Whitworth University will make the first of two consecutive trips to the state of Oregon this week with a game at Pacific University in Forest Grove. Kickoff for the Northwest Conference contest is scheduled for 1:00 pm. The game will be heard live in Spokane on KSBN 1230am and on the world wide web at KSBN.net. The radio broadcast will begin at 12:45 pm.
The Pirates (5-2, 2-2 NWC) defeated Puget Sound 38-23 last Saturday. The Boxers (3-2, 3-1 NWC) are riding a three-game winning streak, including last Saturday's 17-7 win at Lewis & Clark.
Live Links for Saturday's game:
Whitworth (5-2, 2-2 NWC)
Pacific (3-2, 3-1 NWC)
Saturday - Oct. 28
The Pirates: Ian Kolste returned from an injury to set a career milestone and lead Whitworth to a 31-7 halftime lead, on the way to a 38-23 win over Puget Sound in the Pine Bowl last Saturday. It was the Pirates' 22nd straight win over the Loggers.
Kolste played just the first half, yet completed 20 of 32 passes for 224 yards with three touchdowns and one interception. Along the way he surpassed Joel Clark's Whitworth record for career total offense (see below). Garrett McKay, Michael McKeown and Mason Elms caught the touchdown passes from Kolste, while Tariq Ellis burst through the middle for a 50-yard touchdown run. Elms had a big day running the ball, racing 52 yards on Whitworth's first play from scrimmage and finishing with 144 yards on 18 attempts. McKay ended up with five catches for 67 yards, while McKeown caught six for 51 yards. Kevin Thomas had six grabs for 93 yards. Leif Ericksen and Connor Johnson split time at QB in the second half. Johnson ran for his second TD in as many weeks. Ericksen completed two of his five passes for 14 yards as Whitworth focused on the running game after halftime.
It was another strong team effort for the Pirate defense as 15 different players finished with at least three tackles in the game. Taylor Roelofs had his best game of the season with nine solo tackles, a pass interception that set up Whitworth's touchdown at the end of the first half, a forced fumble and two other pass breakups. Patch Kulp added eight tackles, an interception and two pass breakups. Kale Wong made six stops, two of which were behind the line of scrimmage. Shai Pulawa had five solo tackles and recovered a fumble.
Rehn Reiley made a 39-yard field goal on the first play of the second quarter, the 30th field goal of his career. He also made all five of his extra points in improve his season PAT total to 26-26. He missed a 49-yard field goal in the third quarter and his 33-yard try in the fourth was blocked. Reiley only had to punt twice in the game and averaged 36.5 yards. He averaged 63.9 yards per kickoff with one touchback.
Click here for photos of the Puget Sound game, courtesy of Dick Thomas.
Click here for a collection of photo albums from the 2017 season, provided by Dick Thomas.
Panama '18: The Whitworth football team will go to Panama in May of 2018. The trip will include a game against the Panama national football team, a service project in the rainforest, and several sightseeing opportunities including the Panama Canal. The NCAA allows teams to make an international trip in the off-season once every four years. Click here for more information.
Team Captains: The Pirate team captains in 2017 are Ian Kolste and Garrett McKay from the offense and Patch Kulp and Taylor Roelofs from the defense. A special teams captain will be selected on a week-by-week basis. The 2017 Special Teams captains have been:
Sept. 2 – John-Robert Woolley
Sept. 9 – Casey Bond
Sept. 16 – Kevin Thomas
Sept. 30 – Casey Bond
Oct. 7 – Chase Takaki
Oct. 14 – Rehn Reiley
Oct. 21 – Ben Stockdale
Gunslinger: QB Ian Kolste has broken several career records at Whitworth. In last Saturday's game against Puget Sound, he surpassed Joel Clark (9,656 from 2003-06) as the Pirates' all-time leader in total offense. He now has 9,678 yards of offense in his career. In the first half against La Verne on September 16th Kolse surpassed Clark's career records for passing yards (8,513) and touchdown passes (71). Kolste has passed for 9,322 yards and 76 touchdowns as a Pirate. Kolste also holds the Pirates' career record for completions (873) and total passes (1,315).
