FOREST GROVE, Ore. – The rain and the final score did little to dampen the celebratory atmosphere of the first Pacific home football game in 19 years Saturday as 2,715 fans cheered loud to the end of a 37-9 Boxers' loss to Claremont-Mudd-Scripps at Lincoln Park Stadium.
While the Boxers found scoring hard to come by against a solid Stags' defense, that did little to dampen the mood of a Pacific crowd excited to see the team take the field. Tailgaters packed a nearby parking lot by 10 a.m. and over 100 people were lined up for tickets when the stadium box offices opened at noon. Fans roared to their feet when the Boxers took the field just before the game, welcomed by an Oregon National Guard cannon shot for extra measure.
"I think this was a win for the University and for the City of Forest Grove," Head Coach Keith Buckley said of the game and the atmosphere surrounding the contest. "It's great to have football back on campus and have the support of the faculty and students here on campus. I look forward to getting the first win for them here soon."
The party definitely overshadowed a performance that saw Pacific (0-2) limited to 201 yards of total offense, 176 yards in the air, and just 10 first downs. P.J Minaya (Fr., Waihawa, Hawaii) led the Boxers by going 9 for 14 for 117 yards as the Boxers once again played three quarterbacks. Jordan Fukumoto (Fr., Mililani, Hawaii) caught five of those passes for 53 yards.
Davis Jacobs (Fr., Tigard, Ore.) rushed 16 times for a game-high 69 yards, but the Boxers found themselves limited to just 25 yards on the ground.
"This was an experience-building opportunity for our team today," Buckley said. "With such a young group, we have to continually work on starting at game speed. There are a lot a positive things that we can take away and build on, but no one ever said this would come easy."
Much like their opener against Puget Sound two weeks ago, Pacific found themselves caught up in the jitters of all the firsts taking place around them. The Boxers fumbled three plays into the game, which the Stags (2-0) converted into a one-yard Alex Wheatley run to go up 7-0 just four minutes into the contest. Claremont scored again on their next series, with Spencer Clark connecting on a one-yard run to make it a 14-0 lead.
Pacific got on the board on their next series as Jacobs scored on a 25-yard run, the Boxers' longest rush of the game. Jon Lee (Sr., Kahalu'u, Hawaii) saw his PAT kick blocked and the Boxers trailed 21-6 after the first quarter.
A solid run defense, coupled by a couple of key Pacific mistakes, allowed the Stags to break it open in the second quarter. Claremont held Pacific to two three-and-out series to open the period, but the Boxers thwarted a six-play Claremont drive of their own to take over deep in their own territory. A sack of T.C. Campbell (Fr., Kaimuki, Hawaii) and a Jacobs' fumble allowed the Stags take over at the Pacific 2-yard-line. Peter Kimmey then needed just two plays to score on a 1-yard-run.
Kimmey then found Clark on their next offensive series, connecting on a 25-yard pass play to make it a 28-6 Claremont lead. Lee added three for Pacific as time expired, kicking a season-long 42-yard field goal to make it a 28-9 halftime deficit.
After a defensive minded third quarter, Claremont broke into the end zone again to open the fourth as Freddie Levine scored on a 7-yard-run to give the Stags the 34-9 lead. Jordan Santo closed scoring for the Stags with 1:47 left, putting through a 26-yard field goal.
Kimmey completed 5 of 8 for 95 yards and a touchdown as the Stags passed to 161 yards. Clark caught three of those passes for 57 yards and a touchdown. Clark was also the team's leading rush with 52 yards on 12 carries to finish with 109 all-purpose yards.
Bryan Mills (Fr., Imbler, Ore.) and Marc Moody (Jr., Ewa Beach, Hawaii) led Pacific defensively with six tackles apiece. Moody had two tackles for loss, a sack and a forced fumble. Corbin Tognoni led Claremont with 6.5 tackles, which Erick Janicki had four tackles for loss, all sacks, for a loss of 24 yards.
The Boxers will have a week off before jumping into their first Northwest Conference season since 1984. Pacific plays at Lewis & Clark on Sat., Oct. 2, with kickoff scheduled for 1:45 p.m. Claremont will also take next week off, returning to action on Oct. 2 at home against La Verne.
BOXER BYTES: Pacific and City of Forest Grove officials, along with major donors to the re-start of the Pacific program, were honored in a pre-game ceremony. Three of the major donors, Rich & Joy Hansen and Steve Stanich, participated in the opening coin flip…Over 75 Pacific football alumni in attendance were recognized at halftime…Jim & Pam Ross, the parents of the late Eric Ross, were recognized at the end of the third quarter. Eric Ross passed away in 1994 from injuries suffered in a 1991 game against Western Washington and was the focus of a column in Friday's edition of The Oregonian. The Ross family was welcomed with a standing ovation.