Pacific Football Takes Another Big Step In Third Season
FIRST TEAM NWC SELECTIONS TOE THE LINE: In a season of significant improvement for the Pacific football program, the Northwest Conference's coaches recognized the considerable growth on the offense line and the defense with the selections of offensive lineman Sean Dalton and linebacker Tim Hastie to the All-Northwest Conference First Team.
The duo led a total of 11 selections to the All-NWC Team, which included a pair of second team picks and seven honorable mention nods.
Dalton, a honorable mention selection in 2010 and 2011, anchored a Pacific offensive line that provided protection that allowed Minaya to be one of the most accurate quarterbacks in the NWC. A starter in all nine games, Dalton led a line that was ranked in the NCAA Division III top-100 in sacks allowed for most of the season. The protection allowed the Boxers to have the No. 26 ranked passing defense in Division III.
"Sean led the offensive line in what was a tremendous season of growth for that group," Head Coach Keith Buckley said. "His physical presence and athletic ability at left tackle secured our quarterback's blind side in the passing game and the edge in a much improved and effective running game."
Hastie was among the key players in an improved Pacific defense, finishing second for the team and 15th in the NWC with 55 tackles and sixth in the NWC with 26 assisted tackles. He also had 5.5 tackles for loss, two sacks, five pass break-ups and one forced fumble. His season was highlighted by nine tackles, two tackles for loss and a sack against Willamette on Nov. 3. Hastie helped anchor a Pacific defense that ranked 29th against the run, limiting teams to 104.11 rushing yards per game.
"Tim has worked his tail off to become one of the best linebackers in the conference," Buckley said. "His position as middle linebacker is critical to our ability to stop the run and Tim's presence was a big part of our improvement against the run this year."
ADD ALL-NWC SELECTIONS: Kicker Moses Villareal-Gomez and defensive back Josh Brinkworth were both elected to the All-NWC Second Team. Pacific's seven honorable mention selections included quarterback P.J. Minaya, wide receivers Kelson Kawai and Caleb Roher, offensive lineman Eric Gietzen, defensive lineman Devin Lagorio, safety Bryan Mills and punter Aaron Koford. Of Pacific's 11 selections to the team, only Gietzen will not return in 2013 as he is on track to graduate in May.
After winning one game in their second season back after a 19-year hiatus, Pacific finished 2012 with a 3-6 record. The tally included three road victories, including the first since the program's return, a pair of record-setting games and a pair of Northwest Conference wins. The Boxers' 2-4 NWC record was good enough for a fifth place finish and was just one game out of fourth place (Whitworth finished at 3-3).
The season started rough, however, as the Boxers took a 51-14 loss in their opener to a much-improved Division II Simon Fraser squad. The loss was compounded when starting quarterback T.C. Campbell was sidelined for the season when he injured his knee late in the fourth quarter. It would be the first of a string of injuries that Pacific suffered that saw nearly half of the opening day starters shelved by the end of the year.
The loss of Campbell did little to phase the Boxers in their road opener, though, as they rolled Occidental 27-6 to earn the program's first road win since the 2010 reinstatement. The Boxers finished with 356 yards of total offense, but had another big personnel loss as First Team All-NWC receiver Jordan Fukumoto was lost for the season with a broken leg.
Pacific lost their next two games, which included a close 28-25 homecoming loss to Whitworth on Sept. 29 where the Boxers had a chance to win the game at the end. The first of the team's two record-setting efforts followed as the Boxers pummeled Puget Sound 62-21. The 62 points was the most scored by a Pacific team since 1930. In the process, kicker Moses Villareal-Gomez set a school record by making eight point-after attempts in the game.
The Boxers returned home to take a 41-23 loss to Pacific Lutheran on Oct. 23, but even that saw records broken as Pacific set a team record with 32 pass completions and saw quarterback P.J. Minaya break the single game mark for completions. Pacific then put together their second record performance of the year in a 42-20 victory over Lewis & Clark on Oct. 27. The Boxers set a single game record with 442 passing yards and 607 yards of total offense, while Minaya set individual records for passing yards and total offense (454).
