Central Valley grad Ja’Quan Gardner and Humboldt State’s football team suffered a gut-wrenching 48-42 loss while battling visiting Western Oregon in front of 3,862 fans on Saturday at the Redwood Bowl in Arcata.
Gardner totaled 136 yards and two touchdowns on offense.
He gained 76 yards and scored a pair of TDs on 21 carries.
He also hauled in eight passes for 60 yards.
The Lumberjacks fell behind 21-0 in the first quarter and trailed 34-21 at halftime.
Gardner scored twice on 2-yard runs in the second quarter.
The Wolves’ lead ballooned to as much as 27 points during the second half.
Humboldt State nearly pulled off an improbable comeback.
Down 48-42, the Lumberjacks marched 94 yards in 18 plays late in the game.
Humboldt State quarterback Robert Webber attempted three straight passes from Western Oregon’s 6-yard line.
Webber’s final pass was completed to Sage Burmeister, who was tackled at the 3-yard line as time expired.
Gardner was named GNAC Offensive Player of the Week for the seventh time in his career following his 211-yard, four-touchdown performance in Humboldt State’s 56-24 blowout of host Simon Fraser on Sept. 17.
Ja’Quan moved to the top of the list as the Lumberjacks’ all-time leading scorer. He also added to his team-record for career rushing yards.
The Lumberjacks dropped to 2-2 overall and 1-2 in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference after losing to the Wolves.
Western Oregon improved to 2-2 and 1-1.
Humboldt State, 2015 GNAC champion, currently sits two games behind first-place Azusa Pacific in the league standings.
Gardner has rumbled for 584 yards and 11 touchdowns this year.