TACOMA, Wash. - In one of the craziest games of the season, the Lewis & Clark Pioneers came from behind to defeat the Puget Sound Loggers on the road on Saturday afternoon in a Northwest Conference showdown. The Pioneers quarterback Keith Welch hooked up with junior Shawn Evans with one second left on the clock to earn the Pios a 68-64 victory.
With the win the Pioneers improve to 4-2 on the season for the first time since the 1995 season. The Pioneers are now 2-1 in conference play, which puts them in a two-way tie for second place with the Pacific Lutheran Lutes, who the Pioneers will host next weekend at Griswold Stadium. The Pioneers have not won two conference games since the 1997 season when they finished 2-3 in the NWC.
The road conference win is the Pioneers first since 2002 when they defeated the Loggers 28-13 on Peyton Field at Baker Stadium. In the team's highest scoring game of the season, the Pioneers 68 points broke a 48 year-old school record for total points put up by the Pios, which was 67. The two teams combined for the most points in L&C history with 132.
The Loggers and Pioneers traded scores through most of the game as both offenses continued roll. The Pioneers and Loggers combined for 19 touchdowns in the game, setting a Northwest Conference record for points in a game with 132 combined points. The previous record was held by former NWC member Southern Oregon and Willamette who combined for 109 points in 1993.
The quarterbacks battled throughout the game as each put up very impressive numbers. Duncan White was 46-of-68 for 625 yards and eight touchdowns. White constructed drive after drive to keep the Loggers in the seesaw battle. Welch put up some equally impressive numbers for the Pioneers, passing for 254 yards and four TDs while running for 147 yards and three TDs.
Both quarterbacks had their favorite targets as Adam Kniffin hauled in his record 19 catches for 186 yards and another record five touchdowns, including the first three consecutive touchdowns for the Loggers. On the Pioneers side, Evans had eight catches for 180 yards and a trio of TDs.
The teams traded touchdowns in the first half as neither team recorded a punt in the half. However, the Pioneers were able to outshoot the Loggers to take a 41-35 lead into the locker room. A pair of Logger turnovers in the third quarter allowed the Pioneers to open a 61-42 lead with just over seven minutes left in the fourth quarter.
The Loggers continued to battle as they marched down the field on the next possession to close the gap. White hit Kniffin for a 25-yard TD pass to narrow the lead to 61-49. The Loggers special teams then came up with a big play, recovering an onside kick to keep the Loggers in the game. White marched the Loggers down the field again and capped the drive with a nine-yard TD strike to Ryan Rogers to narrow the gap to 61-56.
The Logger defense responded by forcing a three-and-out and a Pio punt. With 2:57 left, the Loggers took over at their own 30. White once again marched the Loggers down the field and capped the drive with a his eighth TD throw of the day. With the ensuing extra point, the Loggers took a 64-61 lead with 27 seconds left.
The Pioneers needed just 26 seconds to march down the field as the offense awoke for the final drive. Welch found Evans in the back of the end zone with 1.7 seconds left to take the final lead and eventually the game by a score of 68-64.
Offensively for the Pioneers, Welch finished 13-for-18 passing for 254 yards and four touchdowns, while Tucker Laurence was 2-for-2 with a touchdown pass. Welch also rushed for 147 yards and three touchdowns. Junior Joevonte Mayes finished with 12 carries for 64 yards and two touchdowns. Evans led all receivers with eight catches for 180 yards and three touchdowns. Harrison Keller had 81 yards on four catches and a touchdown, while Evan Standbro had one catch for a touchdown.
The Pioneers return home for their next contest, hosting PLU at 1 p.m. at Griswold Stadium. To help celebrate Halloween, the Pioneer Athletic Club (PAC) and Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) are sponsoring "Bring A Kid To the Game" in which all children under 12 get in free and get to march around the track in their costums at halftime.