Coyotes Make Fourth Quarter Stops To Stun Boxers In Opener

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FOREST GROVE – In their last game before discontinuing their program in 1977, College of Idaho held off a two-point conversion attempt by Pacific with two seconds left to beat the Boxers 24-23.
Saturday's opener for the Boxers had an ironically similar result as Coyotes' quarterback Teejay Gordon rushed for his third touchdown of the game with 9:25 left and then held off two Pacific comeback attempts to stun the Boxers 35-34 at Hanson Stadium.
"I think through and through our inexperience showed today," head coach Keith Buckley said of a team with a lot of new faces after the departure of 38 seniors following last season.  "On special teams, offensively, defensively, there was some deer in the headlights looks across the board.  Unfortunately, we ended up losing today because of that inexperience and some of those mistakes.
Warner Shaw (Jr., Waimea, Hawaii), making his first career start, completed 16 of 25 for 244 yards and three touchdowns.  Jakob Lawrence (Sr., Sherwood, Ore.) had a great afternoon receiving, making six receptions for 156 yards and three scored.  Bobby Ladiges (Jr., Escalon, Calif.) had a solid day on the ground, carrying 10 times for 89 yards and a touchdown, averaging nearly nine yards per rush.
College of Idaho (1-0) outgained Pacific on offense 433 to 413, but did it's most damage on the ground with four players rushing for 238 yards and four touchdowns.  Gordon led the way, carrying 14 times for 137 yards a three scores in addition to completing 14 of 22 passes for 195 yards.  Zach Garzoli rushed 27 times for 79 yards and a touchdown.  Wes Fitzpatrick caught seven balls for 123 yards.
Winning the coin flip, the Coyotes proceeded to score first with an efficient 14-play, 84-yard drive that mostly featured the running abilities of Garzoli.  He scored C of I's first touchdown of the program's return, pushing through on a one-yard run to give the visitors a 7-0 lead eight minutes into the first quarter.
After trading drives for the remainder of the quarter, College of Idaho made another charge into Pacific territory.  This time, however, the Pacific defense forced the Coyotes to turn the ball over on downs at the Boxers' 20-yard line with five minutes gone.  Pacific finally hit paydirt on their next series, thanks to the feet of Kamana Pimnetal (So., Kaneohe, Hawaii) and Ladiges, who combined for seven rushes in the four-minute drive.  Ladiges' 17-yard run with 6:52 left in the second quarter tied the game at 7-7.
College of Idaho went to the hurry-up game to score their second touchdown with 55 seconds left in the first half, with Teejay Gordon rushing in from three yards out to complete a two-minute, 63-yard drive.  Pacific, however, proved even quicker to tie just before time expired. Lawrence's 36-yard reception from Shaw started the 36-second drive, and Lawrence closed it with a 12-yard reception that tied it at 14-14 going into the locker room.
Pacific scored first in the second half, with Shaw finding Lawrence for a 33-yard scoring strike with seven minutes gone to make it 21-14.  Then came two back-to-back kickoff returns.  Elijah Carter was first for the College of Idaho, hugging the near sideline to run 87 yards for the touchdown. 
Pacific's Bronson Barretto (Jr., Kaneohe, Hawaii) replied immediately, dodging four tackles to run the C of I kickoff back 95 yards for the score.  It was the first kickoff return for a touchdown since the Pacific program returned in 2010 and the third longest kickoff return in program history.
The Coyotes tied the game again on their next drive, grinding out 78 yards primarily on the run.  Gordon scored his second touchdown of the game, running in from five yards with 3:39 left as the teams took the 28-28 deadlock into the fourth quarter.  Gordon then ran for for what would be the winning score with 9:25 to go, rushing from 19 yards for the touchdown as the Coyotes took a 35-28 lead.
Pacific needed just two-and-a-half minutes to strike back, with Shaw finding Lawrence again on a 41-yard bomb with 6:43 left, but Moses Villareal-Gomez (Sr., Stockton, Calif.) saw his extra-point attempt blocked to keep the Coyotes ahead 35-34.
The Boxers then took advantage of a great stroke of luck, fielding the ensuing kickoff after it went untouched by College of Idaho at the Coyotes' nine-yard line.  Pacific could not convert, however, as Villareal-Gomez missed a 33-yard attempt with 5:07 in which he apparently got hurt and did not return to the game. 
Pacific had one more shot to win it with an eight-play, 54-yard drive in the final three minutes, but two pass attempts inside the 10-yard line went incomplete.  With Villareal-Gomez hurt, the Boxers look to newcomer T.J. Fitzsimmons (Fr., Waialua, Hawaii) for a 25-yard field goal attempt with 22 seconds left, but College of Idaho blocked the kick and proceeded to run out the clock.
Buckley felt like the Boxers did their best at the end to set themselves up for the win.  "We took our shot at the endzone on third down to try and win the game, but we didn't," Buckley said.  "I think we did a very good job of managing the clock and setting ourselves up to win and not leaving College of Idaho time on the clock."
Jack Perez (Jr., Petaluma, Calif.) had a big day for Pacific on defense, finishing with 16 tackles and two tackles for loss.  Brandon Harms (Sr., Canby, Ore.) finished with nine tackles.  Kyle Cothern led College of Idaho with 10 tackles.
Pacific will have a bye week before preparing to hear east for a Sat., Sept. 20, matchup at the University of Dubuque.  The College of Idaho plays their home opener next weekend, hosting Montana Western.
BOXER BYTES: Heat was a factor in the game with kickoff temperature at 88 degrees…Perez's 16 tackles for the Boxers is the most by a single player since the return of the program in 2010…Barretto's 95-yard kick return for a touchdown was eclipsed in the Pacific record book only by a pair of 97-yard returns by Jerry Millis vs. Willamette in 1952 and Tony Warren vs. Whitman in 1970…Pacific is now 1-3 against NAIA programs since 2010…Pacific University trustee Rich Hanson and his wife, Joy, conducted the coin flip prior to the game.  The Hansons were honored for their contributions to the new roof over Pacific's football stadium, which now bears their name.

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