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L and C goes to 4-0 with 61-35 victory at Pacific

FOREST GROVE - Lewis and Clark College and Pacific University combined for 96 points in a wild, entertaining, 61-35 Pioneer win Saturday afternoon at Lincoln Park Stadium.

The Northwest Conference game featured plays you can go a lifetime without seeing, some textbook offensive execution and 14 touchdowns.

Pacific (0-4) is still searching for its first win since re-starting its football program last season, but the Boxers had a season-high 452 yards of offense.

Lewis and Clark, which has had to rebuild its program in recent years, is 4-0. The Pioneers will have a bye week before playing at home against Whitworth on Oct. 15.

The story of Saturday's game for the Pioneers was quarterback Keith Welch. He finished 13 of 23 passing for 273 yards and two touchdowns, and rushed 14 times for 106 yards and three TDs.

'We're definitely clicking right now (on offense), and it starts with the line and trust,' Welch said. 'When the line blocks well and all the skill players trust each other and trust the coach, then we feel good about it.'

The Pioneers caught a break as the game began. After stalling on their opening drive, they were forced to punt. Tucker Laurence sent a low bouncing ball to the right sideline.

Pacific's Brandon Harms tried to field the ball but lost control of it when he was hit, giving the Pioneers a new drive at the Boxers' 18-yard-line.

Two plays later, Welch took a 1-yard sneak into the end zone.

The PAT kick was as strange of a play as you will ever see in football. Simon Monley's kick was blocked. The ball rolled into the end zone. No one touched it for at least five seconds.

Finally, Boxer defensive back Bryan Miles realized that the play had not yet been whistled dead. He picked up the ball and ran 100 yards into the end zone as the stunned Pioneer kicking unit stood around, watching the lead shrink to 6-2.

After a Pacific punt pinned the Pioneers inside their own 1, Lewis and Clark mounted a 99-yard touchdown drive. Tunning back Curtis Shirey punched the ball across the goal line on a 5-yard run.

Simon's PAT was again blocked. The Boxers recovered the ball, but this time Lewis and Clark made sure to tackle the ball carrier. The Pioneers led 12-2.

Pacific scored its first TD with 4:44 remaining in the first quarter, when Boxers QB T.C. Campbell connected with Jordan Fukumoto for a 10-yard touchdown that made the score 12-9.

Welch hoofed the Pioneers' next two touchdowns. The first came when he left the pocket, dodged a tackle and exploded down the sidelines, 48 yards to the end zone. The second came on the Pioneers' first possession of the second quarter, when he ran in from the 4 to make the score 26-9.

'They had good coverage today, so when it was tight I dropped back and when I didn't see something I just ran,' Welch said. 'Usually, it was just one guy to beat, and that's what I like to have.'

With 1:22 left in the half, Fukumoto and Campbell again hooked up, this time for a 27-yard TD that cut the L and C lead to 26-15.

Campbell finished the game 22 of 36 passing for 280 yards, three TDs and one interception.

'The O-line did a great job protecting today,' Campbell said. 'In the first maybe three quarters, there were barely any hits on me, so it was great being able to sit back in the pocket and let the receivers do their thing one-on-one.'

On the first play of the ensuing drive, Welch threw a swing pass to Joevonte Mayes, who found another gear and raced 64 yards for the touchdown.

With under a minute remaining, the Boxers went 66 yards in four plays and scored when Campbell found Fukumoto with a 2-yard TD pass that sent the teams into halftime with Lewis and Clark up 33-23.

'The O-line protected well, T.C. made his read, and I just ran to the open spot,' said Fukumoto, who totaled six catches for 62 yards in the game and scored three TDs.

Lewis and Clark broke the game open in the third quarter. With 9:16 remaining in the period, Welch hit Andrew Frisina on a slant pattern for a 28-yard TD. Mayes then made the score 47-23 on a sweep to the right that he broke back across the field, turned up the sideline and went for 57 yards.

The Pioneers broke the half-century mark with 10:10 to go in the fourth quarter, as Shirey returned a punt 58 yards to put the Pioneers up 54-23.

Pacific appeared to score a touchdown when Bryce Kershner took an inside handoff 2 yards into the end zone. Because the Boxers did not give the Pioneer defense time to substitute, though, the play was called back.

It took until fourth down from the 3, but Kershner did finally get his touchdown, catching a 3-yard pass from P.J. Minaya.

Lewis and Clark scored its final touchdown with 4:03 remaining. Bruce Taft caught a pass from Welch, broke a tackle and found his way into the end zone for a 6-yard score.

'Basically, the line gives me time and I read the play like Coach teaches me,' Welch said, of his passing success. 'And whoever is open I try to get them the ball in time.'

Adam Bell finished the game strong for the Boxers by taking an inside handoff for a 1-yard touchdown.

With an undefeated record, Lewis and Clark will try to feed off the win as they move forward.

'We'll take as much (from the game) as we can,' Pioneers coach Chris Sulages said. 'That's part of what being an experienced team is - confidence that we can go beat anyone anytime is what all athletes want.'