Pioneers end season with a loss to Pacific Lutheran, celebrate senior class

Pioneers end season with a loss to Pacific Lutheran, celebrate senior class

PORTLAND, Ore. -- The Lewis & Clark Pioneers took on the Pacific Lutheran Lutes for their last game of the year on Saturday afternoon, losing 28-14. The Pioneers round out at 2-7 on the season and 1-6 in Northwest Conference play, while the Lutes finish with 4-5 and 3-4 in the NWC. The Pioneers also honored 14 seniors in a pre-game ceremony with their families.

The Lutes established an early lead and never relinquished it, leading by 21 points in the first half and adding another seven in the second. Despite comparable play counts between the teams, the Lutes were able to play more effectively, relying heavily on pass game and scoring 14 points on turnovers.

Of the season, Defensive Coordinator Eric Jackson said, "I'm proud of the improvement our defense has made. This is season we had only two 100-yard rushers, which was tribute to our defensive line and linebackers. Our tackling improved a ton and we felt as a staff we matched up every week with each team. The game this Saturday we felt we had to minimize the big plays and get some turnovers for our offense. Losing five defensive players will be tough as they have been leaders since their freshman year. We are proud of the way our senior defenders played this weekend. I believe our defensive seniors had great seasons. Every one of them made a big play and contributed to keeping us consistent when we had some injuries."

The Pioneers seemed to find new life in the second half, scoring one touchdown per quarter, but couldn't turn the game around before the clock ran out. Mike Machado finally connected to Xavier Tharpe in the third quarter to score on a 7-yard pass to put the Pios on the scoreboard, while senior Cory Hincks scored the Pioneers' second touchdown in the fourth on a 6-yard run.

Despite the outcome of the game, seniors Davis Blackmon and Pete Lahti had nothing but positive things to say about their time with the Pioneers. Blackmon said, "I thought we did a real good job of battling back in the second half, and I was proud of how we ended that game, and the season. It's been really fun to see the growth of this program, and it seems just like yesterday this senior class was arriving for our first fall camp. The future of the program is very bright." Lahti echoed his sentiment, adding, "I'm so proud of all of the seniors and am thankful for the opportunity to play with them and to play for this program. This team has something special in store, so make sure to pay attention!

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Key Moments

Mike Machado finished 21 of 31 and threw for a season high of 206-yards, with one interception and a touchdown to Xavier Tharpe. This is Tharpe's first touchdown of the season and second of his career with the Pioneers.

Keola Palau had a hand the Pioneers' two sacks on the Lutes, with a solo sack in the first quarter and an assisted sack by Ramonne Canales in the second quarter.

Sophomore Michael Abraham was leading the NWC conference in yards per game, but could not finish the game due to a shoulder injury. He finishes out his season at second in the conference for yards per game with 95.2 yards, and tied for second in the conference for touchdowns.

Cory Hincks led in rushing with a season high of 81-yards and one touchdown. He was followed by sophomore Zondre Faraj-Williams who rushed for a career high 77-yards.

Deeper Look

  • Machado finishes his time with the Pioneers with a career high in completions finishing 58 of 98
  • Senior Michael Nosek started in his first game since the 2015 season
  • Sophomore Zondre Faraj-Washington finishes the season with a career high in rushing
  • The Pioneers rushed for 237-yards to the Lutes 58
  • Keola Palau led the team in tackles (8), followed by Andrew Werst (6), and Randy Manewa and Roger Hernandez (4)
  • Cameron Chang had the lone interception for the Pioneers
  • Travis Benham punted five times with an average of 35.6 yards per kick and a total of 178-yards in the game