Pacific lost the final two games of the season, but continued to show marked improvement in both. After being blown out by Willamette earlier in the year, the Boxers battled in a seesaw battle late before taking a 35-31 loss at home on Nov. 3. The Boxers then stayed with No. 3 ranked Linfield for the first quarter and a half before the Wildcats scored 30 unanswered points on their way to the 51-17 victory.
WITHOUT MISSING A BEAT: Head Coach Keith Buckley has maintained over the last three years that his program truly has two starting quarterbacks. With the season-ending injury to T.C. Campbell in the season opener, P.J. Minaya had the chance to prove Buckley's words true.
The junior turned in one of the best performances for a quarterback in the conference this season, finishing fifth in the NWC and setting a Pacific single season record in passing average with 250.9 yards per game. He finished fourth in the NWC and set a school record with a 64.0 completion percentage. Minaya also finished ranked third in the NWC with 21 touchdowns and fifth with 178 completions and 2,258 passing yards. Among NCAA Division III quarterbacks, Minaya finished 34th nationally with a pass efficiency rating of 148.55 and 55th in total offense with 256.2 yards per game.
Minaya proved to be a very capable big game player. He completed 25 of 30 passes, passed for four touchdowns and ran for a fifth in the Boxers' 62-21 rout of Puget Sound on Oct. 6. A week later, Minaya set a single game record with 32 completions in the Boxers' loss to Pacific Lutheran. A week after that, Minaya set more single game records with 442 passing yards and 454 yards of total offense in the 42-20 win over Lewis & Clark on Oct. 27.
Caleb Roher and Kelson Kawai proved to be Minaya's favorite targets, both earning honorable mention nods to the All-NWC Team. Roher led the Boxers with 34 receptions for 489 yards. He ranked ninth in the NWC with 14.4 yards per catch, 11th with his five touchdowns and 12th with an average of 54.3 yards per game. Roher topped his season with seven catches for 150 yards against Lewis & Clark on Oct. 27 and had a two-touchdown day against Puget Sound on Oct. 6. Roher also spent the first half of the season as the Boxers' primary kickoff return specialist and finished ranked 19th among Division III players with 26.07 yards per return.
Kawai finished second for the Boxers with 442 yards and led the team and ranked seventh in the NWC with six touchdowns. His best game was the 42-20 win over Lewis & Clark on Oct. 27 as Kawai caught five passes for 151 yards and three touchdowns. The three scoring passes were bombs as Kawai scored on passes of 42 yards, 49 yards and 59 yards.
While not earning all-conference accolades, Jakob Lawrence also played a key role in the Boxers' success in the air game. Lawrence finished third for the Boxers with an average of 46.2 yards per game and 13.4 yards per catch. His best effort came against Willamette on Nov. 3 when he caught five passes for 112 yards and a touchdown.
GROUND GAME: A big key for Pacific's success was a marked improvement in the Boxers' rushing game. After averaging 50.4 yards per game in 2011, the Boxers averaged 109 yards per game in 2012. Pacific finished with five games of 100 or more yards on the ground and had their best rushing performance since the 2010 reinstatement with 250 yards and three touchdowns in the win over Puget Sound on Oct. 5.
Sophomore Bobby Ladiges closed out the season as the Boxers' top rusher over the first three years of the program, averaging 43.3 yards per game and scoring four touchdowns on the ground. He had a season-best 70 yards rushing, including a season-long 22-yard carry, and a touchdown in the victory over Puget Sound. Ladiges finished the season with five games with 50 rushing yards or more.
Gunther Schultze and Deven McKinney also played roles in the success of the run game. Schultze averaged 25.9 yards per game and 4.2 yards per carry paced by a 61-yard performance against Lewis & Clark. McKinney averaged 24 yards per game and 4.3 yards per carry. His season high came in a 48-yard performance at Puget Sound.
