By John Lind
Sports Information Assistant
PORTLAND, Ore - The Lewis & Clark football team jumped out to a 14-10 lead but were unable to sustain momentum against Northwest Conference foe Whitworth, dropping the game 61-28 in the final game of the season.
With the win, the Pirates improve to 4-6 for the season and 2-4 in the NWC. Lewis & Clark finishes the 2013 season 1-8, and 1-5 in conference play.
The Pioneers got standout performances from quarterback Keith Welch and wide receiver Andrew Frisina. Both entered Saturday's contest on the verge of setting Lewis & Clark all-time records for season totals and career totals.
Frisina needed just one reception to break the single season receptions total of 80. He wasted no time, catching a 30-yard touchdown pass from Welch at 2:59 in the first quarter to put the Pioneers up 7-3. Frisina finished with 10 receptions for 138 yards on the day, pushing his 2013 total to 90 and putting his name in the record books.
After setting the all-time Lewis & Clark and NWC records for total offense in the Pioneers' previous matchup against Pacific, Welch stepped on the field for the final time in his career Saturday needing 45 passing yards and 21 completions to set the Lewis & Clark records for career passing yards and completions.
Coincidentally, Welch eclipsed 45 passing yards on the very same touchdown pass that gave Frisina his receptions record. He would later set the passing completions record on a one-yard touchdown pass to Darrell Nelson.
Throughout the first quarter and early into the second, Lewis & Clark played a hard fought game against Whitworth. The aforementioned touchdown pass from Welch to Frisina and another Welch strike to Nelson at the beginning of the second quarter gave the Pioneers a 14-10 lead.
However, the Pirates quickly gained momentum from that point on, putting the brakes on the high-flying Pioneer offense and scoring 51 unanswered points. It wasn't until midway through the fourth quarter that Lewis & Clark found their stride again, and then touchdown passes to Curtis Shirey and Darrell Nelson were too little too late.
Despite a scoring drought through much of the second and third quarters, the Lewis & Clark offense still put up 444 yards of total offense, earning 26 first downs to 23 for Whitworth and out-passing the Pirates 361 yards to 317.
Welch finished the game 23-42 passing for 329 and an impressive four touchdowns. Welch added 26 yards rushing on ten attempts.
Josh Bocker led the Pioneer rushing attack with 28 yards on five carries. Lewis & Clark rushed for 83 yards total.
In addition to Frisina's big day, Shirey finished second in receiving with 83 yards on just three receptions. Michael Hawkins added 68 yards on five receptions and Nelson had four catches for 38 yards and two touchdowns.
On defense, several Pioneers showed promise for seasons ahead. Sophomore safety Siosifa Tonga and junior linebacker Andrew Traver led Lewis & Clark with 15 tackles apiece. Roy Taylor added ten tackles, a sack, and 1.5 tackles for loss for an impressive performance.
Before the game, the Pioneers honored their seven seniors playing in the final game of their college football careers. Many seniors brought their families onto the field for recognition of their dedication to the Pioneer football program over their respective college careers.