PUYALLUP, Wash. -- A touchdown reception by Dallas Garreaud with 17 seconds left in the first half brought the Lewis & Clark Pioneers within 14 points of the Pacific Lutheran Lutes at halftime on Saturday afternoon at Sparks Stadium. The Lutes scored on three-straight possessions to start the second half and Lewis & Clark didn't answer back in a 48-14 Northwest Conference loss.
Garreaud's touchdown, the first of his career, followed a one-handed catch by Bryce Johnson and gave the Pios points after Lewis & Clark forced the first punt by PLU with 59 seconds remaining in the second quarter.
"It was really big," Lewis & Clark running back Eric Hawkins said. "We stuck to our guns and threw the ball up to Bryce and let him make a catch and if definitely brought a lot of momentum going into halftime. It was a much-needed score."
Pacific Lutheran (5-3; 4-2 NWC) scored on its first three drives of the game to lead 21-7. Lewis & Clark answered the Lutes opening score with a 6-yard touchdown catch by Carl Appleton from Niko Fortino to tie the game at seven apiece.
Fortino finished 25 of 38 passing for 155 yards and two touchdowns. Johnson was Lewis & Clark's leading receiver with 46 yards on four receptions. Gage Bumgardner had a team-high six catches.
Despite not holding an edge in time of possession, something the Lutes had done well all season, Pacific Lutheran capitalized on big plays. To start the game, Mark Gallant returned the opening kickoff 52 yards to set up senior quarterback Jon Schaub and the offense at the Lewis & Clark 38 on PLU's Senior Day. Two plays later, Schaub found Kellen Westering for a 31-yard touchdown.
PLU totaled seven plays of 20 or more yards in the game, including three touchdowns, and outrushed Lewis & Clark, 269-65.
"They just came out and did what we expected," said junior linebacker Remington Campbell, who led the Pios with 11 tackles, including one for a loss. "We had a few, small things that we can fix next week that hurt us in the long run."
The Pioneers allowed a 38-yard touchdown pass from Schaub to Juston Lind with 41 seconds left in the first quarter and a 33-yard TD run by Devin Hardgrove halfway through the second quarter.
Despite trailing 21-7 with under a minute left in the first half, Lewis & Clark put together the 6-play, 60-yard drive that ended with Garreaud's score.
"It's always things that we can control in the first half," said sophomore cornerback Pete Lahti. "We rarely are stopped by the other team. We do this to ourselves. When we take care of what we can take care of, you see what happens."
Lewis & Clark has one game remaining this season, the second under head coach Jay Locey, to end a losing streak of 31 straight games. It's the longest losing streak in Pioneers program history and the second-biggest among NCAA Division III football teams.
The Pioneers will host Whitworth on Nov. 12 at 1 p.m. in Portland at Griswold Stadium. The game will be Senior Day with Fortino and Appleton, Lewis & Clark's only seniors, receiving recognition.
"Some of the big goals include continuing to do what we've been doing all year," said Hawkins, who finished with 26 yards on seven carries. "It's going to suck to miss out on the two seniors, but we'll send them off in style, wish them the best and continue to grow in this program."
Appleton had four receptions for 43 yards, including a 29-yard gain on a pass from sophomore quarterback Mike Machado in the fourth quarter. Machado replaced Fortino for the final two drives.
With numerous injuries, Lewis & Clark is continuing to move around personnel.
"None of us are fresh. We're all hurt," said Lahti. "We all stepped up to the occasion on certain plays, but we showed that we are tired and we can't do that."
Xavier Tharpe, a freshman wide receiver, took snaps at running back on Saturday.
Trailing 14-7, Lewis & Clark punter Thor Retzlaff successfully converted a fake punt run from the PLU 44 to move the Pios to the Lutes 28-yard line, but the drive ended eight plays later, the drive's 16th snap, when Fortino was sacked by Tanner Perry and Matt Anthony. The Lutes scored on the ensuing possession.
Despite the loss, the Lewis & Clark is focused on the process that started when Locey, a five-time NWC Coach of the Year, was hired in December 2014.
"We need to do our job. It's what our coaches have been preaching to us all year. We have to fit the right way, execute and we can be good," said Campbell.
"It's critical for us. They're two guys you can't replace, so we want to send them out on a good note," said Lahti about Fortino and Appleton. "They're our leaders. We got to send them out on a good note."
Whitworth enters the game in second place in the NWC standings.
Other Northwest Conference Scores - Saturday
Whitworth 34, Willamette 14
Linfield 33, Puget Sound 7
George Fox 15, Pacific 12