SPOKANE, Wash. - Senior Curtis Shirey opened the Lewis & Clark football season in grand fashion on Saturday, returning a Whitworth kickoff 93 yards for a Pioneer touchdown right before halftime.
The Pioneers opened Northwest Conference action on the road at the Whitworth Pine Bowl, where the Pirates collected a 63-10 victory.
Freshman Cody Rochon quarterback shared action under center with senior Zach Littlefield. Rochon ended the day 17-of-29 for 170 yards, while Littlefield went 10-for-13 for 62 yards and an interception. Staying true to Lewis & Clark quarterbacks, Rochon was the Pioneers leading rusher, carrying the ball 17 times for 38 yards, including a 32 yard carry into Pirate territory. Littlefield was the Pioneers next leading rusher with 32 yards on 10 carries.
Seniors Jacob Costantino and Zac Salois led the Pioneer receivers with Costantino earning the Pios 57 yards on four receptions. Salois ended the day with 43 yards on seven catches, while freshman Gage Bumgardner had 39 yards on two catches.
Defensively, Roy Taylor and Stein Retzlaff each picked up seven tackles, while senior Andrew Traver ended the day with six. Both Taylor and Traver ended the day with a tackle for a loss, while Traver also sacked the Pirate quarterback once.
Starting at their own 40-yard line, the Pirates steadily made their way down the field, eventually scoring on the opening drive for a quick 7-0 lead. Lewis & Clark responded two possessions later with a successful field goal from Colin Brown with 5:29 remaining in the opening period.
Whitworth tacked on 21 more points before Shirey took the ball down field for the Pioneers first touchdown of the game. Kicking off after their final score of the half, the Pirate defense could not stop the speedy Shirey, who caught the ball at the L&C seven-yard line and made Pirate after Pirate miss until he made his way into the end zone. Brown followed up the score with a good point after sending the Pioneers into the locker room trailing 28-10.
The Pirate defense was unrelenting in the second half keeping the Pioneer offense pinned in their own half of the field for the majority of play. The Pioneers best chance of half came on their final possession in the fourth period when Rochon marched the Pios into Whitworth territory. Starting back at their own one-yard line, Rochon took the Pioneers 108 yards on 11 plays making down to the Pirate 17-yard line. Unfortunately the Pioneers were unable to go further, turning the ball over which allowed the Pirates to run out the rest of the clock for the win.
Lewis & Clark returns to the field on Saturday, Sept. 13 at 7 p.m. at Claremont-M-S. The Pioneers will host a pregame gathering. More information can be found HERE.