On Nov. 12, the Lewis & Clark Football team capped off their season with a 53-20 loss against the Whitworth Pirates. Prior to the start of the game, two seniors were recognized for their contributions to the team: tight-end CJ Appleton ’17 and quarterback Niko Fortino ’17.
Appleton is grateful for the opportunity he has had to play football. Appleton said of his time at LC, “It’s been a blessing.”
Fortino also reflected positively on his college football career and said of his two seasons at LC, “I’m going to remember my teammates and my coaches.”
After one quarter of play, the Pirates held a twenty-two point lead. Whitworth scored again before LC was able to score a touchdown late in the first half. The score came from a thirteen-yard pass between the two seniors. Opening the second half, Whitworth intercepted a pass from Fortino and ran the ball back for a touchdown, giving the Pirates a 39-7 lead. A late surge boosted LC’s score to thirteen points from another pass to Appleton from Fortino.
Whitworth would go on to score twice more, giving the Pirates a 53-13 lead over the Pioneers. With two minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, Mike Machado ’19 completed a pass to Dallas Garreaud ’19, giving the Pioneers another touchdown.
Both Appleton and Fortino received cheers and applause as they left the field, completing their final season as Pioneers. After finishing another season winless, the seniors are hopeful for the returning players.
“This program is on the rise,” Fortino said of next year’s program.
“We got a lot of talent and they’re young,” Appleton added.
Many of the underclassmen were trusted with plenty of playing time this season and earned experience that will translate into next year’s success.
Andrew Werst ’19 is one of these underclassmen. He earned second-team all-Northwest Conference honors as he finished ranked in the top fifteen in the conference for sacks. He led the team with three sacks and 42 tackles in a season and career-high ten tackles against Claremont M-S.