SPOKANE, Wash. – For only the fifth time in school history the Whitworth Pirates have claimed nine victories in a football season after Saturday's 47-19 win over visiting Lewis & Clark in the regular season finale for both schools. Whitworth hopes it is enough to get the Pirates (9-1 overall, 6-1 NWC) an at-large bid to the NCAA Division III playoffs.
The NCAA will announce the 32-team field Sunday afternoon at 3:00 pm (PST).
Ian Kolste, playing with a broken finger on his throwing hand, still completed 21 of 27 passes for 341 yards with four touchdowns and no interceptions in two and a half quarters of action. He helped Whitworth outgain the Pioneers (0-9, 0-7) 531-349 in the game.
As they have for much of the season, the Pirates started fast, outscoring L&C 27-0 in the first quarter. The Bucs scored on each of their first four possessions. Kolste sandwiched touchdown passes of 27 yards to Christopher Forrest and 50 yards to Mason Elms around touchdown runs by Casey Bond (6 yards) and Kyle Brownell (2 yards).
Whitworth had four touchdowns before L&C had three first downs.
Kolste found Forrest again for a 25 yard touchdown pass early in the second quarter that increased the lead to 34-0. Forrest, a senior playing his final game at the Pine Bowl, came into the game with only two career receptions. Making his first career start, Forrest led the Pirates in the game with five receptions for 74 yards with his first two touchdown catches.
Rehn Reiley then gave the Bucs a 37-0 lead with a 46-yard field goal. It was his fourth field goal of the season from 45 yards or longer. Reiley has shattered Whitworth's team record for field goals made in one season with 14, breaking the previous record of nine.
Lewis & Clark got on the scoreboard at the end of the first half when QB Niko Fortino completed a six-yard scoring pass to Dennis Kamakana, pulling L&C to within 37-6 at halftime.
Whitworth scored on its opening possession of the second half, going 74 yards in nine plays. Kolste's fourth touchdown pass of the game went to Nick Kiourkas from 26 yards away. It was Kiourkas' team-leading seventh TD catch of the season. At that point the Pirates began to substitute liberally on offense and defense.
Josh Bocker's two-yard run capped an 80-yard touchdown drive for Lewis & Clark at the end of the third quarter. It was the longest drive of the day for the Pioneers.
Reiley added a 27-yard field goal early in the fourth quarter to cap the Whitworth scoring, making two of his three field goal attempts of the day.
Andrew Paquin scored from one yard away with just over three minutes left in the game for L&C.
Whitworth outgained the Pioneers 174-107 on the ground. Nine different players carried the ball, led by Bond's 65 yards on 13 carries. Jonathan Jun, getting his first playing time of the season, carried 5 times for 54 yards.
Fortino completed 23 of 44 passes for 242 yards for L&C. He had one touchdown and was intercepted once. He was sacked four times. Carl Appleton caught six passes for 90 yards to lead Pioneer receivers. Bocker ran 18 times for 51 net yards.
Stein Retzlaff, who came into the game as the NWC's leading tackler, played to that reputation for L&C. He led all players with 18 total tackles in the game, including two for losses of nine yards.