that would be the last offense the Pioneers would see for the rest of the third quarter. Behind quarterback Sean McKaveney and running back Cameron Griffin, the Stags rattled off two unanswered touchdowns to take a 21-18 lead heading into the fourth.
The first touchdown came after CMS got great starting field position after a long punt return. On the second score, McKaveney found a wide open Greg Wilson for a 31 yard touchdown pass. McKaveney also used his legs on a variety of option plays to extend Stag drives.
The Pioneers weren't going down without a fight. Less than a minute into the fourth quarter, Welch found Frisina for a 26 yard touchdown pass that electrified the home crowd. After trading several possessions, Lewis & Clark successfully organized another scoring drive leading to a Cena field goal to take a 28-21 lead with just over five minutes remaining.
After trading possessions again, the Stags got the ball at their own 40 yard line with 3:02 remaining. CMS drove down the field and found the endzone with only 0:08 remaining in the game, pushing the two teams to overtime.
The Pioneers got the first shot on offense, but on their second play, Welch's shot to the endzone was intercepted. On the ensuing possession, the Stags weren't able to gain much ground on an inspired Pioneer defense, but managed to get in range for Matthew Aven to hit the game-winning 36 yard field goal.
The Pioneers dominated the Stags in virtually every major statistical category, accumulating 501 yards of total offense to 307 for CMS. However, the Stags won the turnover battle, intercepting three passes and recovering a Pioneer fumble.
Welch was 26-41 passing with 284 yards and three touchdowns.Frisina had a monster day, hauling in 16 catches for 159 yards and two touchdowns. Shirey caught seven passes for an additional 117 yards.
Freshman Michael Hawkins led the rushing attack with 56 yards on nine carries, while Costantino added 48 yards on 13 carries. Welch rushed for 43 yards on nine attempts.
Defensively, Stein Retzlaff led the Pioneers with 8.5 tackles. Lincoln Boyd recorded six tackles while also forcing and recovering a fumble. Safety Siosifa Tonga and linebacker Andrew Traver each contributed five tackles.
Lewis & Clark returns to action on Sunday, Sept. 21 at 1:30 p.m. against Wisc.-Platteville at Griswold Stadium.