SPOKANE, Wash. -- A 60-yard touchdown reception by Dejour Williams gave the Lewis & Clark Pioneers the first of several leads in Saturday's 38-28 loss to the No. 16 Whitworth Pirates at the Pine Bowl. In the end, Whitworth scored 21 second-half points to come out ahead.
Williams finished with a career-high 154 yards receiving on seven receptions, his fifth game this season with at least seven catches. The senior moved to sixth all-time at Lewis & Clark for career receptions (152) as well.
In a game where the Pioneers (2-6, 1-5 NWC) forced three interceptions, Lewis & Clark led 14-3 after Michael Abraham scored a 1-yard touchdown toward the end of the second quarter, but the Pirates (8-0, 6-0 NWC) scored twice before halftime to lead by three at the break. In the third quarter, Abraham scored from three yards out to give the Pioneers the lead again, 21-17. Whitworth outscored the Pios, 21-7, the rest of the way to remain undefeated in the Northwest Conference and secure the automatic bid to the NCAA Division III playoffs.
Abraham remains the NWC leader in rushing touchdowns with nine scores after finishing with 136 yards on 32 carries, which included a 52-yard run. The sophomore averaged 4.3 yards per rush on Saturday and is second in the NWC for rushing yards per game (100.6).
James Tostado had two interceptions of Whitworth quarterback Leif Ericksen, who finished 28 of 47 for 302 yards, three touchdowns and the three picks. Anakin Mares had his first career interception, which ended Whitworths 12-play opening drive of the second half at the Lewis & Clark 15-yard line. Tostado's second interception was on Whitworth's next drive and set the Pios up with a first-and-goal at the Pirates' 5-yard line. Abraham scored two plays later and the Pios went up 21-17.
Following Abraham's second touchdown, the Pirates forced a Pios fumble and a three-and-out, scoring on the ensuing possessions. Following a 6-play, 20-yard drive, the Pioneers punted before scoring on their final possession when Kevin Johnson caught a 5-yard TD pass from Mike Machado, who made his second straight start at quarterback.
The Pioneers defense held Whitworth's conference-best scoring offense without a touchdown until the 2:25 mark of the second quarter.
- Machado finished 15 of 23 for 192 yards and two touchdowns plus an interception
- Whitworth was 50 percent on third-down conversions (10 of 20), while keeping the Pios' success to 5 of 19
- The Pioneers did convert both of their fourth-down tries
- Travis Benham was forced to punt eight times and averaged 37 yards per kick, his third-best average this season
- Williams now trails Dan Ruhl by one reception for fifth all-time in school history and is eight behind Andrew Frisina's 160 catches for fourth
- Lewis & Clark fumbled three times and lost one
- Machado was sacked and fumbled at the Pios' 23-yard line in the late third quarter and Whitworth scored on the next play to lead 31-21
- After three straight games of fewer than 100 yards in penalties, the Pios were flagged 12 times for 109 yards, while Whitworth drew 11 penalties for 106 yards
- Pete Lahti and Keola Palau had sacks, with Lahti finishing at two tackles for loss and a forced fumble, his third fumble forced this season
- Tostado led the Pioneers with nine tackles, followed by Lahti (8), Roger Hernandez and Mares (7) and Melvin Ho'omanawanui and Andrew Werst (5)
- Alex Hensley also had two tackles for loss
Lewis & Clark plays their season finale on Nov. 10 against Pacific Lutheran in Portland.