FOREST GROVE, Ore. — If there was one thing that rang consistent for Pacific in its first three football games this year was that a slow start meant catch up was required to win. Two times that happened, once it didn't. Today, the Boxers flew out of the blocks and never looked back in putting a 34-7 hurt on Pacific Lutheran in the Northwest Conference opener for both teams. Pacific improved to 3-1 overall while the Lutes are now 0-3. Maybe the fourth time is a charm. "The kids deserve a ton of credit, because they know it has been an issue and they worked hard to rectify that," said head coach Keith Buckley after the game. "I could tell at breakfast today that they were ready to play and get started early." It couldn't have been scripted much better for Buckley and the Boxers in the first quarter, in front of 2,710 Homecoming fans. After the Pacific defense forced a three-and-out on Pacific Lutheran's first drive, the home team went to work. Ten plays later, they had moved the ball 76 yards in just over five minutes of play and capped the drive with a one-yard leap into the end zone by Greg Alip. Before the end of the quarter, the Boxers would score in a different way. This time they used the quick strike, with quarterback Warner Shaw hitting Jason Smith on a 54-yard catch and run for a score. That drive went five plays and 90 yards. "By design, that is the kind of team that we want to be," Buckley said. "We want to be able to take chunks off the clock and march down the field on one hand, and then be able to make a big play on the other." The Boxers added two Alex Beekman field goals in the second quarter, one from 27 yards and the other from 42, making the count 20-0 at the break. Of course, the defense had much to do with that score. In the first 30 minutes, the Lutes had just 136 yards of total offense, and 45 of that was on a fake punt and run. "Our defense stood out a lot to me today," Buckley continued. "We challenged the defensive line to get after the quarterback and they did." For the game, the Boxers sacked PLU quarterback Jon Schaub six times for a total of 32 yards in losses. The Boxers received the kick to open the second half and essentially put the nail in the coffin early with a 13-play, 76-yard drive that culminated in a scoring pass from Shaw to Smith again, this time for nine yards to make it 27-0. Pacific added another clock grinding drive to begin the fourth quarter (seven plays, 80 yards) with James Berry taking a split end screen pass for 25 yards into pay dirt to run the count to 34-0. The Lutes averted the shutout on its next possession with an impressive drive of its own of 15 plays and 76 yards and an eight-yard scoring run by Marc Gallant. That 's where the scoring would end at 34-7. It was another impressive game for senior signal caller Shaw. He connected on 25 of 32 passes for 353 yards and three scores--and no interceptions. Again, he spread the wealth. Smith and Nathan Suyematsu had monster games, with Smith making ten grabs for 157 yards and two touchdowns. Suyematsu also had triple figure receiving numbers with nine catches for 130 yards. Berry checked in with five catches for 53 yards. "On any given day, all three receivers can have a big game," Buckley confirmed. "That puts us and Warner in a good position." The Boxers converted eight of its 14 third down opportunities for first downs. "Warner just keeps getting better at managing the game," his coach added. "Of course, he is getting time in the pocket because his line is doing its job and good things will happen when that is the case." The Boxers had 444 yards of total offense. The defense held PLU to 290 yards on the day, and a big chunk of the Lutes' yards came in the fourth quarter. Trey Kodama led the stop unit with nine tackles, including two sacks and three total tackles for loss. The Boxers also had a forced fumble (Jaquari People) a fumble recovery (Dalton Schwetz) and an interception (Ryan Sinkking). Up next for the Boxers? A date in McMinnville with their 2014 conference co-champions, Linfield. While many Boxer fans have had that date (Oct. 10) circled on their calendar for months, Buckley swears that he hadn't thought about it until he walked off the field today. "People will call me a liar, but I truly haven't thought about them until now," he smiled. "We are best served by focusing on Pacific football. We had a challenge today to fix what had needed to be fixed and we took positive steps in that direction. "We will enjoy this win tonight and then start getting ready for Linfield tomorrow."
Boxers start fast, race past Lutes
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Oct 03, 2015