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Ian Kolste returns at quarterback to set another record in Whitworth’s victory

One of the Whitworth’s press box officials shuffled through a packet of papers with some notes on the Pirates’ all-time records for quarterbacks.

“Ian Kolste broke the record for total offense,” he said.

Others around him didn’t even flinch. Then again, Kolste’s hobby of breaking records isn’t anything new at the Pine Bowl.

The fifth-year quarterback has made a point to rewrite Whitworth’s record books a number of times this year. In Whitworth’s 38-23 win over Puget Sound on Saturday, he worked his way to the top of another Pirates category.

Kolste collected 224 total yards in the first half of Saturday’s showing, giving him 9,678 for his career. That number surpassed Whitworth’s record of 9,656 yards set by Joel Clark when he played for the Pirates from 2003-06.

“That’s a pretty unbelievable record, and tells you … the longevity he has, but also the ability that he has,” Whitworth head coach Rod Sandberg said.

Kolste rewrote a few other records earlier this season and passed up Clark at the start of the season in total passing yards (8,513) and touchdown passes (71). Kolste also holds Whitworth’s career record for completions (853) and set single-season records last year in total offense (3,831), pass completions (351) and passing yards (3,790).

Setting school records doesn’t get Kolste too excited anymore.

“It’s something that I’ll think about later on down the road,” Kolste said. … “But right now it’s not too big of a deal to me.”

Kolste is just focused on staying healthy enough to finish out his final three regular-season games with the Pirates.

Kolste sprained his right ankle in the third quarter against George Fox on Oct. 7. The injury kept him out of Whitworth’s game at PLU last weekend and had him off the practice field for roughly two weeks.

Kolste said despite taking only a few reps at practice this week, his ankle felt well enough to get out on the field and lead the Pirates in a strong first half.

Running back Mason Elms got the Bucs rolling in their first drive with a 52-yard run before he was brought down on Puget Sound’s 28-yard line.

Elms rushed for another 6 yards and wide receiver Garrett McKay covered 18 yards and completed a touchdown pass from Kolste to get Whitworth on the board roughly 9 minutes into the game.

The Loggers closed in on Whitworth with a score midway through the second quarter when quarterback Tanner Diebold found Jewell Day for a 49-yard pass that put the Loggers on Whitworth’s 3-yard line.

Paul Thomas finished the drive with a short carry into the end zone to cut Whitworth’s lead to 10-7.

On the Pirates’ next drive, UPS defensive back Zackary Teats intercepted Kolte’s roughly 20-yard pass that was intended for McKay. But the Pirates slowed Puget Sound’s momentum when Charlie Ball tackled Diebold on a run at the UPS 29-yard line.

Ball also sacked Diebold in the first quarter to force a fourth down.

With the Pirates leading 31-7 heading into the second half, Sandberg pulled Kolste to give his ankle some rest. Kolste completed 20 of 32 passes and finished with three touchdowns.

Sandberg switched between sophomore Leif Ericksen, freshman Connor Johnson and senior wide receiver Kevin Thomas, who put in some work at QB in high school. The three focused on the running game in the second half, attempting only five combined passes.

“They (UPS) dropped a lot of guys in coverage and we thought we could run the ball on them well, so that’s what we did,” Kolste said.

Whitworth gained 131 yards on the ground after halftime. Johnson ran for 9 yards for a touchdown in the third quarter that increased Whitworth’s lead to 38-7. It was the Pirates’ only score in the second half.

Elms finished with 144 yards on 18 carries. Thomas totaled six receptions for 94 yards.

Whitworth receiver Nick Kiourkas had at least one reception for his 38th consecutive game. Kiourkas made his only reception at the end of the first period when he caught a 6-yard pass from Kolste to get Whitworth a first down.

Taylor Roelofs led Whitworth’s defense with nine tackles. He had an interception in the final minute of the second quarter that set up Whitworth’s final score of the first half.

Diebold completed 30 of his 51 passes for 347 yards for the Loggers. The Loggers rushed for only 76 yards, led by Diebold with 50 on 14 carries.

Dustin Harrison finished with 13 receptions for 115 yards and Puget Sound’s final touchdown, which came in the final minutes of the game.


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