Biggest rushing day since 2013 sparks Pios to win

Photo by Ben Ritter
Photo by Ben Ritter

WHITTIER, Calif. -- The Lewis & Clark Pioneers had more rushing yards on Saturday in their 46-27 win over the Whittier Poets than in any season since 2013. The result was their most points since that same game - a 60-30 win over Puget Sound on Oct. 5, 2013 - and their first victory of the 2018 season.

Sophomore Michael Abraham nearly hit the 200-yard rushing mark with 198 yards on 18 carries for an average of 11 yards per rush. Abraham's performance was the most rushing yards by a Northwest Conference running back since Chidubem Nnoli of Linfield tallied 197 in a 2017 game against Willamette. Abraham finished with three rushes of 15 yards or more including a 76-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter that gave the Pioneers their first two-possession lead of the game.

Lewis & Clark (1-1) trailed 13-7 after the first quarter before taking the lead in the second. The Pios fell behind again 27-20 in the third before scoring 26 unanswered points in the fourth. The win is the second-in-a-row for the Pios on the road in southern California after a 40-29 win at Pomona-Pitzer last year.

Key Moments

Dejour Williams, who is second in the NWC in receptions per game, had his second straight nine-reception game and scored the first Pioneers touchdown on Lewis & Clark's opening possession. The Pios had back-to-back 12-play touchdown drives over their first two possessions, the second of which was capped off by Caden Voges' 1-yard touchdown run, his first career rushing touchdown. Voges contributed to four touchdowns on the day with three passing TDs, a career high.

Lewis & Clark took its largest lead of the game to that point on Abraham's 1-yard touchdown run with 12:15 remaining in the third quarter. Whittier (0-2) scored on back-to-back drives to gain the 27-20 edge with 40 seconds left in the third before the Pios went on their fourth-quarter tear.

Kevin Johnson caught his first career touchdown on a 14-yard reception before Dallas Garreaud hauled in an 8-yard TD. Abraham then had touchdown runs of 76 and 11 yards.

The Pioneers finished plus-1 in turnover ratio because of a Whittier fumble on the kickoff following Lewis & Clark's touchdown that tied the game 27-27 on the first possession of the fourth quarter. Pete Lahti added an interception with 5:20 remaining.

Deeper Look

  • Williams, a senior, surpassed 1,100 yards receiving for his career (1,139) and scored his 10th career touchdown
  • Abraham's three touchdowns in one game is a career high and gives him five for his career
  • The scheduled offensive line starters were Maka Ah Loo, Kalae Wong, Mercury Compagno, Devon Franklin and Davis Blackmon
  • Last season, the Pioneers blocked for the most rushing yards by a running back since 2008 when Abraham finished with 469
  • Lahti led the Pioneers with six total tackles followed by Makana LaBoy and Cameron Chang (five each)
  • Chang, a sophomore, forced a fumble for the first time his career after an interception last week
  • Ramonne Canales and Chang each had two sacks, which is a new career high for Canales in a single game and matches Chang's career high
  • Among the NWC's top five receivers in yards per game, Garreaud had six receptions to bring him to 50 for his career
  • Lewis & Clark has at least two takeaways in four straight non-conference games
  • The Pioneers amassed 31 first downs and went 82 percent (9 of 11) on third down while holding the Poets to 2 for 8 on third-down conversions
  • With 528 total yards, the Pios had their most since totaling 588 in a 56-30 loss to Willamette on Oct 19, 2013
  • Voges, who was the NWC's leader in completion percentage following the Pios' first game, went 27 of 37 for his second 70-plus percent game in a row
  • Freshman Hayden Moses took his first career field-goal attempt, which was blocked from 36 yards out

Looking Ahead

The Pioneers have their bye week before opening Northwest Conference games at Willamette on Sept. 29.