by Tyler Jezierski
The Whitworth Pirates came up short in a 28-21 loss to 15th-ranked Pacific Lutheran last Saturday in Whitworth’s last home game of the season.
The Lutes (8-1, 5-1 NWC) ended their regular season, while Whitworth (3-6, 1-4 NWC) still has one game remaining on the regular season schedule.
The Lutes were in control for the first quarter. Junior quarterback Dalton Ritchey ran for 21 yards to score the Lutes’ first touchdown, making the score 7-0. Later in the quarter, Ritchey took the ball for another 8-yard touchdown run, bringing the Lutes to a 14-0 lead.
Whitworth’s senior defensive back Casey Monahan said that keeping a high level of motivation was crucial for keeping the game close.
“We kept playing hard and brought energy for the whole game and didn’t let the first two drives get our confidence down,” Monahan said. “We also created turnovers which was something we knew we needed to do as a defense,” Monahan said.
Junior wide receiver Drew Clausen caught a pass from junior quarterback Bryan Peterson in the second quarter for a 10-yard touchdown reception, making the score 14-7. Peterson struck again with his pass to senior wide receiver Dustin Martin for a 5-yard touchdown reception, tying the score at 14-14.
Head coach John Tully said turnovers were the reason the Pirates were able to keep the game close.
“Turnovers were really good and important to keep us close in the game. They put us in a good position to win and to keep it at 14 all at half,” Tully said.
The third quarter was all defense as both teams were scoreless, but the fourth quarter brought a resurgent PLU. Senior running back Kelly Morgan caught a pass from Ritchey for an 11-yard touchdown, increasing the Lutes’ lead to 21-14. Junior running back Niko Madison took the ball for a 4-yard run at 9:12 to extend the Lutes’ lead to 28-14.
With 1:26 left in the game, Whitworth senior tight end Wade Meyer caught a pass from Peterson for a 20-yard touchdown for a final score of 28-21.
Peterson completed 25-of-31 passes for 220 yards and three touchdowns to highlight Whitworth’s offensive performance.
Monahan and senior linebacker Jacob Kriegbaum each had eight tackles. In addition, junior defensive end Aaron Powe recorded a sack.
Meyer said that if both the offense and defense play well against Lewis & Clark it will be a fun game to watch.
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