Villareal-Gomez, a Second Team All-NWC selection this season, set the Pacific single season mark in 2012 with 28 point-after attempts made, surpassing the 25 made by Cub Shulund in 1986. He was perfect on all of his attempts in 2012 and has made all but two during his Pacific career for a 95.7 PAT accuracy percentage. His total of 45 point-after attempts made so far in his career has surpassed the previous record of 44 set by Shulund from 1986 to 1987. In addition, Villareal-Gomez set a single game record when he made all eight point-after attempts against Puget Sound on Oct. 6.
In addition, Villareal-Gomez tied a single season record with 10 field goals made this season, tying the record mark set by Kevin Buckner in 1988. He made 10 of 13 field goal attempts, including a season-long 41-yard attempt against Willamette on Nov. 3. The 10 brought Villareal-Gomez to 16 for his career, surpassing the previous career record of 14 set by Willie Brosseau between 1976 and 1979.
Villareal-Gomez finished the year as the best place-kicker in the NWC and the nation. The only place-kicker named to the top-two All-Northwest Conference teams, Villareal-Gomez finished second in the NWC with 10 field goals made and 13 attempts and third in points scored with 52. He finished ranked 17th among NCAA Division III kickers with an average of 1.11 field goals made per game.
FOURTH DOWN PROTECTION: When Pacific was forced to kick the ball away to their opponent, Aaron Koford made sure that the next possession would not start in good field position. The junior led the NWC with an average of 39.1 yards per punt, was third with his 1,602 yards punting and fourth with a total of 41 punts. Of those, 10 punts landed inside the 20-yard line and two were 50 yards or longer.
Koford earned Honorable Mention All-NWC honors for his leg, averaging over 40 yards per punt in four of the Boxers' nine games. He finished with an average of 43.4 yards per punt on nine punts in the Boxers' season finale at Linfield on Nov. 10.
Pacific shined defensively when it came to stopping the run. The Boxers ranked 29th in Division III in rushing defense, holding opponents to 104.11 yards per game. Pacific was also ranked 96th nationally in sacks, getting to the opposing quarterbacks an average of two times per game.
Linebacker Tim Hastie earned First Team All-NWC honors for his work in the Pacific defense. He finished second for the Boxers with 55 tackles, had 5.5 tackles for loss and two sacks. Defensive back Josh Brinkworth led the NWC in tackles for much of the season, finishing second in the league with his team-leading 71 tackles. He also finished with 3.5 tackles for loss, an interception and three forced fumbles.
Defensive lineman Devin Lagorio was tagged as an honorable mention to the All-NWC Team for the second consecutive year. He was responsible for 23 tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss and a blocked kick. Safety Bryan Mills also repeated as an honorable mention choice. He finished third for the Boxers with 52 tackles while leading the NWC with seven passes broken up. He also led the Boxers with two interceptions, both of which came against Lewis & Clark on Oct. 27.
A RARE PLAY HAPPENS AGAIN: When Bryan Mills accomplished the feat in 2011, the defensive two-point conversion that he scored was considered rare enough that it made ESPN's SportsCenter. Yet it happened to the Boxers again in 2012. This time the play came in the Boxers' game against Pacific Lutheran on Oct. 13. Devin Lagorio was responsible once again for the blocked kick, which bounced back to the 20-yard line. Fast cornerback Craig Bailey picked up the ball and sped to the opposite end zone for the score. View The Play
BOXERS MAKE ESPN AGAIN: While it wasn't the second two-point conversion, Pacific football found themselves making a highlight package by the Worldwide Leader of Sports for the second consecutive year. This time, it was a "flea flicker" trick play that landed the Boxers on appearance of ESPN's SportsNation.
