The Skyhawks started their season the right way, and they ended it likewise.
The Fort Lewis College football team earned its first and only Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference win at Ray Dennison
Memorial Field on Saturday, beating Western New Mexico 40-21 to bookend a forgettable 2009 season with wins - the
first coming 23-13 over Oklahoma Panhandle State on Aug. 29.
Freshman quarterback Tim Jenkins finished 38-for-59 for 323 yards with three passing scores and one rushing, junior
wideout Justin Johnson had 19 catches for 143 yards, and the Skyhawks (2-9 overall, 1-8 RMAC) scored 21 unanswered
points in the second half against the Mustangs (2-8 overall, 1-8 RMAC).
"I was very proud," FLC head coach Ed Rifilato said. "It was a nice win for the seniors to go out on and a nice place
for next year's group to start." FLC looked early and often to Johnson, the NCAA Division II receptions leader who
came in with a 19-reception lead and virtually assured himself the overall title with a team-record 124 grabs.
Johnson - who later injured his ankle - caught two passes for touchdowns in the first quarter, the first a 7-yard
pass from Jenkins, the next from 6 yards out with 3:19 left in the period. Both drives went for more than 70 yards.
Western New Mexico fought back, with sophomore backup quarterback Chris Voller finding Christopher Miranda for a
Nate Soucie kicked a Skyhawks field goal a minute into the second, but then the Mustangs made it 17-14 on a C.J.
Gardner 20-yard touchdown catch that was followed by a Kevin Breaker 11-yard rushing touchdown.
Soucie kicked another field goal as time expired, this one from 23 yards, and FLC began the second half down by just
a point, 21-20.
From there, it was all Skyhawks, who held the ball for 22 minutes in the second half despite no major changes in
their approach, Rifilato said.
Soucie kicked his third field goal of the day from 36 yards, then Jenkins completed a 10-play, 57-yard drive with a
1-yard sneak for a 9-point lead, 30-21.
Senior Brian Englehardt caught a tipped pass from Jenkins for a 23-yard touchdown, and a 14-play, 72-yard drive set
up Soucie's fourth field goal from 22 yards out for the final tally, 40-21.
FLC recorded 33 first downs to just 20 for the Mustangs and outgained their opponents 436 to 331.
"We've been getting better week after week offensively," Rifilato said.
Junior Sam Apraku led the rushing attack with seven carries for 54 yards, while sophomore quarterback Justin Peters
added seven carries for 40.
Dwyane Perry and Phillip Odell had seven tackles each for FLC, while Eric Hills grabbed an interception.
The offensive line finished the season with the least sacks allowed in the RMAC, 17, and crushed the former FLC
record of 28.
Seniors Colin Barrier, Joel Johnson, Philip Dodd, Demitri Scotto, Jerrel Allen, Nick Becker, Brian Engelhardt, Scott
Guttman, Kelly Bradley and Brandon Schneider all played their last game in blue and gold.
"I've been with some of them for five years," Rifilato said. "It's always an honor to start with a group of freshmen
and have them leave seniors.
"As far as I'm concerned, they're men at this point."