Central Washington Loses Again At Last Second - SWX Right Now-Sports for Spokane, CdA, Tri-Cities, WA

Central Washington Football

Central Washington Loses Again At Last Second

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by Central Washington Athletics

The Central Washington University football team rallied from a nine-point fourth-quarter deficit, but a 27-yard field goal as time expired handed the Wildcats a 38-36 loss to host Humboldt State University on Thursday night before a sellout crowd of 7,031 at the Redwood Bowl.

Central fell to 0-2 on the season (0-1 Great Northwest Athletic Conference), marking the first time since 1999 that the Wildcats have dropped their opening two games. Humboldt State improved to 2-0 on the year and 1-0 in GNAC play.

Brian Blumberg kicked the winning field goal on the final play of the contest, marking the second straight year that the Lumberjacks defeated the Wildcats on a last-minute field goal in Arcata. Blumberg booted the winning points of a 25-24 final score in the closing minute last Oct. 2.

The Wildcats scored the game's first points and led twice in the opening half before Humboldt State took the lead with 2:41 left before halftime on Blumberg's extra point. The Lumberjacks then added to the margin just before halftime after junior holder Griffin Squires (Chehalis, Wash./W.F. West HS) had the ball knocked loose while trying to make a play on a botched field goal snap. HSU's Jordan McGowan-Smith recovered and returned the ball 58 yards for a touchdown, extending Central's deficit to 21-13.

In the second half, each time one team scored, the other would seemingly follow. The Wildcats scored the first points of the third quarter on a six-yard run by junior quarterback Ryan Robertson (Sammamish, Wash./Eastlake HS), marking the first career touchdown for the signal-caller. Humboldt State responded on the third of three touchdown runs by Lyndon Rowells to make it 28-20, but CWU scored late in the period on redshirt freshman Louis Davis, Jr.'s (Tacoma, Wash./Wilson HS) second one-yard touchdown run of the game with 51 seconds to go in the period. The ensuing two-point conversion attempt was just past the outstretched hands of junior Anthony Spain (Grants Pass, Ore./North Valley HS), and Central remained behind 28-26.

Humboldt State pushed ahead by nine points on Chris Bolt's 11-yard reception on a pass from Mike Proulx that was deflected by a Wildcat defender but landed in Bolt's hands in the end zone. Central chipped away at the deficit with three consecutive takeaways. Sophomore linebacker Stan Langlow (University Place, Wash./Curtis HS) had a fumble recovery in Humboldt State territory that set up a 33-yard field goal by Sean Davis (Federal Way, Wash./Todd Beamer HS), and junior John Koopman (Enumclaw, Wash.) followed with a fumble recovery on Central's next defensive series to set up a 20-yard scoring pass from Robertson to Spain. Davis' extra point gave the Wildcats a 36-35 lead with 5:26 left.

However, after Langlow had his first interception of the season to stall the next Humboldt State drive at the 3:20 mark of the fourth quarter, the Wildcats were unable to pick up a first down and were forced to punt.

Humboldt State held onto the ball for the final 2:14, picking up four first downs, driving deep into CWU territory and setting up Blumberg's game-winning field goal as time expired.

The Wildcats held a commanding advantage in time of possession of nearly two-to-one (39:02 to 20:58), but were outgained by Humboldt State, 416-389. Robertson had the second-best passing game of his career with 315 yards on 27 of 39, while Spain had a breakout game as a pass-catching target with 166 receiving yards on 11 catches with two touchdowns. Louis Davis ran for 42 yards on 17 carries, and scored his first two collegiate TDs in the contest.

Defensively, junior Genesis Fonoimoana (Long Beach, Calif./Long Beach Poly HS) led all players with 13 total tackles, while Koopman had the best game of his career with 10 total stops, two forced fumbles, and a fumble recovery.

Humboldt State was led by running back Lyndon Rowells with 111 yards and three touchdowns on 26 carries, while quarterback Mike Proulx completed 21 of 33 passes for 289 yards and one touchdown. Receiver Dirk Dallas led the Lumberjack receivers with 98 yards on seven catches. The HSU defense was led by Guy Ricciardulli and Chris Peterson with 11 tackles each.

Central Washington will look to get into the win column for the first time in 2011 when it visits Western Oregon next Saturday (Sept. 17). The Wildcats will then have their lone open date of the season on Sept. 24 before returning home on Oct. 1 to face Simon Fraser.

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