Kolste earned first team All-NWC and second team All-West Region (D3football.com) following the 2016 season. He set Whitworth single-season school records for plays (552), total offense (3,831), pass attempts (488), pass completions (351) and passing yards (3,790). He tied the school record with 29 touchdown passes (with Joel Clark). Kolste set an NCAA DIII record for pass completions per game (35.1).
His availability for Saturday's game at Pacific (Ore.) will be determined prior to kickoff.
I am Ironman: Taylor Roelofs has started all 38 games of his Pirate career to this point. The senior corner back has been a stalwart for the Whitworth defense. He has 155 tackles, eight interceptions and 40 passes defended over his three-plus seasons. Roelofs has been named second team All-Northwest Conference twice, as a sophomore and junior.
Going Streaking: Senior Nick Kiourkas has caught a pass in 38 straight games. He has caught at least one pass in every game of his Pirate career dating back to 2014, a remarkable streak of ability and consistency. Similarly, redshirt junior Garrett McKay has at least one catch in every game of his Whitworth career, which is 30 straight games and also dates back to the first game of 2014. McKay was injured in the second game of the 2014 season and was granted a medical hardship waiver by the NCAA.
Spreading the Wealth: Whitworth has a deep and capable receiving corps once again in 2017. Seventeen different Pirates have caught at least one pass so far this season, and 12 players have four catches or more. Nine different Pirates have caught a touchdown this season. Garrett McKay currently has the team lead with 36 receptions and 365 receiving yards. Kevin Thomas has caught four touchdowns.
Big Foot: Rehn Reiley has scored more points with his foot than any kicker in Whitworth history. The junior has made 30 field goals in 48 attempts and has hit 106-109 extra points. His 196 career points are more than any previous Pirate kicker. But he also adds to the kickoff and punt game. Reiley has touchbacks on more than 50% of his career kickoffs and he currently leads the NWC with an average of 40.7 yards per punt.
Looking Back at 2016: Whitworth bounced back from a season-opening 50-49 overtime loss to Central to finish 8-2 overall and 6-1 in the NWC. The victory total included comeback wins at La Verne and Pacific Lutheran when the Bucs trailed by double digits in the fourth quarters of both games. Whitworth surpassed 50 points four times last season and set a school record for scoring average (45.9 points per game). The Pirates also set school records for passing yards (3,944) and total yards (5,262) in one year. Whitworth's only other loss came to nationally-ranked Linfield by a score of 45-31.
National rankings: Whitworth is listed with "others receiving votes" in the latest (Oct. 23) D3football.com poll. The Pirates have five points in the poll.
NWC Poll: Whitworth finished second in the NWC coaches poll with 42 points and one first place vote (coaches are not allowed to vote for their own school). Eight-time defending champion Linfield finished first in the poll with seven first place votes and 56 points. George Fox was third with 37 points. Link to NWC Football Coaches Poll.
On the Air Again: Whitworth's games are once again carried live this season on KSBN 1230am in Spokane. The relationship between Pirate athletics and KSBN goes back to 1994, a span of 23 years. Bud Nameck, familiar to listeners in Spokane as the host of the KXLY 920am Morning News, is in his second season as the voice of the Pirates in 2017. He was the voice of Washington State University men's basketball for 22 years, and spent that same amount of time on the Cougar football broadcasts – the final three on play by play. He is a longtime resident of the Inland Northwest who began his career as the Sports Information Director and radio voice of Gonzaga University basketball and baseball in the 1980s.
Two SWX Broadcasts: Local cable station SWX will carried two of Whitworth's games this season: this past week's game against Puget Sound and the Homecoming game against George Fox (Oct. 7). Sam Adams and Mike Peterson provided play by play and color analysis. SWX stands for Sports & Weather Right Now and is owned by local NBC affiliate KHQ channel 6. SWX can be seen both over-the-air and through some cable services in the Spokane-Coeur d'Alene, Kennewick-Pasco-Richland, and Yakima viewership areas. In the Spokane-Coeur d'Alene area, SWX is found on digital channel 6.2, on Comcast channel 112 in Spokane and Time Warner channel 306 in North Idaho.
