PORTLAND, Ore. -- In front of alumni, families and friends on-hand for Homecoming 2015, the Lewis & Clark Pioneers scored on the game's first drive and posted 21 points in the fourth quarter in a 49-28 loss to the Pacific Boxers on Saturday afternoon at Griswold Stadium.
Starting quarterback Niko Fortino went 6 of 6 on the Pios' first possession, the last of which was to freshman Dejour Williams in the back left corner of the end zone to put Lewis & Clark out front 7-0. Fortino kept the play alive by rolling to his left and throwing over the top of a defensive back to hit Williams for his sixth passing touchdown of the season.
Williams finished the game with six catches, 83 yards and two touchdowns. He now has four scores in his freshman season.
Lewis & Clark continued the drive despite a lengthy injury timeout when junior offensive lineman Jacob Lewis left the game, wheeled on a stretcher in a seated position. He was applauded by the crowd and exchanged high fives and handshakes with teammates on his way to an ambulance.
The Boxers were held scoreless on their first two drives before scoring on the final play of the first quarter when Northwest Conference passing touchdown leader Warner Shaw threw a screen pass to Nathan Suyematsu who took it 67 yards for a touchdown.
Pacific scored on its next three first half possessions and two of the first three in the second half to build a 42-7 lead. Shaw finished the game with four passing touchdowns, two to Suyematsu, one to Jason Smith and another to Chad Aragon. Suyematsu finished with a game-high 122 yards receiving.
Lewis & Clark started the fourth quarter with the football and freshman quarterback Mike Machado in the game. On the second play of the drive, he hit Daniel Dennis for a 29-yard gain to the Pacific 48-yard line before Dennis caught a tipped pass intended for Williams at the Boxers 9-yard line. A Pacific penalty moved the ball to the 5-yard line and Machado kept the ball on a zone read play to score his first rushing touchdown of the season, making the score 42-14.
Three plays after Bronson Barretto returned the ensuing kickoff 35 yards to the Lewis & Clark 48-yard line, Shaw found James Berry for a 38-yard gain. Barretto scored on the next play from three yards out, extending the Boxers lead to 49-14.
Machado started the Pios next drive with a 16-yard completion to Carl Appleton before stepping up in the pocket to squeeze a pass between two defenders to Kristian Grobecker on the right sideline for 33 yards.
After passing to Williams for no gain on a screen pass, Machado ran to his left and spun twice out of pressure in the backfield before throwing a ball to Williams at the Pacific 10-yard line. Williams kept himself off the ground, ran downfield and dived into the end zone for a 26-yard touchdown, making the score 49-21.
The Pios closed out the game with a 5-play, 46-yard drive, scoring on a Josh Bocker 1-yard touchdown run. The score was setup by freshman Bryce Johnson (pictured right) who made a one-handed, 30-yard catch.
With Lewis & Clark trailing 49-28 and 0:43 remaining in the game, Dennis Kamakana recovered a Colin Brown onside kick on the next play, but Lewis & Clark was penalized for an illegal formation. The Pioneers tried again, but Pacific fielded the ball successfully and ended the game.
"I'm happy with the fight to the end," said the junior Appleton who played in his first Homecoming football game. "When things go wrong, we're not going against each other. We're coming back to the drawing board, seeing what happened and staying positive and moving forward. Eventually, we're going to put it all together."
"A lot of promise is what we see there [in the fourth quarter]," said Lewis & Clark head coach Jay Locey after the game. "We have some good young kids, and to get out there and to be hungry and make plays - it maybe wasn't quite how it was drawn up, but nonetheless, they made plays.
"Machado got some magic and the kids responded with some great catches."
Fortino finished 15 of 27 for 157 yards and a touchdown, while Machado threw a career-high 15 times, completing 10 for 191 yards and a score. Machado also had the rushing touchdown.
Barretto led the Boxers with 68 yards rushing and two touchdowns. Greg Alip added 50 yards on 10 carries, with Kamana Pimental adding 27 yards and a touchdown. Eric Hawkins was Lewis & Clark's leading rusher with 11 carries for 23 yards, but the Pios were outrushed 146 to minus-28 in the game.
Lewis & Clark finished with 348 passing yards while the Boxers threw for 262.
Appleton had six catches for 83 yards, while Grobecker added four receptions for 61 yards.
Defensively, the linebacking corp for Lewis & Clark was productive, led by Stein Retzlaff and Remington Campbell. Retzlaff finished with 11 tackles, nine of which were solo and three for losses, while Campbell had 10 tackles including seven solo. Retzlaff also had the Pios' only sack of the game.
Trey Kodama led Pacific with nine tackles, as the Boxers sacked Lewis & Clark quarterbacks seven times, three of which were by defensive end Jeff Bajema.
There were no turnovers in the game and time of possession was nearly even, but Lewis & Clark was penalized nine times for 74 yards, while Pacific had five for 39 yards.
The defeat keeps Lewis & Clark winless on the season with four games remaining. The next is at home on Oct. 24 when the Pioneers face upstart Puget Sound. The Loggers, which haven't had a winning season since 2006, are 3-2 overall and 2-1 in the NWC. Puget Sound defeated George Fox 43-35 on Saturday.
Other Northwest Conference Scores - Saturday
Linfield 49, Willamette 7
Whitworth 32, Pacific Lutheran 7
Puget Sound 43, George Fox 35