Pirates win Homecoming Game and first NWC match

by McKinley Powers

The stands were packed with fans on Homecoming weekend eager to watch the Whitworth Pirates take on the George Fox Bruins in the first conference matchup of the season. The Pirates came out strong and finished the Bruins with a final score of 37-14.

After defeating the Bruins last season 30-7, the Pirates were looking for a similar outcome as they stormed the Pine Bowl on Saturday. The first two touchdowns came within the first five minutes of the game with sophomore receiver Nick Kiourkas and junior running back Duke DeGaetano both putting points on the board for the Pirates. Freshman kicker Rehn Reiley then kicked a 51-yard field goal after the Bruins stopped the Pirates on downs to finish out the first quarter 20-0.

“The game was great,” McKeown said. “Offense didn’t play the best but I had the opportunity to play a little more today and do what I had to do.”

The Pirates started out the second quarter with a double pass trick play by sophomore receivers Kevin Thomas and Mike McKeown, which resulted in a touchdown. The Pirate’s defense then made a mark with a sack by sophomore outside linebacker JT Phelan. The Pirates finished the half up 27-0.

During halftime, President Beck Taylor honored the class of 2015 inductees into the Whitworth Hall of Fame. Those were Whitworth Alumni who made a significant impact in sports at Whitworth and have continued to fulfill Whitworth’s mission of serving humanity after graduation. The inductees included former coaches and former athletes whom many of which still hold athletic records at Whitworth and in the NWC.

The third quarter got under way with a 48-yard field goal by Reiley, but no further points for the Pirates. In the fourth quarter junior linebacker Dalin McDonnell had one interception, which George Fox answered with one of their own. Following the play, senior defensive lineman Danny Welstad sacked the Bruins quarterback. The Pirates finished the game with a touchdown by Degaetano. The final score came out to 37-14.

“I thought we came out fast and played good assignment football,” senior team captain Welstad said. “We came out a little slow in the second half but we were able to finish strong. Overall I thought we did really well.”

Overall, the Pirates offense showed up with 513 total yards compared to George Fox’s 270 total yards. That included a total of 427 passing yards by the Pirates compared to the Bruin’s 139 yards.

“We came out knowing they wanted to smash us in the mouth,” McDonnell said. “We executed our assignments and stayed strong throughout the whole game. It was awesome.”

Whitworth leads the Northwest Conference along with Linfield, Pacific University and the University of Puget Sound. The Pirates currently stand with 37 total points behind Linfield’s 73 total points for conference.

The Pirates will hit the road this following Saturday to take on the University of Puget Sound. The game will be held in Tacoma, with kickoff at 1 p.m.

Contact McKinley Powers at mpowers18@my.whitworth.edu

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