FOREST GROVE, Ore. – Whitworth quarterback Ian Kolste threw for 490 yards and five touchdowns to lead the visiting Pirates to a 55-35 win at Pacific University and put himself in the Whitworth record books for single-season passing yardage and total offense.
Kolste completed 44 of 57 passes without throwing an interception. And he also caught a touchdown pass in the second half from Kevin Thomas when the Pirates ran a trick play. Kolste directed an attack that rolled up 617 yards of total offense.
Kolste has thrown for 3,154 yards in 2016, in only eight games, breaking the single season record of 2,912 set by Danny Figueira in 1993. Kolste also has 3,166 yards of total offense, knocking off the previous Pirate record of 2,768 set by Bryan Peterson in 2014.
Whitworth (6-2 overall, 4-1 NWC) scored two touchdowns in every quarter to set a pace that the Boxers were simply not able to keep up with. Kolste hit Brett Moser on a two-yard TD pass to complete the Pirates' first possession. That touchdown came on fourth and goal. On Whitworth's next possession, Kolste rolled out and found Nick Kiourkas for a 33-yard touchdown on a play in which the Boxers were offsides, giving the Bucs a free shot at the endzone.
Kolste's third touchdown pass of the game was eight yards over the middle to Chase Naccarato, completing an 80-yard drive in the second quarter, Whitworth's longest of the game. Duke DeGaetano ran for the first of his two touchdowns at the end of the second quarter to give the Pirates a 27-14 lead at the break.
A rare Kolste mistake led to Pacific's first touchdown. Whitworth was leading 13-0 when Kolste was chased out of the pocket and fumbled while getting sacked at his own 24-yard line. Boxer QB Campbell Summerfield then connected with RB Brandon Boyd for a 25-yard TD pass to cut the margin in half. Kamana Pimental added a three-yard TD run in the second quarter for Pacific.
The Pirates appeared to break the game open in the third quarter, outscoring the Boxers 14-0 to stretch the lead to 41-14. The first touchdown came when Kolste threw a backwards pass to Thomas, who then threw downfield back to Kolste for the 24-yard touchdown. Thomas, a former QB at Gonzaga Prep in Spokane, now has thrown two touchdown passes in the last two seasons.
Then Kolste hit Garrett McKay for a 14-yard TD pass with only 50 seconds left in the third quarter to give Whitworth the four-touchdown lead.
But the momentum quickly shifted in Pacific's favor. Austin Cardoza broke free for a 35-yard touchdown run on the Boxers' ensuing possession to cut the margin to 41-21. Then Kolste fumbled again while getting sacked near midfield. Two plays later Summerfield threw a 32-yard touchdown pass to freshman WR Kobe Williams to pull Pacific within 41-28 with nearly 13 minutes left to play in the game.
But the Pirates did not panic. Kolste directed a 62-yard drive that culminated in a 12-yard TD pass to Kiourkas to extend the lead back to 48-28.
Summerfield directed one more scoring drive for Pacific, which went 75 yards but took 14 plays and used over three-and-a-half minutes. He hit Williams from three-yards away to complete the drive with 5:54 to go.
Whitworth was able to put the game away with one more scoring drive of its own. An on-sides kick attempt was fielded cleanly by Thomas, giving Whitworth possession at the Pacific 43 yard line. The Pirates were able to take seven plays and use 2:45 of game clock with DeGaetano running in from one yard away to complete the drive. DeGaetano now has 17 rushing touchdowns this season and continues to lead the NWC by a wide margin. He is one away from tying the Pirates' single-season rushing TD record.
A hallmark of Whitworth's success this season has been taking advantage of redzone scoring opportunities. The Pirates went 6-6 with six TDs during this game.
DeGaetano finished with 106 yards rushing on 20 carries (5.3 ypc), to lead the Whitworth ground game. The final team rushing total (103 yards) was impacted by four Pacific sacks which totaled 36 yards in losses.
McKay caught 13 passes for 171 yards and one score, while Kiourkas caught seven passes for 113 yards and two scores. Twelve different Whitworth players caught at least one of Kolste's passes on Saturday.
The Whitworth defense did a solid job against Pacific's rushing attack. The Boxers came into the game averaging over 191 yards per game on the ground, but were held to only 72 net yards by the Bucs. Pimental was the leading rusher with 41 yards on eight carries. Summerfield did his best to make up for the lack of running ame, completing 39 of 63 passes for 421 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions. Williams caught 20 passes for 237 yards, setting career highs in both categories. The Boxers fell to 3-5 overall and 2-3 in the NWC.
Dalin McDonnell led the Whitworth defense with 11 tackles. He had three tackles for loss, including an 11-yard sack, one of three Pirate sacks in the game. Jordan Pride made seven tackles and broke up two passes. Brian Lee and Taylor Roelofs also had seven stops.
Whitworth will host Willamette University next Saturday in the final home game of the 2016 season. It will kickoff at 12:30 pm in the Pine Bowl.