Following last Saturday’s impressive effort in a season-opening 35-21 win over the University of Redlands, Whitworth College’s vastly improved defense will face another stern test this afternoon when the University of La Verne (Calif.) invades the Pine Bowl for a non-conference football game that kicks off at 12:30.
It’s homecoming for the Pirates, whose defense sacked Redlands quarterback Nick Brown five times last weekend and also forced and recovered a fourth-quarter fumble to set up a touchdown.
Bucs coach John Tully praised his defense following the win, but admits La Verne (1-0) poses an even greater challenge with a physical, high-powered offense. The offense is triggered by junior quarterback Brian Guerrero, a first-team All-Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference player, who threw for 200 yards and a touchdown in the Leopard’s season-opening 20-17 win over Pamona-Pitzer last weekend.
“La Verne is a very physical team,” said Tully, whose Pirates posted a 43-23 road win over the Leopards last season.
“They have skill players who can make plays. We expect them to be similar to last season, and we thought they were well prepared to play us last year.”
Along with Guerrero, La Verne boasts a pair of big-play receivers in Roger Logan, another returning All-SCIAC selection, and LeAndre Allen, who caught five passes for 135 yards against Pomona-Pitzer.
Whitworth with counter with a young, but experienced, defense that held Redlands scoreless in the first half of last Saturday’s win.
Sophomore defensive end Justin Rundle had two of the Bucs’ five sacks against the Bulldogs and Tully’s son, Jay, a sophomore strong safety, finished with a team-high 13 tackles.
“I was especially excited about how well our defense played against a good offensive football team,” the elder Tully said.
“We made big plays and posted a first-half shutout, which was special.”
The Pirates offense also performed well against Redlands, with quarterback Joel Clark accounting for 313 yards of total offense. The 6-foot junior, a former standout at Mt. Spokane High School, completed 16 of 26 passes for 210 yards and two touchdowns and ran for 103 yards and two more scores.
In last year’s win over La Verne, Whitworth dominated time of possession 39:48 to 20:11 and got 170 rushing yards and three touchdowns from the returning running back tandem of Kyle Havercroft and Chris Ahsing.
Local journalism is essential.
Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.
Subscribe to the sports newsletter
Get the day’s top sports headlines and breaking news delivered to your inbox by subscribing here.