Whitworth had been waiting all season to have a game in which it put everything together. It needn’t look further.
Jaedyn Prewitt completed 14 of 18 passes for 295 yards and three touchdowns before exiting midway through the third quarter and the Pirates beat Willamette 66-7 in a Northwest Conference football game at the Pine Bowl on Saturday.
Prewitt added 37 rushing yards with a TD. Solomon Hines carried 10 times for 45 yards with two rushing touchdowns and a TD catch.
The defense forced turnovers on the first three Willamette possessions of the second half, scoring on two and generating 17 points in less than 2 minutes.
“I mean, we’ve been waiting for this all year. It just feels good,” Whitworth coach Rod Sandberg said. “You play a complete game – offense, defense, special teams. Just proud of our guys.”
“We just did exactly what he wanted to do,” Prewitt said. “All week, the word was ‘dominate’ and that’s what we did. We took advantage of what they gave us and the scoreboard showed it.”
The victory secures the Pirates’ eighth consecutive winning season under Sandberg, the longest stretch of winning seasons in school history.
Following a lopsided loss to No. 7 Linfield and last week’s turnover-filled win over Pacific Lutheran – which saw Whitworth surrender a 17-point led before prevailing – the Pirates (6-1, 3-1 NWC) looked more like the team that was ranked in the top 20 much of the first half of the season.
On their second possession, Prewitt scrambled on third-and-8 for 22 yards and later for another 11 to set up first-and-goal. Hines went untouched off-tackle for a 5-yard touchdown and 7-0 lead.
After a three-and-out, a short Bearcats punt set Whitworth up at the Willamette 40. Five plays later, Prewitt’s 10-yard run made it 14-0.
Willamette (1-6, 0-4) took advantage of a Whitworth fumble and penalty for Aiden Kuykendall’s 8-yard TD run on the last play of the first quarter.
On the next drive, slot receiver Mathew Fiesta turned a short toss into a 58-yard gain to the Willamette 20. Hines ran left and outraced the defense to the pylon and Whitworth went up 21-7 early in the second quarter.
Willamette committed a personal foul on a punt return to set up the Pirates at the Bearcats 35. On fourth-and-5 at the 30, Prewitt hit Hines in the flat and he hit the corner and sprinted into the end zone for a 28-7 lead.
“We got ballers all over the field, Prewitt said. “They made easy for me. It’s like a few of my touchdowns were just literally throwing 2 yards down the field and they did the rest of it.”
On the next possession, Prewitt hit a wide-open Alan Ballew on a fly down the left sideline for a 54-yard touchdown pass.
“The same thing happened last year (against PLU) as well against a Cover 2,” Prewitt said. “(Ballew) was by himself and just had to throw it up and let him run under it.”
“We believe in Jaedyn Prewitt,” Sandberg said. “He’s a senior. He’s been here a long time and yeah, happy for him today.”
On the first play of the second half, Kuykendall mishandled the snap and Pirates linebacker Derrick Platt scooped up the loose ball and sprinted 25 yards into the end zone for his first collegiate touchdown.
“I picked it up, I didn’t know if any O-linemen were around,” Platt said. “I was like, ‘I’m gonna run it.’ I picked it up and booked into the corner of the end zone. It was great.”
The defense flexed again on the next series. Kuykendall attempted a slant, but it was picked off by Patrick Serrano at the 23. Prewitt missed an open receiver on third down – one of his few miscues of the day – and Nate RaPue drilled a 41-yard field goal.
On the Bearcats’ next possession, Kuykendall’s short pass was intercepted by Jaylen Gonzales at the 32. He cruised into the end zone to increase the Whitworth lead to 52-7 with less than 2 minutes eclipsed in the second half.
“The thing that we did not do well last week was protect the ball and take it away,” Sandberg said.
“We emphasize it all week but, you know, you like it when you see something that you work on actually show up.”
Prewitt connected with Jarvis Natividad on a 77-yard touchdown pass to make it 59-7 midway through the third quarter.
Whitworth plays at Puget Sound at 1:30 p.m. Saturday in Tacoma.
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