TACOMA, Wash. - For the fifth consecutive season, the Cal Lutheran football team squared off against Pacific Lutheran in the season opener and for the fourth time in five years the game was decided by a touchdown or less. After a sensational comeback on their home field against the Lutes a season ago, the Kingsmen were on the other end of a second half comeback by PLU and dropped the first game of the year 17-14 on Saturday afternoon at Sparks Stadium.
The Lutes got off to a quick start, taking a 12-play, 78-yard drive that lasted more than six minutes, into the end zone on a five-yard pass play to take a 7-0 lead.
After three, three-and-outs and a missed field goal on the first four possessions for the Kingsmen, CLU finally found its groove towards the end of the second quarter. Quarterback Adam Friederichsen completed four passes for a total of 71 yards on an 81-yard drive, including a game-high 43-yard bomb to junior wide receiver Aaron Lacombe. Friederichsen would cap off the drive with another connection to Lacombe, this time a 16-yard pass into the end zone to tie the game 7-7.
To start the second half, Friederichsen gave CLU a quick 14-7 lead after completing a 32-yard touchdown pass to Wendell O'Brien.
The lead, however, was short lived as Pacific Lutheran knotted the score at 14-14 on a 15-yard touchdown pass with 6:55 to go in the third quarter. With 11:21 remaining in the fourth, PLU capped off a 10-play, 68-yard drive with a field goal to regain the lead at 17-14.
The Kingsmen were unable to get anything going after that and failed to convert a third-and-one followed by a fourth-and-one opportunity on the PLU 26-yard line with under one-minute remaining.
Friederichsen finished the game 26-of-49 for 295 yards and two touchdowns while his top target, Lacombe, hauled in 10 receptions in his CLU debut, totaling 146 yards and a score. O'Brien also added five catches for 62 yards and a touchdown.
On the ground, Foorever Campbell led the Kingsmen with 70 yards on 10 carries and Chris Beeson added 39 yards on seven rushes.
Defensively, Nick Gordon led CLU with 13 tackles, including seven unassisted, while Acquarey Eddington tallied seven.
Cal Lutheran (0-1) returns to Rolland Stadium for its home opener against non-conference opponent Willamette this Saturday, Sept. 17 at 12:00 p.m.