Boxers grind out win on the ground

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FOREST GROVE, Ore. — Pacific used a three-headed ground attack to chew up yards and time on their way to a 34-20 football victory over George Fox on Saturday afternoon at Hanson Stadium.

The Boxers improved to 6-3 on the season and to 4-2 in Northwest Conference action with the win, on a rainy and dark afternoon in front of 1,911 fans. George Fox fell to 1-5 in conference play and 3-6 overall.

Bronson Barretto bashed and dashed his way to 127 rushing yards, Kamana Pimental did the same for another 97 yards and Greg Alip added 34 as the home team ground out a season best 236 rushing yards. Barretto scored twice via the ground and also had a touchdown grab and run for three scores on the day. Number 22 had 222 all-purpose yards with four catches for 54 yards and also had one kick return for 41 yards.

The Boxers also had air success, with senior quarterback Warner Shaw completing 15 of 19 passes for 179 yards and two scores. His most familiar target was once again Nathan Suyematsu, who had eight receptions for 57 yards, and broke a school record in the process.

When Shaw found Suyematsu for Pacific's first score of the day on a 19-yard screen pass late in the first quarter, the senior became Pacific's all-time single-season reception yardage leader. He finished the day at 988 yards, passing Bob Wendel. 65 years ago, Wendel had 957 reception yards (1960).

With the victory, Pacific clinched its third winning season in a row in the final home game of the year for 18 seniors.

"That's a credit to this senior class," said head coach Keith Buckley, who has been the leader of the team since the program was brought back in 2010. "This group bridged the gap between a start-up program to a established one."

Pacific needed every bit of that senior experience and then some, on a day when they began the game in a 13-0 hole.

Bruin quarterback Grant Schroeder ran for a five-yard touchdown and passed 37 yards to Brad Lander for another to give the visitors a 13-0 lead before Suyematsu's score. GFU's opening drive covered 83 yards in 13 plays, and their second score came one play after Shaw fumbled a wet ball, giving the Bruins good field position.

"We've had stretches in games all year where we have complete lulls," lamented Buckley. "If I could figure out why, I would sleep a lot better at night."

But Suyematsu's score helped get things back on the right track for the Boxers. They proceeded to score 20 unanswered points to take a 20-13 halftime lead. Two field goals by Alex Beekman--one for 36 yards and the other from 33 yards out, and Barreto's 29-yard catch and carry gave the home team the lead at the break.

Buckley's team stayed on the ground, mostly, to reverse the momentum.

"People look at us as a passing team, but honestly we always think run first," he said. "The weather also helped contribute to the game plan. When you can run the ball effectively, you stay on that path."

George Fox came out in the second half and for a time, stole the momentum back. Schroeder led a 14-play drive and capped it with a scoring strike to Trevor Daniels of seven yards to even the game up at 20-20. That's what the scoreboard showed heading into the fourth quarter.

But back to the ground Pacific went in the fourth quarter, controlling the ball for nearly 12 of the 15 minutes. In the process, they scored on Barretto runs of two and six yards--capping drives of 66 and 70 yards that ate over nine minutes of the clock. Defensively, an interception by Max Lookkilled one Bruin drive and GFU turned the ball over on downs in their final last ditch effort.

Pacific had four different players with 10 tackles each on defense — Trey KodamaDalton Schwetz,Avery Richardson and Andy Harris. Schwetz also had an interception.

"We have had a lot of injuries on defense this year, and we have adjusted," Buckley said. "We have had to peace meal it together at times."

And Buckley didn't have enough time to say everything that he wanted to about Suyematsu, a 5-9, 165-pound bottle of toughness.

"He has earned every one of those yards," Buckley started. "Some of those yards after catch have been unbelievable. He is an absolute warrior."

Pacific will end the 2015 season next Saturday (Nov. 14) at Puget Sound, a team that also has clinched a winning season at 5-3.

"That will be a tough battle, they have really turned the corner," Buckley surmissed. "For both of us, one of the goals of any football team is to have a winning season, and to have accomplished that is rewarding for the guys."

Dec. 14: All times Eastern
at Mary Hardin-Baylor 24, Mount Union 16
@ Woodforest Bank Stadium; Shenandoah, Texas
Box Score Recap Photos
Dec. 8: All times Eastern
at Mary Hardin-Baylor 31, UW-Whitewater 14
Box Score Recap Photos
at Mount Union 28, Johns Hopkins 20
Video Box Score Recap Photos
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