Lions upset by non-conference opponent

by Sports Editor Mike Ezekiel

The UNA football team lost its first game of the season, as Western Oregon clawed to a 24-22 victory in a rainy game on the road.

Down 24-16 late in the game, the Lions drove down the field and scored on a pass from Luke Wingo to Lee Mayhall. An incompletion on the two-point conversion put the Lions down 24-22 with 1:28 left in the game.

The Lions recovered an onside kick and had three timeouts and over a minute to work with. Wingo led his team to the Western Oregon 23-yard line before turning the ball on an interception. Western Oregon ran out the clock and clinched the upset.

UNA turned the ball over three times on its first three possessions and five times in the game.

The Wolves had an early 10-0 lead in the first half before a 60-yard touchdown pass from Wingo to Eric Belew put the game at 10-7 before the half.

In the second half, UNA kicker Kevin Henke knocked through three unanswered field goals from 43, 28 and 35 yards to give the Lions a 16-10 lead with 11:32 left in the fourth quarter.

Western Oregon’s backup quarterback Phillip Fenumiai ran in the end zone from 13 yards to give his team a 17-16 lead. A pass from Fenumiai to Andy Avgi pushed the lead to 24-16. The UNA comeback bid came up just short after Western Oregon pulled away.

The loss puts the Lions at 4-1 the season. Next week, the Lions will look to rebound against non-conference opponent North Carolina-Pembroke next Saturday at 6 p.m. for homecoming.