Johnson sets single-season receiving record in 2018 finale

Photo by Kurt DeVoe.
Photo by Kurt DeVoe.

NEWBERG, Oregon – AJ Johnson set a Puget Sound record for receiving yards in a season, and he tied the Logger record for touchdown receptions in a game, but the Puget Sound football team lost its season finale at George Fox, 62-48, Saturday afternoon.

Johnson tied Adam Kniffin's  2010 record for touchdown catches in a game with five. With 247 receiving yards against the Bruins, Johnson finishes the 2018 campaign with a program single-season record of 1,096 receiving yards. He surpassed Brannan Schon's mark of 1,076 receiving yards in 2015. Johnson came away with 14 receptions against George Fox, and his 92 catches on the year are three shy of matching Kniffin's single-season record from the 2011 season. 

Playing in his final collegiate game, Puget Sound (5-5, 3-4 NWC) senior quarterback Nik Bernhardt put up career-best numbers against the Bruins (6-4, 4-3 NWC). He threw for 334 yards (19-for-31) and five touchdowns. The Loggers' 40 touchdown passes in 2018 stands as a new program record. 

Duncan Varela made the most of his career-high 20 carries against George Fox by turning them into a career-high 99 rushing yards.

Jewell Day and Collin Heimbach both totaled 75 receiving yards Saturday. Day joined Johnson as a 1,000-yard receiver (1,007) this season, and Heimbach came up just shy of the four-figure mark (993). The trio finishes the season as the conference's top three leaders in receiving yards and receiving touchdowns. All three achieved double-digit touchdowns, led by Day with 14, Johnson with 12, and Heimbach with 10.

Keanu Songcuan's 10 tackles against the Bruins give him 90 for the season, which is tops in the Northwest Conference. Daniel Simoes and Braden Ash both recorded a sack against George Fox.

Puget Sound trailed, 41-20, at halftime, but the Loggers maintained the exceptional resiliency that they have showcased all season.

A seven-yard touchdown pass from Bernhardt to Johnson was the first score of the second half, but the Bruins returned the ensuing kickoff four a touchdown to push their lead to 48-27.

Puget Sound scored the next two touchdowns, both of which were Bernhardt-to-Johnson connections. A 42-yard scoring play made the score 48-34, and it became a 48-41 deficit following a 36-yard touchdown pass to Johnson early in the fourth quarter.

However, the Bruins cushioned their lead with a couple of late touchdowns.

The final touchdown of the game was an 18-yard completion from Bernhardt to Johnson down the right sideline. Johnson evaded two defenders and dove for the pylon to score his fifth touchdown of the afternoon.