Whitworth University heads right back to the state of Oregon this week for a game at Lewis & Clark College in Portland. 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 (6-2, 3-2 NWC) earned their third straight win with a 30-20 victory at Pacific (Ore.) last Saturday. The Pioneers (2-5, 1-4 NWC) are playing their final home game of the season and looking to send their seniors off on a positive note.
Live Links for Saturday's game:
Whitworth (6-2, 3-2 NWC)
Lewis & Clark (2-5, 1-4 NWC)
Saturday - Nov. 4
The Pirates: Whitworth earned its third straight win by defeating Pacific 30-20 in Forest Grove, Oregon on Saturday. The Pirates used a key ten-point swing in the third quarter to build a 30-13 lead that the Boxers could not overcome.
Special teams played a huge role in the contest. Garrett McKay broke a school record when he returned a punt 82 yards for a touchdown in the second quarter, giving Whitworth a 17-6 lead. Rehn Reiley made three out of four field goals, including a 38-yarder on the last play of the first half. Reiley also punted four times (39.0 ypp) and each one ended up inside Pacific's 20-yard line, including two inside the ten. Four of Reiley's six kickoffs went for touchbacks. The defense on special teams prevented a score when the Boxer's field goal attempt near the end of the third quarter was thwarted by a bad snap and the ensuing desperation pass was stopped for an eight-yard loss. Two plays later Mason Elms ran 87 yards for a score that gave Whitworth the 30-13 lead.
Elms had a huge day, finishing with 174 net yards rushing on 16 carries, averaging 10.9 yards per attempt. He broke free for touchdown runs of 45 and 87 yards to lead a Whitworth ground game that finished with 216 yards on 28 carries. Tariq Ellis ran for 36 yards on five attempts. Ian Kolste, who continues to play on a sprained ankle, completed 29 of 42 passes for 233 yards without an interception or a touchdown. But several throws converted key first downs. Kevin Thomas caught seven passes for 84 yards, while Michael McKeown grabbed seven for 44 yards. Nick Kiourkas finished with five catches for 56 yards and Garrett McKay had five for 47.
The Whitworth defense did enough to keep the lead throughout the game, even though Pacific finished with a slight edge in total offense (453-449) and ran for 291 yards. Patch Kulp had a game-high ten tackles. Shai Pulawa and Kale Wong made eight stops each, with Pulawa forcing and recovering a fumble in the first half that prevented a Pacific scoring opportunity. Zach Hillman intercepted a pass in the third quarter that led to a Whitworth field goal. Chad Wilburg was credited with a sack and made a fourth-down tackle for no gain at the Whitworth 40 yard line in the first quarter.
Click here for photos of the Pacific game, courtesy of Dick Thomas.
Click here for a collection of photo albums from the 2017 season, provided by Dick Thomas.
The Long Run: The 87-yard touchdown run for Mason Elms is the longest TD run by a Whitworth player since Vern Tucker went 92 yards for a touchdown against Eastern Washington in 1948. Elms is averaging 59.0 rushing yards per game and 6.7 yards per carry this season with four touchdowns.
The Long Run Too: Garrett McKay's 82-yard punt return for a touchdown is Whitworth's first since 2006. It is also the longest punt return for a touchdown in school history, breaking the record of 64 yards set by Darryl Russell in 1959.
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
Oct. 28 – Michael McKeown
Gunslinger: QB Ian Kolste has broken several career records at Whitworth. Over the course of the season he has surpassed Joel Clark's (2003-06) records for total offense, passing yards and passing TDs. He now has 9,904 yards of offense, 9,555 passing yards and 76 touchdowns as a Pirate. Kolste also holds the Pirates' career record for completions (902) and total passes (1,358).
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).
Kolste is 24-6 as a starting QB at Whitworth. His availability for Saturday's game at Lewis & Clark will be determined prior to kickoff.
