Pioneers lose at Linfield

Photo by Ben Ritter (2018)
Photo by Ben Ritter (2018)

McMINNVILLE, Ore. -- Michael Abraham had the Lewis & Clark Pioneers only touchdown, tying his career high for a season with nine, and Cameron Chang and Alex Hensley each had a sack in Saturday's 54-7 loss to the Linfield Wildcats at Maxwell Field.

Chang nearly had another sack in the fourth quarter, but Linfield backup quarterback Clark Hazlett threw the ball away at the last moment. Xavier Tharpe had a career-high seven receptions for 40 yards to lead the Pioneers.

Wyatt Smith threw for six touchdowns and 399 yards. Five of Smith's touchdowns were in the first half as Linfield took a 34-0 lead.

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Key Moments

In the first half, only one of the Pioneers' seven possessions netted a first down, while Linfield scored touchdowns on five of its first six touches. To open the second half, Lewis & Clark held Linfield to only its second punt of the game, and the Pioneers put together a 10-play series and picked up multiple first downs after having one in the first two quarters. While the drive ended in a punt from the Linfield 39, it seemingly brought the offense life and Lewis & Clark scored on its next drive.

Capped off by Abraham's 1-yard rushing touchdown, the Pioneers drove 75 yards over 11 plays - the longest touchdown drive of the game - and scored first in the second half. Back-to-back double-digit gains on throws to Dallas Garreaud and Thapre quickly moved the Pios from their own 25 to the Linfield 42. Six plays later, a pass interference call on third down moved the ball to the Linfield 14, and Tharpe caught a pass to get the Pios to the three. Jake Bushman nearly scored his first collegiate touchdown on a pass play, but was stopped just short which set the stage for Abraham's score. 

Linfield (6-1, 5-0 NWC) answered on the very next drive to regain their 34-point margin, and with new quarterbacks in the game, Lewis & Clark threw four interceptions on its next five possessions. Cruz Montana threw two on seven attempts, Max Nichols had one of his two passes picked and John Thoma threw one. Malik Campbell had two interceptions for Linfield.

Lewis & Clark's 184 yards of offense is its lowest since a 20-0 loss to open the season at Pomona-Pitzer.

Deeper Look

  • Of Linfield's five scoring drives in the first half, only one was a quick score - a 43-yard touchdown from Smith to Keegan Weiss, who finished with six catches for 103 yards and two touchdowns
  • The rest were at least six plays each
  • Zondre Faraj-Washington led the team in rushing with 35 yards on 11 carries
  • Saturday was the fourth time that Abraham failed to lead the Pioneers in rushing, games in which the Pios are 0-4
  • Randy Manewa punted eight times, the second most in a game this year, and averaged his lowest per kick of 28.4
  • Huero Lopez returned five kicks and averaged 23 yards per return, and at 25.5 yards per return on the season, is second in the Northwest Conference in return average (Anthony Garcia of George Fox - 28.5)
  • Makana LaBoy, Roger Hernandez and Hensley shared the lead for tackles at seven apiece, while Anakin Mares and Tawayne Malone each had five
  • Mares had two more pass breakups and is tied for the second most in the NWC
  • Chang is second in the NWC in total sacks (5), but has played one fewer game than the conference leader, Andrew McCoy of Whitworth (6)
  • Keyell Davis led Linfield with 10 total tackles
  • The Wildcats held the ball for 34:39, the most in any game for them this season, and had their second-highest penalty yards total (105)
  • Lewis & Clark (3-4, 2-3 NWC) wore all white uniforms after adding white pants to their uniform mix

Looking Ahead

Lewis & Clark plays its next game at George Fox on Nov. 9.