By Robert McKinney, Assistant Athletics Director, Communications
SALEM, Ore. -- Lewis & Clark running back Michael Abraham, a 6 foot 3 inch, 230-pound sophomore, carried the ball 19 times for 111 yards and three touchdowns to lead the Pioneers to a 39-21 victory against Willamette University on Saturday, Sept. 29 at McCulloch Stadium. Abraham scored twice in the first quarter, as L&C rallied from a 7-0 deficit to take a 13-7 lead. He scored his third touchdown in the third quarter to complete a 13-play, 78-yard drive.
The Pioneers improved to 2-1 on the season, 1-0 in the Northwest Conference. Willamette fell to 1-2 overall, 0-1 in the NWC.
For Willamette, quarterback Mathew Castaneda (Jr., QB, Salinas, CA/Salinas HS) completed 33 of 59 passes for 284 yards and two touchdowns. He added 55 rushing yards on 11 carries. The Pioneers intercepted Castaneda three times, including two that were returned for touchdowns. L&C quarterback Caden Voges was intercepted twice by the Bearcats while completing 12 of 21 passes for 203 yards and one touchdown.
Dejour Williams of Lewis & Clark caught seven passes for 105 yards. Jeremiah James (Gr./Sr., WR, Salem, OR/South Salem HS/Chemeketa CC) of Willamette hauled in eight passes for 77 yards, while Michael Hamp (Fr., WR, Rocklin, CA/Whitney HS) caught eight passes for 76 yards and one touchdown. Anthony Sammut (Sr., WR, Gilroy CA/Christopher HS/Minot St. Univ./Gavilan College) grabbed eight passes for 47 yards.
"We need to be more consistent with our execution," Willamette Head Coach Glen Fowles commented. "Offensively, we have to be able to finish drives, and on defense, we need to be sure we fit correctly."
Willamette took the opening kickoff and drove 60 yards on four plays. The drive was ofificially four plays, but it began with a false start penalty and a holding penalty that pushed WU into a 1st-and-25 situation at its own 25-yard line. On second down, L&C was called for pass interference, giving the Bearcats a first down at the Willamette 38. Two plays later, Castaneda hit James with a 29-yard pass down to the Pioneer's 32-yard line. Castaneda then connected with Hamp on a 32-yard touchdown strike. KayLyn Stirton (Sr.So., PK, Cottonwood, CAWest Valley HS) kicked the extra point for a 7-0 lead.
The Pioneers answered with an 8-play, 70-yard drive. The big play during the drive was a 36-yard pass from Voges to Dejour to the Willamette 10. On 4th-and-goal from the 2-yard line, Abraham took a handoff from Voges and was soon met by several Bearcats behind the line of scrimmage. Somehow, he kept moving and was helped by teammates as he eventually reached the goal line. The extra point kick by Dallas Garreaud went wide right, as WU remained in front, 7-6.
Abraham scored scored his second touchdown of the opening quarter with 0:44 left on the clock. He ran into the end zone on a 15-yard carry. Garreaud kicked the conversion.
Lewis & Clark registered the only touchdown of the second quarter on an 8-play, 99-yard drive. The possession began after a quick-kick punt by Castaneda on 4th-and-15 for WU at the L&C 35. The punt was downed by the Bearcats at the 1-yard line. During the drive, Voges completed 6 of 7 passes for 92 yards. One of the completions was to Zondre Faraj-Washington for 33 yards to the Bearcat's 27-yard line. Two plays later, Voges found Garreaud with a 20-yard touchdown pass. Garreaud added the PAT, and the Pioneers took a 20-7 lead into halftime.
In the third quarter, L&C scored three times to extend its lead to 39-7. The first touchdown was on a 28-yard interception return by Pete Lahti following an unusual tipped pass. Castaneda began the play by throwing low toward a receiver. As the receiver dove, the ball bounced off one of the receiver's legs and ricocheted toward Lahti. L&C's second touchown in the third quarter was earned on a 1-yard urn by Abraham at the 4:26 mark. Five plays later, Castaneda was intercepted by Randy Manewa at the L&C 38. Manewa returned the pick 62 yards to the end zone. Garreaud missed two of three extra points during the quarter.
Willamette scored two touchdowns in the fourth quarter. Matt Stone (Sr., RB, Brainbrige Island, WA/Bainbridge HS/Eastern Oregon Univ.) scampered into the end zone on a 4-yard run with 9:09 left to finsh an 11-play, 67-yard drive. A key plaay duringthe drive was a 17-yard pass from Castaneda to Hamp on 3rd-and-4 at the L&C 21-yard line. On Willamette's next possession, the Bearcats drove 35-yard on seven plays. Kodiak Hussey (Fr., WR, Idaho Falls, ID/Skyline HS) earned the touchdown on a 9-yard catch near the front corner of the end zone.
Stirton kicked both extra points to finish the game 3 for 3 on PATs. She is now 6 for 7 on extra point kicks this season.
The Willamette tackle chart was topped by Alec Stevenson (Jr., LB, Malibu, CA/Calabasas HS) with nine total tackles, including eight unassisted tackles. Jackson Lewis (Sr., LB, Yakima, WA/A.C. Davis HS) added seven total tackles with six unassisted stops. Makana LaBoy and James Tostado were each credited with six ttoal tackles for Lewis & Clark.
L&C gained 395 total yards, while the Bearcats finished with 356 yards of offense. The Pioneers attained 23 first downs and Willamette earned 20 first downs.
The Bearcats will play at Linfield College on Saturday, Oct. 6. Game time in McMinnville, Oregon, is slated for 1:30 p.m. (PDT).