I am Ironman: Taylor Roelofs has started all 39 games of his Pirate career to this point. The senior corner back has been a stalwart for the Whitworth defense. He has 158 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 39 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 31 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 five catches or more. Nine different Pirates have caught a touchdown this season. Garrett McKay currently has the team lead with 46 receptions while Kevin Thomas has 532 receiving yards. McKay and Thomas have caught four touchdowns apiece.
Big Foot: Rehn Reiley has scored more points with his foot than any kicker in Whitworth history. The junior has made 33 field goals in 52 attempts and has hit 109-112 extra points. His 208 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 40.5 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. 30) D3football.com top-25 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.
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. Click here for a complete list of station numbers throughout the Eastern Washington/North Idaho region.
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 Pioneers: Lewis & Clark College (2-5 overall, 1-4 NWC) has made great strides in head coach Jay Locey's third season. On September 16th the Pioneers won 40-29 at Pomona-Pitzer to end a 33-game losing streak. Then L&C defeated Willamette 24-21 on September 30th to end a 26-game NWC losing skid. The Pioneers have been competitive in most of their seven games so far in 2017.
Locey came to Lewis & Clark from Oregon State, where rose to Associate Head Coach and Chief of Staff. Prior to joining the staff at OSU in 2006, Locey was the head coach at Linfield for ten seasons, where he posted a record of 84-18 and won the 2004 NCAA Division III championship.
L&C is averaging 18.4 points and 289.7 yards per of offense per game with a starting lineup made up of seven freshmen and sophomores. The Pioneers have allowed 32.9 points and 417 yards per contest.
Freshman QB Sawyer May has completed 51% of his passes for 1,096 yards with ten touchdowns and only four interceptions. Sophomore WR Heisman Hosoda has caught 28 passes for 402 yards and three touchdowns. Junior TE Dallas Garreaud leads the team with four TD receptions. Freshman Michael Abraham heads the ground game with 345 rushing yards and a pair of touchdowns. On defense senior linebacker Remington Campbell has 42 tackles, two fumble recoveries and an interception. Junior DE Andrew Werst has 6.5 tackles for losses totaling 31 yards. Another weapon is freshman kicker Obed Eriza, who has made all eight of his field goal attempts and is 13-14 on extra points.
Last Saturday Lewis & Clark hung close with 20th-ranked George Fox for three quarters before the Bruins pulled away in the fourth quarter for a 42-15 win. May completed 13 of 25 passes for 164 yards with one touchdown (to Garreaud) and two interceptions. Abraham ran for 47 yards on 17 carries. Campbell and Werst lead the Pioneers with seven tackles each. Werst forced a fumble that was recovered by Campbell.
The Series: Whitworth leads the all-time series 34-13. The Bucs have won 17 of the last 18 contests. The Pioneers' 30-22 win in 2011 is their only victory in the last 18 meetings in the series. Whitworth won the 2006 game 70-3, the largest margin of victory for either team. The biggest margin of victory for Lewis & Clark was 49-26 in 1993. Lewis & Clark won the first-ever meeting between the schools, 19-0 in 1956.
Last Year: Whitworth built a 32-7 lead at halftime and eventually led 53-13 in the fourth quarter in the 53-20 road victory over Lewis & Clark in the season finale for both schools. Ian Kolste completed 32 of 41 passes for 350 yards with four touchdowns and two interceptions in just over two quarters of action. Thirteen different Pirates caught passes in the game, led by Michael McKeown, who had seven receptions. Kevin Thomas (38 yard TD), Chase Takaki (21 yards) and Garrett McKay (21 yards) all caught touchdowns in the first period to help Whitworth build a 22-0 lead by the end of the first quarter. Whitworth finished with a 559-441 advantage in total offense, despite L&C holding a 32:17 – 27:43 edge in time of possession. Patch Kulp had seven tackles, while LJ Benson returned an interception 37 yards for the Bucs.
Coming up next: Whitworth will host Willamette on Saturday, November 11th at 12:30 pm in the final game of the season. More than 20 seniors will be honored prior to kickoff.