A week removed from becoming Humboldt State’s all-time leader in career rushing yards, Central Valley grad/junior star running back Ja’Quan Gardner set another program record while guiding the Lumberjacks to a bounce-back victory in Canada.
Gardner ran for 211 yards and four touchdowns on just 19 attempts as Humboldt State rolled to a 56-24 win over Simon Fraser on Saturday at Swangard Stadium in British Columbia.
Ja’Quan moved to the top of the list as the Lumberjacks’ all-time leading scorer with 258 points. He surpassed Matt Bruder’s total of 249 points. Bruder suited up for Humboldt State in 2010 and from 2012-14.
Gardner also added to his team-record for career rushing yards (3,381). His total is 235 yards more than Humboldt State Hall of Famer Percy McGee (1993-96).
One of eight finalists for the 2015 Harlon Hill award, NCAA Division-II football's equivalent of the Heisman Trophy, Ja’Quan finished second overall.
“Setting any record in a program is an honor,” Gardner said. “I have to give thanks to my teammates and coaches. They make my job easier.”
Ja’Quan’s first carry resulted in an 87-yard touchdown.
He also scored on runs of 9, 3 and 58 yards.
"There was no better way to establish ourselves than going 87 yards," Lumberjacks’ head coach Rob Smith said while talking about Gardner’s long TD early in the game. "We tried to limit him (tonight), but he still went over 200 yards and had four touchdowns. Give credit to the offensive line and Ja'Quan."
The Lumberjacks improved to 2-1 overall and 1-1 in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference standings.
The Clan (0-3) dropped their 16th consecutive game dating back to the 2014 season.
Gardner has gained 508 yards and scored nine touchdowns this year.
He has rushed for 100-plus yards in 13 consecutive regular season games.
He’s on pace to rumble for more than 1,300 yards and 20 TDs this fall.
“They’re a very talented team, especially on offense,” Simon Fraser head coach Kelly Bates said prior to facing Ja’Quan and the Lumberjacks. “They’ve got a terrific back in Gardner, and they’ve got a big, strong line for him to run behind. We’re going to have to stay mentally sharp and keep our mistakes to a minimum if we want to have a fighting chance.”
Humboldt State lost 38-27 to visiting Azusa Pacific the previous week.
Gardner totaled 159 yards and two touchdowns on 27 carries. He became the Lumberjacks’ all-time leading rusher in the third quarter.
Humboldt State will host Western Oregon this Saturday at 6 p.m.
“Getting that win (against Simon Fraser) was important because it helped us get our confidence back,” Gardner said. “It’s a long season and we’re just getting started.”