Kingsmen Late Rally Comes Up Short

Hayden Smith hands the ball off to Kayden Clements. (Credit: Rob Ruben)
Hayden Smith hands the ball off to Kayden Clements. (Credit: Rob Ruben)

FOREST GROVE, Ore. — A late rally came up just short as the Cal Lutheran offense had a turnover-on-downs with 1:50 left in the game and the Pacific (Ore.) Boxers ran out the clock to escape with a 21-16 win Saturday afternoon in Hanson Stadium.

Cal Lutheran (1-1) met Pacific (1-2) in Ore., for the first-ever matchup between the teams. The Kingsmen outgained the Boxers in passing (185 to 106), rushing (103 to 70) and total yards 288 to 176), but early turnovers had CLU in a quick hole. 

Eli Peters and Hayden Smith split time under center. Smith threw the lone touchdown pass on the day as he went 5-for-10 with 66 yards. Peters was 12-for-19 with 119 passing yards. He also had 19 rushing attempts and totaled 29 yards. 

Jabar Byrd led the rushing attack with one score. It is the second straight game Byrd has found the endzone. He finished with 17 yards on nine carries. Kayden Clements accounted for the most yards and rushed for 45 on 11 attempts, with a 4.1 average.  

Pierce McLurkin and Ty Riley were big for the passing game. McLurkin caught seven passes for 84 yards and Riley caught five for 69. Urael Blackshear recorded an 8-yard touchdown reception for his only catch. 

Ethan Pulley was all over the field for the Cal Lutheran defense with nine total tackles, eight of which were solo. He also recorded one sack. Ty Lozano and Tecoy Porter were right behind Pulley with seven tackles. Porter recorded two tackles for loss, including one sack, and Lozano added a tackle for loss. 

Emmanuel Amaugo and JW Windsor both registered a sack for the Kingsmen. Amaugo also had a fumble recovery. As a unit, CLU tallied 11 tackles for loss.

The first quarter was all about the Pacific defense. The Boxers forced the Kingsmen into two fumbles on their first two possessions of the game. The Pacific offense took advantage of Cal Lutheran's first turnover and took an early 7-0 lead. The Boxers added a second touchdown late in the first quarter on a punt return and had a 14-0 lead. 

The Kingsmen got on the board as Byrd scored from one-yard out. The score cut the deficit in half as Pacific led 14-7 with 9:21 to go in the half. 

Cal Lutheran's defense didn't allow a score for the rest of the half as Pulley and Porter recorded sacks. Anthony Rios-Carlsen and Caleb Casimere both tallied 0.5 tackles for loss in the half.  

The Kingsmen had their chances for more points in the first half, but couldn't get past Pacific's defense. Great catches by Riley and McLurkin, from the arm of Peters, gave CLU some momentum, but the Kingsmen couldn't get into scoring position. Riley and McLurkin almost had identical catches as they both caught the ball by the sideline and were able to drags their toes before falling out of bounds. 

With seconds ticking down in the first half, Pulley recorded a strip-sack and Amaugo came up with the ball at Pacific's 34 with :06 second remaining. After a timeout with one second left, CLU took a shot at the end zone. McLurkin caught the pass from Peters at the three-yard line, but time expired and Cal Lutheran went into the half down 14-7.

The Kingsmen defense shut down Pacific to start the second half. Cameron James was big for special teams and had a huge punt return. It was kicked down to CLU's 12 and James returned it 57 yards to Pacific's 37. A penalty brought the ball back to Pacific's 47. CLU's offense couldn't take advantage of the great field position and had to punt. Pacific then marched down the field and scored a third touchdown to increase its lead to 21-7 with 4:10 left in the third. 

The Cal Lutheran defense then made a big stop as they forced a safety with 14:07 left in the game making the 21-9 Pacific. 

The Violet and Gold continued to get closer as Blackshear hauled in a touchdown reception, from Smith, and CLU now trailed 21-16 with 3:27 left. 

A well-executed kickoff had the ball downed by Pacific at the two-yard line. Lozano just barely missed on a second safety as the Boxers' running back made it out to the one-yard line. 

After a Boxer punt, JAmes had another clutch punt return of 26-yards down to Pacific's 24-yard line. Cal Lutheran couldn't get a first down, and tried for the endzone on fourth down. The pass was incomplete and it was a turnover-on-downs. The Boxers ran out the rest of the clock and took the hard-fought win with a final score of 21-16. 

The Kingsmen continue the season on the road. Cal Lutheran travels to Menomonie, Wis., for a matchup with the University of Wis.-Stout next Saturday at 11 a.m. PST. 

Box Score: PU 21, CLU 16
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Release byRyan Jorgenson, Sports Information Director

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