In Pacific's loss to Willamette on Nov. 3, Pacific pulled a couple of trick plays out of the playbook. With 4:51 left in the second quarter, quarterback P.J. Minaya handed off to running back Gunther Schultze. After running three yards, Schultze pitched back to Minaya, who threw the ball to an open Jakob Lawrence for a 34-yard touchdown reception. The play was featured in SportsNation's "Weird Web Stories," and was the featured video in which the show's host are asked to predict what happens in the clip. View The Play
ATTENDANCE HOLDS STRONG: For the third consecutive year, Pacific fans made their presence known strongly at Lincoln Park Stadium. Pacific finished 102nd among Division III teams in attendance, averaging 1,931 fans per game over four games. The Boxers ranked fourth among Northwest Conference teams in home attendance. Pacific Lutheran led the way, ranking 36th nationally after averaging 2,825 fans per game in four games.
Overall Record: 3-6
NWC Record/Finish: 2-4 (5th)
Home Record: 0-4 Away Record: 3-2
First Team All-Northwest Conference: Sean Dalton (OL), Tim Hastie (LB)
Second Team All-Northwest Conference: Josh Brinkworth (DB), Moses Villareal-Gomez (K)
Honorable Mention All-Northwest Conference: P.J. Minaya (QB), Kelson Kawai (WR), Caleb Roher (WR), Eric Gietzen (OL), Devin Lagorio (DL), Bryan Mills (S), Aaron Koford (P).
NWC Offensive Student-Athlete of the Week: P.J. Minaya (Week of Oct. 1-7, Week of Oct. 22-28)
NWC Special Teams Student-Athlete of the Week: Moses Villareal-Gomez (Week of Sept. 3-9, Week of Oct. 1-7), Aaron Koford (Week of Nov. 5-11)
D3Football.com Team of the Week: Bryan Mills (Week of Oct. 22-28)
RECORDS BROKEN/TIED IN 2012
Passing Yards, Game: P.J. Minaya, 442 at Lewis & Clark, Oct. 27 (previous 406, T.C. Campbell vs. Menlo, 2010)
Pass Completions, Game: P.J. Minaya, 32 vs. Pacific Lutheran, Oct. 13 (previous 30, Brent Smith vs. Linfield, 1986 and Frank Buckiewicz, Jr., vs. Linfield, 1976)
Total Offense, Game: 454, P.J. Minaya at Lewis & Clark, Oct. 27 (previous 411, Ralph Nickerson vs. Whitman, 1976)
PAT Kicks Made, Game: 8, Moses Villareal-Gomez at Puget Sound, Oct. 6 (previous 7, Frank Buckiewicz, Jr., vs. Whitman, 1975, and Lloyd Little vs. College of Idaho, 1972)
Pass Completion Percentage, Season: 64.0, P.J. Minaya (previous 59.4, T.C. Campbell, 2010)
Passing Yards Per Game, Season: 250.9, P.J. MInaya (previous 173.3, Ralph Nickerson, 1975)
PAT Kicks Made, Season: Moses Villareal-Gomez, 28 (previous 25, Cub Shulund, 1986)
Field Goals Made, Season: Moses Villareal-Gomez, 10 (tied with Kevin Buckner, 1988)
PAT Kicks Made, Career: 45 Moses Villareal-Gomez, 2011-12 (previous 44, Cub Shulund, 1986-87)
Field Goals Made, Career: 16, Moses Villareal-Gomez, 2011-12 (previous 14, Willie Brosseau, 1976-79)
Passing Yards, Game: 442 at Lewis & Clark, Oct. 27 (previous 405 vs. Menlo, 2010)
Pass Completions, Game: 32 vs. Pacific Lutheran, Oct. 13 (tied with 32 vs. Pacific Lutheran, 2011, and vs. Linfield, 1976)
Total Offense, Game: 607 at Lewis & Clark, Oct. 27 (previous 587 vs. Whitman, 1972)
Total Offense, Season: 3,561 (previous 3,423, 1986)
Average Total Offense, Season: 395.7 (previous 380.3, 1986)