PORTLAND, Ore. – Whitworth closed out an eight-win season in football with a 53-20 win at Lewis & Clark on Saturday afternoon at Griswold Stadium.
The Pirates finished the year 8-2 overall and 6-1 in the Northwest Conference. Whitworth has now won eight or more games in one season nine times in school history. The Pioneers fell to 0-9, 0-7 with their 32nd consecutive loss.
Ian Kolste finished off a record-setting season by completing 32 of 41 passes for 350 yards and four touchdowns. But he also was responsible for three turnovers, throwing two interceptions and losing a fumble.
It took the Pirates only 40 seconds to score their first touchdown and break the school record for points-per-game in a season. Kolste connected with Kevin Thomas for a 38-yard touchdown pass on the Pirates' second play from scrimmage. Then Whitworth converted a two-point conversion for an 8-0 at 14:18 of the first quarter.
The Pirates scored again less than one minute later after DE Daniel Portillo forced a fumble on L&C's third play of the game. Kolste found Chase Takaki for a 21-yard touchdown pass to give Whitworth a 15-0 lead less than 1:40 into the contest.
The Pirates stretched the lead to three touchdowns when Kolste found Garrett McKay for a 21-yard score on Whitworth's next possession, capping a 55-yard drive.
The Bucs took a 29-0 lead early in the second quarter after Kolste passed five yards to Duke DeGaetano. It was DeGaetano's first receiving TD of the season. He had run for 20 touchdowns in the first nine games. That touchdown capped a 76-yard possession.
Lewis & Clark got on the board when Niko Fortino found Carl Appleton for a 13-yard touchdown pass with 1:18 to play in the half. Fortino and Appleton are the only two seniors on the Pioneer roster and they were honored before the game.
But it left Whitworth enough time to go 60 yards before Rehn Reiley kicked a 26-yard field goal as time expired, giving the Pirates a 32-7 lead at halftime.
LJ Benson put to rest any hope of L&C mounting a comeback to start the second half when he picked off Fortino and returned untouched up the Pirates' sideline for a 37-yard TD less than one minute into the third quarter.
Fortino and Appleton hooked up for a second touchdown midway through the third quarter to cut the margin to 39-13 after the extra point was blocked.
DeGaetano then ran for his 21st touchdown of the season late in the third, extending his school record for rushing TDs in a season. He finished the game with 66 yards on 14 carries and hit the 1,000-yard mark for the season.
Lewis & Clark drove deep into Whitworth territory midway through the fourth quarter, gaining first and goal at the Pirates' three-yard line. But the defense held on downs.
Backup QB Jonah Koski then moved the Pirates' offense 99-yards for the final TD of 2016. He went 6-6 on the drive for 48 yards and finished it off with a two-yard TD run with 4:05 to play in the game. As a back-up QB this season, Koski did not throw a single incomplete pass and finished the year 13 for 13.
The Pioneers scored their final touchdown when backup QB Mike Machado hit Dallas Garreaud with an eight-yard touchdown pass with two minutes to play in the game.
Whitworth finished the game with a 539-441 edge in total offense. Each team finished three turnovers.
Michael McKeown led Pirate receivers with seven receptions for 53 yards. McKay and Thomas each caught five passes. McKay's touchdown reception was his eighth of the season.
Fortino completed 32 of 51 passes for 351 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions to lead the L&C offense in his final game as a Pioneer. Appleton grabbed nine passes for 130 yards.
Kolste finished the season with 3,790 yards passing, setting a new single-season record. He set other school records with 351 completions and completions per game (35.1). And he tied the Pirate record for TD passes in a season (29).
Whitworth finished the season with 459 points, setting a school record for total points and points per game (45.9). The Pirates also set team records for passing yards in one season (3,944).