TACOMA, Washington – A little bit of luck and a lot of heart is what it took for the Puget Sound football team to defeat George Fox in overtime, 24-23, for the Loggers' Homecoming game in Baker Stadium Saturday afternoon.
The Loggers (3-1, 1-0 NWC) have now won five consecutive Homecoming games.
Trailing 17-14 with four minutes left in regulation, Puget Sound was pinned back at its nine-yard line. However, senior quarterback Nik Bernhardt put the team on his shoulder and marched the Loggers 88 yards to set up Alex Everett's game-tying field goal as regulation expired.
Puget Sound ran 20 plays leading up to Everett's clutch field goal, all of which were pass attempts by Bernhardt. The drive appeared to be doomed early when Puget Sound faced fourth-and-five on its own 27-yard line, but Bernhardt connected with AJ Johnson for 12 yards and a new set of downs.
The Loggers reached George Fox's (1-3, 0-1 NWC) side of the field when Jewell Day made a ridiculous juggling catch as he fell on his back at the Bruins' 49-yard line. From there, Bernhardt threw consecutive completions to Collin Heimbach, Johnson, and Day.
Johnson drew a defensive pass interference call in the back of the end zone, setting up first and goal for the Loggers at the two-yard line. Still, Puget Sound was short on time, and the Loggers ran just two more plays before sending out special teams to tie the game.
George Fox won the overtime coin toss and elected for Puget Sound to have the first possession. Twelve-yard passes to both Heimbach and Johnson set up Silas Washington's second rushing touchdown of the game.
The Bruins needed just two plays to reach the end zone, but their extra-point attempt was pushed wide right.
Johnson finished the game with 15 catches for 142 yards. He entered the contest as the NCAA D-III leader for receptions per game (11.7). He also ranked as the nation's No. 2 leader in total receptions entering the weekend.
The Puget Sound defense amassed six sacks, led by two sacks and nine tackles from senior linebacker Dwight Jackson.
Loggers' special teams was big in more ways than one. Jason Clayton blocked a George Fox field-goal attempt early in the fourth quarter, when a good kick would have given the Bruins a 20-14 edge.
The Loggers open the season with a 3-1 record for the second consecutive year. Puget Sound competes at Linfield Saturday, Oct. 12, for a 1:30 p.m. kickoff.