Former Central Valley High School star running back Ja'Quan Gardner and the Humboldt State football team returned home from Missouri with mixed emotions-disappointment and satisfaction.
The Lumberjacks closed out the 2015 campaign with a lopsided loss.
Humboldt State also enjoyed its best season in decades.
The fourth-seeded Lumberjacks lost 54-7 to top-seeded Northwest Missouri State in the second-round of the NCAA Division-II Super Region Three bracket on Saturday at Bearcat Stadium.
Humboldt State mustered just 48 yards of total offense against the nation's top-ranked defense.
Gardner, the nation's leading rusher, was held to a season-low 24 yards and no touchdowns on 14 carries.
The Bearcats limited the Lumberjacks' high-octane offense to 25 yards and four first downs while building a 34-0 lead in the opening half.
Northwest Missouri State scored touchdowns on its first three possessions.
The Bearcats (12-0) entered the postseason ranked No. 1 in the AFCA Coaches Poll.
Humboldt State made history during the 2015 campaign by securing its first playoff berth in 47 years.
The Lumberjacks compiled a 10-2 overall record and won the Great Northwest Athletic Conference crown outright with a perfect 6-0 mark.
Humboldt State topped Augustana, 45-31, in the opening-round of the playoffs.
Gardner enjoyed a banner sophomore campaign with the Lumberjacks as he totaled 2,266 yards and 25 touchdowns on the ground. The GNAC Offensive Player of the Year set program records for rushing yards in a season and game (305). Nominated for the Harlon Hill Trophy, an award given to the best Division-II college football player, Ja'Quan climbed to second on Humboldt State's career rushing list with 2,873 yards.