THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – The California Lutheran football team had a huge test against Pacific Lutheran on opening night and it all came down to the Kingsmen defense which answered the call and made a goal line stand to preserve a 27-21 victory against the Lutes Saturday night inside Rolland Stadium.
The Lutes had first in goal at the CLU seven-yard line with 2:25 left in the game. After three defensive stops, the fourth-down pass was intercepted by Klayton Wood in the end zone.
The matchup was the season opener for both teams. With the win, Cal Lutheran cut the lead in the overall series to one game as the Lutes still have the advantage at 12-11. It is the third-straight year that the home team has won.
The Kingsmen got on the board first as quarterback Adam Friederichsen connected with Aaron Lacombe for a 56-yard touchdown four minutes into the game. The Lutes tied up the score with a minute left in the first as DJ Winter caught a touchdown pass from Cole Chandler.
In the second quarter, it was all CLU as the Kingsmen scored twice. Running back Chris Beeson had a three-yard rushing touchdown and Wendell O'Brien caught a 59-yard touchdown pass from Friedrichsen as the lead grew to 21-7.
Pacific Lutheran was able to close the gap in the third as Chandler escaped from the pocket and ran for a 13-yard touchdown making the score 21-14.
The Kingsmen were able to answer with a score of their own on the very next drive as kicker Dominick Grimm connected on a 25-yard field goal to make it 24-14. With 14:43 left in the fourth, Grimm made a 36-yard kick to push the lead to 27-14.
The Lutes cut the lead to six with 4:59 left in the game as Chandler rushed into the end zone from four yards out. That was as close as PLU would get as Klayton's interception with 58 seconds left allowed the CLU offense to run out the clock.
Friederichsen completed 15 of his 25 passes for 227 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. On top of the receiving touchdowns, Lacombe and O'Brien recorded 132 and 101 yards, respectively. Beeson was the lead rusher for the Kingsmen as he accounted for 58 yards and a score.
On defense, Ty Lozano led CLU with 10.5 total tackles and forced a fumble. Acquarey Eddington and Nick Gordon each compiled five tackles. Obasi Dees, Dane Griffin, Christian Rivers and Ethan Pulley each had four more.
For the Lutes, Chandler was 17-for-34 for 175 yards with a touchdown and interception. Winter led the receiving core with 57 yards and a touchdown while Ethan McElderry led the running backs with 61 yards. Travis Mcmillion and Nolan Hoover led the defense with 5.5 total tackles.
The Kingsmen continue the season on the road and travel to Salem, Ore., to take on Willamette University Saturday, Sept. 16, at 1 p.m.
Box Score: CLU 27, PLU 21
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Release by Ryan Jorgenson, Assistant Sports Information Director