After winning the second of back-to-back Northwest Conference football titles in 2007, the Whitworth Pirates have been on the periphery of the title chase the last couple years, thanks to 0-2 conference starts.
But the Pirates (3-2, 1-0 NWC) have an opportunity to stamp themselves as contenders with a win against Pacific Lutheran (3-0, 1-0) Saturday at Sparks Stadium in Tacoma. The game involves two of the conference’s three unbeatens.
“If we could come away victorious, that would put us in a real positive position,” Whitworth coach John Tully said.
Whitworth is coming off its best effort of the season, a 20-7 road win over Menlo.
“Our coaching staff and players just went away feeling very good about that game,” Tully said. “It was a dominating performance against a good team.”
A similar performance might be necessary today. PLU rolled up 489 yards, including 225 rushing yards by senior Alec Simmons, in knocking off then-No. 15 Cal Lutheran, which was coming off a win over NWC power and then-No. 4 Linfield. The Lutes defeated cross-town rival Puget Sound 31-28 last week on Richard Isett’s 49-yard field goal on the final play.
“No. 1, they’ve got good skill people,” Tully said. “They have 10 starters back on offense. They’re finding a way to win.”