by Henry Miller | Staff Writer
Saturday, Sept. 29, Whitworth football defeated Linfield for the first time in 12 years. Both teams entered the game with a record of 2-0 as Northwest Conference play kicked off. The Pirates made a serious statement by defeating the number 11th ranked team in the country.
“I think sometimes you gotta get rid of that stuff in the past…I think they really felt confident in what they do,” Head Coach Rod Sandberg said.
The Bucs headed into the second half down 7-0 in a very defensive game. With 9:10 left in the third quarter, quarterback Leif Erickson, 20’, ran in a 22-yard touchdown to put the Bucs on the board. This was followed by a 31-yard touchdown pass from Erickson to wide receiver Garrett Mckay,19’, to put the Bucs up 12-7.
Later, with 56 seconds left in the third quarter the Pirates struck again after a Mason Elms one-yard run to ultimately seal the win for Whitworth.
“We got one of our best defensive players, Kale Wong, 20’, back form a targeting suspension. He’s such a special player he allows us to do so much more with our defense. Guys seeing him out there brought a lot of belief,” said Sandberg.
The Bucs have had a new man under center since record setting quarterback Ian Kolste graduated last year—Leif Erickson, who got some playing time last season when Kolste was injured. Erickson got the starting job and has led the Bucs to an undefeated record through four games.
“He’s earned it in the off-season. He’s a great player and a great competitor. He plays within himself and knows the offense. He’s a confident player,” said Sandberg.
Erickson finished Saturday’s game with 241 passing yards and one passing touchdown.
The Whitworth defense came ready on Saturday, holding one of the best rushing teams in the country to only three yards on the ground.
“They are very good running the ball… we felt like we had to stop the run and make them a little bit more one dimensional,” said coach Sandberg.
The Bucs face off against one of the best teams in the conference in George Fox next Saturday in Newberg, Oregon.