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Firestorm scorches Skyhawks in opener

Soccer, volleyball and cross-country also compete
Braden Wingle of Fort Lewis College looks for a receiver while playing Arizona Christian at FLC. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)

The Fort Lewis College football team battled Arizona Christian University to start its season at home on Saturday. Two interceptions, including one that went through a Skyhawk’s hands, helped ACU jump out to a 21-0 lead in the first quarter.

FLC, however, fought back to make things interesting. Quarterback Braden Wingle threw an 18-yard touchdown pass to Zach Russell to put Fort Lewis on the board in the second.

Then, after Max Hyson sacked Arizona Christian’s quarterback, the Skyhawks blocked a punt out of the end zone for a safety, making the score 21-9.

Later in the first half, lineman James Reyes intercepted a pass after a teammate tipped the throw, giving FLC the ball at Arizona’s 9-yard line and a chance to make it a one-score game.

Carter Cameron of Fort Lewis College sacks the quarterback while playing Arizona Christian at FLC. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)

Unfortunately for the Skyhawks, Wingle was picked off on third down to end the threat. ACU then drove 88 yards to score again take a 28-9 at halftime.

To start the second half, FLC out together a 17-play drive to drive down to ACU’s 12, but had to settle with Keegan Hagger field goal.

Fort Lewis held ACU to a field in the third, but the Firestorm pulled away with 21 points in the fourth to win the game 52-12.

“We worked really hard to come out fast and start the season with energy,” said Fort Lewis head coach Johnny Cox. “If you look at parts of the game there was some things we did very well, and somethings we did poorly. Giving up that many turnovers just doesn’t give you a chance to win the game. We’ve got work to do, but it feels like we have a good character team that wants to do it right and wants to get better.”

Fort Lewis College head coach Johnny Cox encourages his team Saturday while playing Arizona Christian at FLC. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald )

FLC posted 191 yards of total offense and threw five interceptions. Wingle threw for 154 yards and one touchdown, completing 21 of 39 passes. He was picked off four times, and Braden Miller was intercepted on his only attempt. Cameron Mack picked up 12 yards on three attempts as Fort Lewis totaled 67 rushing yards on 26 attempts. Russell and Drake Cortez both had six receptions.

Frankie Ayon led the defense with nine tackles. Hyson, a Durango graduate, provided a pair of sacks, and Carter Cameron sacked ACU’s quarterback once.

Two true freshmen who graduated from Durango High School – Jordan Stanley and Walter Stauffer – both saw action on defense for Fort Lewis. Stanley made three solo tackles, and Stauffer was in on one.

Fort Lewis will next play at New Mexico Highlands University at noon Saturday. NMHU also is 0-1 after losing its opener 34-18 against Eastern New Mexico.

FLC volleyball swipes set from No. 4 MSU Denver

Stepping onto the newly redesigned court in Whalen Gymnasium for the first time in the 2022 season, the Fort Lewis College volleyball team faced a tall task against the No. 4 MSU Denver Roadrunners on Saturday. The Skyhawks by a 3-1 final but took a set from the perennial powerhouse for the first time since 2014.

“I'm proud of how our team showed up tonight. We executed our game plan well and challenged a tough opponent,” said head coach Giedre Tarnauskaite. “Our home crowd brought a lot of support and great energy which helped us even more. We were able to show off our courage and fighting spirit tonight. The team played with a lot of heart, and I am excited about the effort we showed.”

Fort Lewis, which was also schedule to play Western Colorado on Tuesday, fell 3-5 overall and 1-1 in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference with the loss. MSU Denver improved to 9-1, 2-0.

Late goal downs FLC women’s soccer

A goal in the 83rd minute by Angelo State University proved to be the difference in a nonconference road loss for the Fort Lewis College women’s soccer team on Sunday.

“I am really pleased with the growth of this team today,” said head coach Damian Clarke. “We asked a lot of them tactically and physically in how we need to compete against another undefeated, regionally ranked team.”

The Skyhawks drop to 1-4-1 on the year, and ASU improved to 5-0-1.

FLC men get stung by Yellowjackets

True freshman Evan Kowalski did all he could in goal, but the Fort Lewis College men’s soccer team was unable to generate any offense and fell 1-0 to the Montana State University Billings Yellowjackets on Saturday in Grand Junction.

Fort Lewis struggled to connect on the Yellowjackets half of the pitch, producing just seven shots all game with only one on goal.

Kowalski made six saves for FLC.

FLC is now 1-2-2 overall while MSU Billings improved to 1-3-0.

Skyhawks run in Alamosa

The Fort Lewis cross-country teams competed at the 29th annual Joe I. Vigil Open hosted by Adams State University on Saturday.

In the women’s 5K race, Mikenna Hoffman finished 16th in 20:42 to lead FLC. Peyton Burnside crossed 17th in 20:43, followed by Autumn Harrison (19th, 21:04), Brandy Ray (23rd, 21:35), Jessica Ramirez (25th, 22:37), Madisen Johnson (23:05) and Tunte Vigil (24:40).

In the men’s 8K race, Connor Dossman finished 22nd in 27:18 to cross first for FLC. Ricardo Trejo (32nd, 27:59), Aaron Busche (35th, 28:21), Alex Colby (43rd, 30:09) and Wacey Begay (44th 30:35) also ran for the Skyhawks.