Whitworth begins its longest string of home football games – four straight with a bye mixed in – since 1999 when Pomona-Pitzer visits the Pine Bowl Saturday.
The Pirates enter with a sour taste from last week’s season-opening 16-14 loss to Chapman in Orange, Calif.
“Games like that really come down to a couple of plays,” head coach John Tully said. “At times we played very well on both sides, but defensively we needed to get a couple more stops and offensively we needed to score when we got down there or get a couple more first downs.”
The Pirates led most of the way and put up some decent statistics. Whitworth didn’t commit a turnover and Ronnie Thomas rushed for 118 yards. Freshmen quarterback Bryan Peterson finished 11 of 13 for 144 yards and freshman Zac Hill was 4 of 8 for 23 yards. The defense came up with two interceptions but Chapman converted 7 of 12 third downs and squeezed out enough yardage for a pair of second-half field goals, the last coming with seven seconds remaining.
Peterson, who came off the bench last week, will start, but Hill will play.
“Both guys played very well,” Tully said. “They weren’t even close to throwing a bad pass. The balls were right on.”
Linebackers Scott Carr (shoulder) and Ryan Loutsis (ankle) are not expected to play.
“Those are two of our best players on defense. Somebody else is going to have to pick it up,” said Tully, mentioning Grant Livingston and Sam Schoesler as likely replacements.
Tully said he’d like to see improvement from both lines – in pass protection and pressuring the opposing quarterback – against Pomona-Pitzer (0-0), which finished 1-8 last season. The Sagehens graduated four-year starting quarterback Jacob Caron and top receiver RJ Maki.