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Monday, December 9, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Whitworth Pirates season predictions: Northwest Conference title will come down to Linfield game

By Dan Thompson For The Spokesman-Review

DIRECTIONS: Collect as many points as possible before reaching the end of the season to learn the Pirates’ postseason fate.

THE WORD IS OUT: D3football.com preseason podcast predicts Whitworth will repeat as NWC champions. COLLECT 2 POINTS

CHARGED AND READY: Reach season opener with no injuries during camp. COLLECT 2 POINTS

GAMEDAY: Sept. 7: Whitworth at La Verne, 11 a.m. (Radio: 1230-AM); Pirates overwhelm Leopards in the California sun. COLLECT 3 POINTS

A STAR IS BORN: Charlie Ball’s three-sack effort earns him first NWC player of the week honor. COLLECT 1 POINT

MISS A TURN: Sept. 14: Open week

GAMEDAY: Sept. 21: Whitworth at Chapman, 7 p.m. (Radio: 1230-AM); Late Tariq Ellis TD helps Pirates escape Panthers’ upset bid. COLLECT 3 POINTS

KICKER, ANYONE?: Pirates see progress for young kickers, but team practices focuses a lot on 2-point conversions. DEDUCT 2 POINTS

MISS A TURN: Sept. 28: Bye week

GAMEDAY: Oct. 5: Willamette at Whitworth, 1 p.m. (Radio: 1230-AM); Pirates roll to 30-point win in home opener. COLLECT 3 POINTS

GIVE HIM A REST: QB Leif Ericksen gets to watch backup Connor Johnson play entire second half against Willamette. COLLECT 1 POINT

GAMEDAY: Oct. 12: Whitworth at Lewis & Clark, 1 p.m. (Radio: 1230-AM); Early tour of NWC’s bottom teams continues to pump up Pirates. COLLECT 3 POINTS

MCKAY WHO?: Six players have five or more receptions this season, tempering graduation of team’s record holder. COLLECT 2 POINTS

GAMEDAY: Oct. 19: George Fox at Whitworth, 1 p.m. (Radio: 1230-AM); Improved Bruins keep it close, but Pirates prevail. COLLECT 5 POINTS

FRESH FORCE UP FRONT: McCoy-Ball D-line duo continues to dominate with 12 total sacks. COLLECT 1 POINT

GAMEDAY: Oct. 26: Whitworth at Puget Sound, 1 p.m. (Radio: 1230-AM); Shootout on the West Side goes Pirates way. COLLECT 5 POINTS

LEIF STANDS TALL: All-senior O-line has allowed just seven sacks so far. COLLECT 2 POINTS

GAMEDAY: Nov. 2: Pacific Lutheran at Whitworth, 1 p.m. (Radio: 1230-AM); Pirates sail to 7-0. COLLECT 4 POINTS

BEST IN THE WEST? Whitworth trails Linfield in West Region rankings ahead of hugely hyped matchup. DEDUCT 1 POINT

GAMEDAY: Nov. 9: Linfield at Whitworth, 12:30 p.m. (Radio: 1230-AM)

REPEAT CHAMPS: Whitworth beats Linfield with late 42-yard field goal. COLLECT 12 POINTS and take NWC TITLE TOKEN

RUSHING AHEAD: Tariq Ellis eclipses 1,000 yards from scrimmage. COLLECT 2 POINTS

GAMEDAY: Nov. 16: Whitworth at Pacific, 1 p.m. (Radio: 1230-AM); Hoping for playoff home game, Pirates win big. COLLECT 3 POINTS

NATIONAL ATTENTION: Breakout year from WR JJ To’oto’o earns him third-team All-America honors. COLLECT 2 POINTS

STOUT D: Pirates lead NWC in scoring defense. COLLECT 1 POINT

50 points or fewer: BUMMER, wait until next year.

More than 50 points: CONGRATS, you’re headed to the postseason.

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