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Gardner breaks pair of records
Former Hawk JaQuan Gardner and Humboldt States football team will close out the 2016 season at Central Washington this Saturday. - photo by Contributed to the Courier

Former Central Valley High School standout Ja'Quan Gardner helped Humboldt State's football team collect its third consecutive victory this past weekend.

Gardner ran for a program-best 313 yards and scored two touchdowns on a career-high 43 carries during the Lumberjacks' 28-14 win over visiting Western State Colorado in heavy rain Saturday night at the Redwood Bowl.

Ja'Quan also set a Great Northwest Athletic Conference record with 375 all-purpose yards. The previous mark was held by current NFL running back Terrell Watson.

"It's an honor," Gardner said. "I couldn't have done it without my teammates and coaches."

Humboldt State improved to 6-4 overall and 3-4 in the GNAC standings.

The Lumberjacks clinched their third straight winning season.

The Mountaineers dropped to 6-4 on the year.

"Postseason isn't a possibility anymore," Gardner said. "We just want to finish the season strong and get wins. The last three weeks of practice have been our best of the year."

The Humboldt State-Western State game featured two of the nation's top running backs in Gardner and Austin Ekeler.
Ekeler, the country's leading rusher entering the game, was limited to 28 yards on seven carries. He exited the contest with an injury during the first quarter.

"There wasn't any extra motivation," Gardner said. "I wasn't worried about how many yards I had. We just wanted to get our season back on track."

Humboldt State led 14-0 at halftime.

Gardner accounted for the Lumberjacks' first touchdown.

He scored on a 1-yard run at the 6:54 mark of the opening quarter.

Gardner broke a 14-14 tie with a 41-yard TD run with 1:03 remaining in the third quarter.

"It was a pretty competitive game," Gardner said. "They have a pretty good team. They came in with the nation's leading rusher. Our defense did their job."

Humboldt State will close out the 2016 campaign at Central Washington this Saturday.

"We lost to them earlier this year," Gardner said. "It's going to be a tough game."