Whitworth drops opener on last-gasp field goal
ORANGE, Calif. – The Whitworth University football team didn’t start the 2011 season the way it hoped it would.
After taking a 14-10 first-half lead, the Pirates’ offense stalled in the second half and a 32-yard field goal by Chapman’s Mauricio Alfonso with 7 seconds left gave the Panthers a 16-14 win over Whitworth.
The Pirates, who dropped their third straight season opener, didn’t score in the second half and Chapman managed just two fields goals as defense played a key role for both teams.
Whitworth got on the board first when Zac Hill found Austin Ehlo on a 6-yard touchdown pass just a couple of minutes after the opening kickoff.
After an Alfonso field goal halfway through the first quarter, Chapman took a 10-7 lead when Bret Visciglia and Kali’i Kunitomo connected on a 13-yard score with 28 seconds left before halftime.
The Pirates, though, weren’t intent on trailing at intermission.
Ehlo caught his second touchdown – this time a 12-yarder from Bryan Peterson – with 1 second left before halftime that gave the Pirates a 14-10 lead.
Both teams struggled on offense in the second half, and Alfonso’s two field goals were enough to give the Panthers the win.
Ronnie Thomas led Whitworth with 116 rushing yards on 17 carries. Peterson converted 11 of 13 passes for 139 yards and a touchdown.
Ehlo had four catches for 32 yards and scored both of Whitworth’s touchdowns
Visciglia completed 23 of 34 passes for 192 yards with a touchdown and two picks. Whitworth’s Fernando Noriega and Cailen Thomason had the interceptions.
The win was Chapman’s first over Whitworth in five tries.
Whitworth plays its next four games at home, beginning with Pomona-Pitzer on Saturday. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m.
The Pirates, who finished 5-5 in 2010, won at Pomona-Pitzer 35-7 last season.
The Pirates host Redlands on Sept. 17, Menlo on Sept. 24 and Pacific Lutheran on Oct. 8.
Whtw–Ehlo 6 pass from Hill (Goranson)
Chap-FG Alfonso 31
Chap–Kunitomo 13 pass from Visciglia (Alfonso kick)
Whtw-Ehlo 12 pass from Peterson (Goranson kick)
Chap-FG Alfonso 40
Chap-FG Alfonso 32
RUSHING: Whitworth – Hill 4-(-4), Peterson 7-(-4), Goranson 1-3, Miller 2-(-12), Scott 3-8, Thomas 17-116. Chapman – Visciglia 4-30, McKibbins 13-55, Harris 3-11, Milburn 9-20.
PASSING: Whitworth - Hill 4-8-23-0-1, Peterson 11-13-139-0-1. Chapman – Visciglia 23-34-192-1-2.
RECEIVING: Whitworth – Ehlo 4-32, Blaska 2-11, DeGooyer 6-55, Williams 1-49, Meyer 2-15. Chapman- Lambesis 8-94, McKibbins 4-10, White 2-26, Waldron 4-27, Kunitomo 5-35.