Whitworth closes the 2010 football season Saturday, and the Pirates would like to finish the same way they’ve ended 11 of the previous 12 seasons: With at least a .500 record.
To do so, the Pirates (4-5, 2-3 Northwest Conference) need to knock off Puget Sound (2-6, 1-4) at 12:30 today at the Pine Bowl. Whitworth has had just one sub-.500 campaign (4-6 in 2003) since 1998.
“We really don’t want to make it two,” head coach John Tully said. “It’s always good when you can end on a winning note. It kind of springboards you into recruiting and the players get to go out on a positive note.”
Many of the 13 seniors who will be playing in their final game started their Whitworth careers on a positive note. Running back Adam Anderson started on the 2007 team that went 8-2 and won the NWC title. Tully recalled Layton Brown and Travis Niles were backup linebackers and defensive back Derek Stottlemyer played in nickel coverages. Several of the four-year seniors saw time on special teams.
Anderson, despite being hampered by ankle injuries the last two seasons, is second in school history in all-purpose yards (4,732) and rushing yards (3,114). His 48 touchdowns are a school record.
“He’s one of the very best players we’ve had since I’ve been here,” Tully said. “When he was healthy, he was (NWC) offensive player of the year back-to-back (in 2007-08), that’s the kind of player he is.”
Anderson reinjured his ankle three weeks ago. He ran for 44 yards last week against Linfield, but wasn’t able to play in the second half. Tully said Anderson will start and “play as hard as he can as long as he can.”
Puget Sound, led by senior quarterback Duncan White, a transfer from Sacramento State, leads the NWC in passing offense (309.5 ypg), but its defense has yielded at least 31 points in each of the last seven games.
White passed for 625 yards and eight touchdowns, including one that put UPS in front with 27 seconds left, in a 68-64 loss to Lewis & Clark. The Loggers also lost in six overtimes to Whittier and on a last-play, 49-yard goal by Pacific Lutheran.