PORTLAND, Ore. -The Lewis & Clark football team continued their best season in years securing a 31-10 victory over the Menlo Oaks. It is the first time the Pioneers have defeated Menlo as well as the first time the Pioneers have had a winning record through five games since the 2003 season. The 3-0 start at their home field as well as the three total wins are also the best start for Lewis & Clark since 2003.
The game started slow for both teams as they struggled to find yards on offense. Both teams went scoreless through the first quarter and more than halfway through the second. Menlo shut down any sort of momentum for the Pioneers while Lewis & Clark came up with a clutch interception in the end zone from Logan Kotzian holding the game at 0-0.
The Pioneers got on the board first with a five yard touchdown run by Keith Welch. A fumble recovered by Lewis & Clark's Chuck Krause on the first play of the Oaks next drive gave the Pioneers good field position. 15 seconds later Welch dashed for a 24 yard touchdown to put the Pioneers up 14-0. Menlo mounted a long four and half minute drive after the touchdown that ended in a 19 yard field goal by Kevin Kurtz. The score at the end of half was 14-3 in favor of Lewis & Clark.
The third quarter started very much like the beginning of the game with both teams going three and out without much offensive production. The Pioneers finally mounted a good drive and put three more points on the scoreboard as Simon Monley kicked a 34 yard field goal with just over two minutes left in the third quarter. Menlo answered back quickly with a 56 yard Strike from quarterback Taylor Congdon to a wide open Kenny Cavness. The extra point put the score at 17-10 Lewis & Clark.
With the score tightening and the game going in to the fourth quarter the Pioneer offense came to life. Two minutes later the Pioneers found the end zone on a 42 yard pass from Welch to wide receiver Kevin Carpenter. Lewis & Clark again found the end zone seven minutes later on a seven yard run by Welch putting the game at 31-10. That would be enough as the Pioneer defense stepped up not allowing a single point from the Oaks in the fourth quarter.
The Pioneer defense once again had a solid game allowing only ten points while having five sacks and causing three turnovers. Leading the defense was Louis Baltazar with 13 tackles, three tackles for loss, one sack, a forced fumble, and a pass deflection. Just behind Baltazar were Dan Curtin and Chris Kelly with 12 tackles and nine tackles respectively. Justin Fabrick had two sacks on the day as well as five tackles and a forced fumble. Also recording sacks were Angus Blair and Matthew Lettunich.
The Oaks' defense was led by freshman Jeff Dye who recorded eight tackles, four tackles for loss, and a sack. Also on defense, Greig O'Connor had six tackles and a tackle for a loss while Shawn Winters had five tackles and a sack.
Offensively, the oaks were led by Congdon, Cavness, and running back Payton Bell. Congdon was eight of fifteen passing for 158 yards and one touchdown while Cavness was on the receiving end leading the team with 101 yards on three catches. Bell led Menlo in rushing with 93 yards on 22 carries.
The Pioneers were led by Welch who showed once again he can produce on the ground as well as through the air. Welch threw for 165 yards and a touchdown on nine of twenty two passing. Welch also led the team in rushing with 156 yards and three touchdowns on 21 carries. Shawn Evans led the team in receiving with 3 catches for 73 yards while Carpenter had the one touchdown reception.
The Pioneers take the field again in two weeks on Oct. 23rd at Puget Sound with a start time of 1:00pm.