Now that’s going out in style.
The Whitworth Pirates honored 13 seniors during pregame ceremonies and then sent them out with an endless supply of highlight-reel plays in a feel-good 63-35 victory over Puget Sound on a chilly Saturday at the Pine Bowl. Whitworth ended the season with a 5-5 record, 3-3 in the Northwest Conference, marking the 12th time in 13 seasons the Pirates have finished at least .500.
Senior Adam Anderson’s last game was one of the best of his decorated career. He ran for 224 yards and six touchdowns, the latter equaling his school record. He became Whitworth’s all-time leading rusher with a 30-yard run early in the fourth quarter. He finished with 3,338 career yards, eclipsing Mark Linden’s 3,318 from 1988-90.
“I enjoyed it,” said a smiling Anderson, still not at full speed after suffering an ankle injury three weeks ago. “It was fun to go out with that kind of game.”
His first carry went for 10 yards, the next for 34. He sprinted past the 100-yard barrier with an 81-yard run that opened the scoring with 8:27 left in the first quarter. He also scored on runs of 6, 9, 2, 1 and 13 yards – the 9-yarder coming after a bungled center-quarterback exchange that did nothing to deter Anderson from speeding around right end.
And all anybody wanted to talk about afterward was his 74-yard touchdown pass to Jake DeGooyer. It was Anderson’s first TD pass since his freshman year in 2007, but it’s a play that Whitworth trots out on occasion. Anderson, who played quarterback in junior high, has four career completions for 166 yards, but he left head coach John Tully shaking his head with his perfectly thrown dart that hit DeGooyer in stride.
“He let go of that and I went, ‘Geez,’” Tully said.
The Pirates established season highs for points and total yards (596). The 63 points were Whitworth’s most since a 70-3 romp over Lewis & Clark in 2006. Quarterback Taylor Eglet, building off a solid performance last week, was 16 of 22 for 212 yards.
Whitworth scored on its last four possessions of the first half. After UPS (2-7, 1-5) pulled within 28-14 with 1:58 left, Eglet completed four passes for 35 yards and the Loggers were flagged for pass interference in the end zone. Anderson took care of the last 2 yards to give Whitworth a 35-14 lead at half.
The Loggers called pass plays on their first 18 plays. Quarterback Duncan White finished with 421 passing yards and five touchdowns, four of those going to Adam Kniffin.
UPS moved the ball efficiently, but Whitworth limited the damage by making open-field tackles, forcing one fumble and snagging three interceptions. Senior linebacker Layton Brown burst through a crowd of Loggers to intercept a screen pass, leading to a TD that put Whitworth in front 42-14.
Pacific Lutheran 24, Willamette 21: Jordan Rasmussen connected with Tyler Bowen for a 13-yard touchdown pass with 1:10 remaining and the Lutes finished in second place in the NWC after rallying against the Bearcats in Puyallup, Wash.
Central Washington 21, Western Oregon 16: Ryan Robertson tallied 299 yards passing and two TDs on 26-of-42 passing and the Wildcats (8-3, 7-1) clinched the GNAC title outright with their win over WOU (7-4, 5-3) in Ellensburg.
Carroll 35, MSU-Northern 10: Gary Wagner passed for 207 yards and three TDs and added 44 yards rushing in the Saints’ (10-0, 10-0) win over the Lights (3-7, 3-7) in their Frontier Conference finale in Helena.