Whitworth has a 4-0 all-time record against the Chapman Panthers and Pirates coach John Tully knows why.
“The difference for us coming out on top against Chapman is we haven’t turned the ball over and we’ve got some turnovers from them,” Tully said.
The Pirates, who defeated the Panthers four times between 2000 and 2009, hope to continue the trend when the teams collide Saturday night at 7 in Orange, Calif., to open the 2011 football season. Whitworth, 5-5 last season, returns 11 starters. Chapman, 4-5 a year ago, has nine starters back. The teams posted similar statistics in 2010 as Whitworth averaged 24.4 points and yielded 24.0 while Chapman scored 22.7 points and allowed 24.6.
“If you win that first game it really puts you ahead mentally and confidence-wise,” said Tully, whose team begins a four-game homestand next Saturday. “You’re not playing catch up.”
Freshman Zac Hill, a North Central High product, will start at quarterback. Freshman Bryan Peterson (West Valley), who has been bothered by a strained abdominal muscle, will see playing time, Tully said.
“I have a lot of confidence in both of them,” Tully said. “They don’t have to be perfect. They just have to do what they’ve been doing.”
Peterson’s injury “still pains him when he throws so we’ve backed off a little bit the last few days,” Tully said. “Hopefully, he’ll be close to full speed.”
Sophomore linebacker Ryan Loutsis is questionable after spraining his ankle in practice Monday. Defensive end Ian Schneidmiller (Mt. Spokane), slowed by a rib injury in fall drills, practiced this week and will start.