The Head Coach: Rod Sandberg has had a huge impact on the Pirate program in his first three years as head coach, posting a 23-8 record and leading the Bucs to the NCAA playoffs in year number two. He had 28 players earn All-Northwest Conference recognition in 2015 and 2016. Sandberg spent 19 seasons on the defensive staff at Wheaton College (Ill.), including the last 11 as defensive coordinator. Wheaton made the NCAA Division III playoffs five times during Sandberg's tenure as defensive coordinator. The team never lost a first round playoff game and reached the Division III semifinals in 2008 and quarterfinals in 2003. Sandberg's 2007 and 2013 squads led the Collegiate Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin, regarded as one of the strongest football leagues at the Division III level, in scoring defense. The Thunder were second in the league in scoring defense five other times.
The Boxers: After opening the season with two losses and a cancelled game, Pacific University has won three straight contests to improve to 3-2. More importantly to the Boxers, they are 3-1 in the NWC and in the thick of the NWC title chase. Pacific is coming off of a 17-7 win at Lewis & Clark last Saturday.
Keith Buckley is in his eighth season, the only coach the Boxers have had since resurrecting the program in 2010. He is 30-41, including a co-NWC title in 2014. After a 4-23 start in the first three seasons, Pacific is 26-18 since 2013 under Buckley.
Pacific leads the NWC in rushing offense in 2017, averaging 182 yards per game on the ground. The Boxers average 344.2 yards of offense per game and 19.2 points per contest. They allow an average of 23.6 points and 348.8 yards per game.
Senior running back Brandon Boyd leads the league in rushing at 124.8 yards per game and 6.0 yards per carry. He has run for six touchdowns. Sophomore JT Greenough has taken over at quarterback. He has completed 56.7% of his passes for 811 yards with five touchdowns and seven interceptions. Sophomore WR Kobe Williams was a revelation as a freshman in the NWC in 2016, finishing with 77 catches for 1,260 yards and 15 TDs, earning All-NWC and All-Region recognition. This year he has 33 receptions for 367 yards and two touchdowns. Senior DE Xavier Harvey ranks fourth in the NWC with 4.5 sacks for 23 yards. Senior LB Ina Teofilo has a team-high 29 total tackles.
Pacific ground out a 17-7 road win at Lewis & Clark last Saturday behind Boyd's 186 yards on 29 carries. The Boxers gained 288 of their 401 total yards on the ground. Greenough completed 9 of 21 passes for 113 yards. He threw a pair of TD passes to Williams, including a 64-yarder in the first quarter. Pacific's defense limited the Pioneers to only 227 yards of offense.
The Series: Whitworth leads the all-time series 21-4-1. The teams first met in 1910 with Pacific earning a 21-0 victory. The Pirates and Boxers would not meet again until 1967 when Whitworth won 21-0. The teams played every year between 1973 and 1984. The series resumed again from 1987 - 1991. Then Pacific dropped its program and did not field a varsity team from 1992 through 2009, resuming in 2010. Whitworth's largest margin of victory was 45-0 in 1976. The Boxers' largest win came in that initial meeting between the schools. Pacific won two in a row in 2013 and 2014.
Last Year: It was a record-setting kind of day for Whitworth QB Ian Kolste during last season's 55-35 win at Pacific (Ore.). Kolste surpassed the Pirate single-season records for passing yards and total offense in the eighth game of the season during the victory.
Kolste threw for 490 yards and five touchdowns. He completed 44 of 57 passes (77.2%) without throwing an interception. He also caught a 24-yard touchdown pass from Kevin Thomas in the third quarter. Kolste completed passes to 10 different receivers in the game, led by Garrett McKay who caught 14 passes for 187 yards and a touchdown. Nick Kiourkas had a big game with seven receptions for 113 yards and two scores. Thomas caught four passes for 67 yards. Duke DeGaetano finished with 106 rushing yards on 20 carries (5.3 ypc) with two touchdowns.
Whitworth scored touchdowns on all six of its trips to the redzone and converted 50% of its third down opportunities.
The Pirate defense showed improvement on Saturday, limiting Pacific to 73 rushing yards after the Boxers came into the game averaging more than 191 yards per game on the ground. Brian Lee and Taylor Roelofs had seven tackles each. Kobe Williams had a big day catching the ball for Pacific with 20 receptions for 237 yards and two touchdowns.
Rehn Reiley made seven of eight PATs and averaged 63 yards per kickoff with six touchbacks. Reiley also averaged 38.7 yards per punt.
Coming up next: Whitworth will return to Oregon for a game at Lewis & Clark College in Portland next Saturday at 1:00 pm.