Football defeats Pacific Lutheran for first time in five years

by McKinley Powers

The Pine Bowl was packed with visiting parents for Family Weekend last Saturday when the Whitworth Pirates defeated the Pacific Lutheran University Lutes with a score of 32-7. With this victory, the five game losing streak to the Lutes was brought to a halt and the Pirates continued their winning season with an unblemished record of 6-0.

Starting off the scoring drive by the Pirates, junior running back Griffin Hare ran the ball into the endzone late in the quarter, finishing off a 75 yard drive for the offense. Junior Jonah Koski then ran the ball in for a two-point conversion, giving the Pirates an 8-0 lead against the Lutes. Early in the second quarter, senior quarterback Ian Kolste found sophomore receiver Michael McKeown for a 30 yard touchdown pass, giving the Pirates a 15-0 lead.

Later in the quarter, Pirates’ defense was determined as they worked to stop the Lutes’ drive towards the end zone. Junior linebacker Dalin McDonnell intercepted Lutes’ quarterback Cole Chandler’s pass and ran it back for a 45 yard touchdown, maintaining the Pirate’s lead at 22-0. Freshman kicker Rehn Riley then kicked a 44 yard field goal to put the Pirates at a comfortable 25-0 lead to finish off the half. The Pirates came out of the half with a total of 221 yards to PLU’s 114.

“We’re playing very well as a team,” sophomore defensive back Matt Wetzel said. “The defense is definitely coming together and really stepping up for us this season. We’ve made a tremendous amount of progress from last season on both sides of the ball.”

Coming out of the locker room at half time, the Lutes started out with a strong drive that was disrupted by a fumble forced by sophomore defensive back Taylor Roelofs and recovered by junior linebacker Alex Myrick. Whitworth was then forced to punt by PLUs defense which resulted in a missed 24 yard field goal attempt by the Lutes.

Continuing in the third quarter, the Pirates capitalized on an 80 yard drive which resulted in a 31 yard touchdown pass received by sophomore receiver Nick Kiourkas from Kolste. With less than 6 minutes left in the quarter, the Pirates lead the Lute’s with an unanswered 32 points.

PLU’s only touchdown came early in the fourth quarter when Lute’s quarterback Chandler found receiver Beau Lockmer resulting in a 38 yard touchdown pass. The Pirates’ defense was able to hold off further scoring by the Lutes until the clock ticked down, resulting in a final score of 32-7.

“Our players have wanted this game for a long time, no one on the team has beaten them,” head coach Rodney Sandberg said. “Last season it was the last game of the year and we just did not feel good about how that game ended. That loss and how the season ended served as motivation all off season. I think our players really came ready to play. They had a lot of fun today.”

A larger threat will come next week when the Pirates take on the the also undefeated Linfield Wildcats, the defending conference champions. This showdown will determine who takes first place in the conference.

“It’s going to be a very fun and challenging week for us,” junior defensive end Mac Shaw said. “We are going to be playing a very good team and playing at their place. We are going to have to show up and play well on Saturday.”

The Pirates will play away next Saturday in McMinnville Ore. at 1:00 p.m.

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