FOREST GROVE, Ore. – A 10-point swing over a 30-second span at the end of the third quarter proved to be the difference for visiting Whitworth in a 30-20 win at Pacific University in a Northwest Conference football game on Saturday afternoon.
Trailing 23-13, the host Boxers lined up for a field goal that would have cut the margin to a single touchdown. But the snap was mishandled and the Pirates stopped the desperation pass for an eight-yard loss. Two plays later Mason Elms burst through the line for an 87-yard touchdown run to give Whitworth a 30-13 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
Thanks to Elms and 209 team rushing yards, the Pirates improved to 6-2 overall and 3-2 in the NWC with their third straight win. Elms finished with 152 yards on 16 carries and two touchdowns. Tariq Ellis ran for 56 yards on six attempts.
Garrett McKay provided the other big play for the Bucs with an 82-yard punt return for a touchdown in the second quarter. Rehn Reiley made three of his four field goal attempts and converted a first down on a fake field goal near the end of the game that allowed Whitworth to run out the clock.
Ian Kolste played the entire game at quarterback despite an injured ankle. He completed 28 of 42 passes for 240 yards. Michael McKeown caught seven passes for 49 yards, while McKay had six grabs for 71 yards and Kevin Thomas caught six balls for 60 yards. Nick Kiourkas had four receptions for 42 yards and extended his career streak of games with at least one catch to 39 in a row.
Whitworth will return to Oregon next Saturday for a game at Lewis & Clark College in Portland.
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