LC football player jumps to make a catch during practice in Griswold Stadium. Photo by Hanna Wright

With three wins, LC football plays best season since 2012

Nearing the season’s end, Lewis & Clark’s football team prepares to close out strong and improve this season’s record, which stands at 3-4, 2-3 in conference.

This is the highest win total the Pioneers have achieved since 2012, when they went 4-5, and only the fourth time they have won three or more games since 2003. This is a promising season for the Pioneers, especially considering LC’s football history. When LC was known as Albany College, the team lost a record 28 games in a row from 1931 to 1935, one of the longest college football losing streaks in the U.S. according to the National Collegiate Athletic Association.

Tight end Dallas Garreaud ’19 has seen the football team improve in the last few years and noticed increased attendance at games this season.

“We’re on the rise and I feel like a lot of the fans and the student body are seeing that,” Garreaud said. “We’re getting a lot more support than usual and that’s awesome.”

Playing against Pomona-Pitzer for their first game, the team was excited for defensive backs Roger Hernandez ’23 and Deriontae Green ’23, who both had their first career interceptions for the Pioneers this game. Despite turnovers from the offense, the defense held strong in the second half, only allowing the Sagehens a third-quarter field goal that half.

Though the season started off with a loss against Pomona-Pitzer Colleges, LC won two games in succession against Whittier University and Pacific Lutheran University, which motivated the team to push forward. 

Linebacker Alex Hensley ’22 cites team disparition as a reason for the loss, which he believes was fixed in their winning games.

“The first game we lost in California, it just didn’t feel like we were meshing well together,” Hensley said. “Then we got those two wins and now I feel like we are getting back into the groove that we’re in so we can get back to how we usually play.”

In the first home game of the season, the Pioneers came from behind to defeat Whittier 44-41. This is the first time LC has won the first home game of the year since 2012. In the game against Pacific Lutheran, running back Huero Lopez ’23 scored LC’s second touchdown, which was the first of his career. Running back Michael Abraham ’21 and Garreaud also scored. The Lutes are a part of the Northwest Conference, making the win even more significant.

The following game though, the team lost against Whitworth 68-30. However, Aidan Verba-Hamilton ’21 did break a 17-year-old LC record by receiving 331 yards in the game, breaking the previous record by more than 100 yards. 

The Pioneers also lost the following game against Pacific 56-28.

Head Coach Jay Locey believes LC lost due to their own errors which allowed Whitworth and Pacific to out-play the team.

“We made a lot of mistakes, especially (during) the Whitworth game with eight turnovers,” Locey said. We had a slow start as well.” 

Garreaud agrees with Locey, also believing that team members got in their heads, limiting their ability to perform on the field.

“As a team, we have been doing better than we have been, but those losses, some I felt like could have been wins,” Garreaud said. “We got ourselves hung up on things and didn’t execute well.”

The team did not let the losses derail them as they prepared for the homecoming game against Willamette University, which had higher stakes on the line due to the teams’ yearly competition over the Wagon Wheel traveling trophy. The Pioneers managed to win 49-34 against their conference competitor, securing the wagon wheel for the second year in a row.

The Wagon Wheel tradition started in 1949, with the winning team between LC and Willamette hosting the wheel until the following year’s game. The wheel currently resides in the lobby area of Pamplin Sports Center. Before last year’s win, the Pioneers had not hosted the wheel since 2000.

LC then went up against Linfield College, which is first in the division. The Pioneers lost 54-7, but look forward to taking on George Fox University on Nov. 9 and University of Puget Sound on Nov. 16, which is Senior Day, at home. 

The team is excited and ready to take on the next games.

“One thing football and athletics teaches you is that you have to bounce back after setbacks,” Locey said. “I think our guys are very positively and optimistically looking forward to the upcoming games.”

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