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Whitworth Football

Pirate defense key to victory over LaVerne

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Whitworth's Cameron Stroyan had an interception and was in on three tackles for loss (Photo: Whitworth Athletics) Whitworth's Cameron Stroyan had an interception and was in on three tackles for loss (Photo: Whitworth Athletics)

by Whitworth Athletics

LA VERNE, Calif. -- Missing Adam Anderson and with Milton Nelson's availability limited, Whitworth University turned to its defense to secure its first football win of 2009. The Pirates (1-1) won 21-9 at University La Verne in a non-conference contest on Saturday.

Anderson (Sr., RB, Elk, Wash.), the two-time NWC Offensive Player of the Year, left the game after the opening kickoff with an ankle injury. Nelson (Sr., RB, Spokane, Wash.), a Second Team All-NWC selection last fall, was limited to 13 carries because of a sore shoulder.

So the defense came through, holding the Leopards (0-1) out of the endzone until the final minute of the game. Cailen Thomason (So., DB, Vancouver, Wash.) returned an interception 35 yards for the game-clinching touchdown. He had one of the three Whitworth interceptions on Saturday.

Sean Scott (So., RB, Milwaukie, Ore.) stepped in to run for 85 yards on 24 carries. His touchdown in the fourth quarter gave Whitworth breathing room and a 14-3 lead with 3:48 to play. Nelson finished with 50 yards on 13 attempts.

Neither team scored until Andrew Durant (So., QB, Spokane, Wash.) hit Kyle Scroggins (Sr., WR, Royal City, Wash.) on a short pass and Scroggins broke a pair of tackles on the way to the endzone from 15 yards away on the first play of the second quarter. The Bucs only had to go 18 yards after Alex Sankey (So., DB, Edmonds, Wash.) intercepted ULV quarterback Anthony Andre.

The Pirates had a chance to score again late in the half, but Durant threw his only interception of the game at the La Verne goal line.

Both defenses controlled the third quarter, with Whitworth having the only opportunity to score in the period. But Andy Largent's (Sr., WR/K, Spokane, Wash.) field goal attempt from 40 yards away was wide left.

The Leopards got on the board less than a minute into the fourth quarter when Mike Castaneda nailed a 34 yard field goal.

After the team's exchanged turnovers, including an interception by Cameron Stroyan (Sr., LB, Chewelah, Wash.), Whitworth used Scott's effective running to go 39 yards for a touchdown. Durant completed a 14-yard pass to Scroggins to the La Verne 12 before Scott scored his first career touchdown from three yards out. He carried six times for 22 yards during the possession.

Thomason's interception return followed, giving the Pirates a 21-3 lead with 2:53 to play. La Verne added its touchdown with 56 seconds to play when Christian Winnewisser hit Erek Brown from 14 yards away.

Durant completed 12 of 18 passes for 170 yards with one touchdown and one interception. Eric Entel (Sr., WR, Clarkston, Wash.), Pete Carlson (So., WR, Bellingham, Wash.) and Scroggins all finished with three catches for the Bucs.

Brandon Martin (Sr., DT, Sweet Home, Ore.), Layton Brown (Jr., LB, Kennewick, Wash.) and Stroyan all had multiple tackles for loss to lead the defensive effort.

Whitworth will play its first home game of 2009 when the Pirates host Redlands next week in the Pine Bowl. Kickoff is scheduled for 1:00 p.m.

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