Whitworth Runs Past La Verne 39-20 - SWX Right Now-Sports for Spokane, CdA, Tri-Cities, WA

Whitworth Runs Past La Verne 39-20

Duke DeGaetano celebrating one of his three touchdowns in Whitworth's 39-20 win over La Verne Saturday. Duke DeGaetano celebrating one of his three touchdowns in Whitworth's 39-20 win over La Verne Saturday.

SPOKANE, Wash. – Duke DeGaetano scored three touchdowns to lead Whitworth University to a 39-20 win over visiting University of La Verne in a non-conference football game on Saturday afternoon at the Whitworth Pine Bowl.

The Pirates (2-0) opened up a 39-0 lead at halftime before the Leopards (1-1) scored 20 unanswered points in the second half.

Whitworth QB Ian Kolste's day appeared to be over at halftime, but he returned late in the third quarter to settle the game down after La Verne returned an interception for a touchdown to pull the Leopards within 39-14.  Kolste finished the day 34-43 for 381 yards with three touchdowns and one interception.

Whitworth outgained La Verne 539-274 with most of that advantage coming in the first half when the Pirates outgained the Leopards 421-72.

After both teams went three-and-out to start the game, DeGaetano scored on a five-yard run to close out the Bucs' second drive.  Whitworth went 80 yards in nine plays.  Jonah Koski ran in a two-point conversion for an 8-0 lead.

Kolste hit Nick Kiourkas for a 21-yard touchdown on the Pirates' next possession, capping a nine play, 75-yard drive.  Kolste and Kiourkas hooked up again for a 16-yard score early in the second quarter that capped a 63-yard possession and extended Whitworth's lead to 22-0.

Dalin McDonnell intercepted La Verne QB Billy Livingson on the very next play at the Leopards's 32 yard line.  A short return set up the Bucs at the 28.  Three plays later DeGaetano took a short pass from Kolste and turned it into a 17-yard touchdown that increased the lead to 29-0.

Whitworth forced another La Verne punt and took over at its own 20-yard line.  It took only five plays for the Pirates to go 80 yards for their final touchdown  The big play was a 50-yard completion from Kolste to Anthony Fullman to the ULV 23 yard line.  A pass interference penalty moved the ball to the five-yard line and DeGaetano ran into the endzone on the next play to kick the lead up to 36-0 with 8:25 left in the half.

The Pirates drove deep into La Verne territory two more times in the second quarter, but a 27-yard field goal was wide right the first time.  Rehn Reiley bounced back to convert a 31-yard field goal with three seconds to play in the half to give Whitworth its 39-0 lead at the break.

The Pirates totally dominated the first half.  In addition to the difference in total yards, Whitworth had a 22-6 edge in first downs and a 17:00 – 13:00 advantage in time of possession.  Robert Thullen only had to punt on that first Pirate possession but La Verne punted six times and its deepest penetration into Whitworth territory was the 43-yard line the second time ULV had the ball.  Livingston was 8-19 for only 69 yards passing in the first half.  All-conference running back Travis Sparks was limited to 17 yards on six carries.

But Sparks opened the second half with a 29-yard gain, sparking a 75-yard drive that culminated in Sparks' two-yard touchdown run to get the Leopards on the board and double the team's total offense numbers.

Meanwhile Whitworth had replaced most of its starters at the beginning of halftime and the offense went stagnant.  La Verne pulled within 39-14 later in the third quarter when Matt Canlass returned a Koski pass interception 32 yards for a touchdown.

The final ULV touchdown came with 4:48 to play.  Dallas Parent fielded a punt at his own 10 yard line, beat the first line of defenders and raced down the left sideline for a 90-yard touchdown return.  The two-point conversion pass failed.

La Verne got the ball back once more, but turned the ball over on downs at the 50 as time expired.

Griffin Hare got the bulk of carries as Whitworth turned to the ground game in the second half.  He finished the game with 95 yards on 20 attempts.  DeGaetano ran for 21 yards and two scores, and he caught four passes for 29 yards to account for his three touchdowns.

Garrett McKay caught seven passes to lead the Pirates.  Kevin Thomas had five grabs for 105 yards.  Kiourkas finished with three catches for 43 yards and his two touchdowns.  Kolste spread his passes around to ten different receivers.

Livingston finished 16-33 for 152 yards with one interception for the Leopards.  Robert Fernandez caught seven of those passes for 55 yards.  Sparks had a big second half running the ball, finishing with 108 yards and a touchdown on 23 attempts.

Patch Kulp and Matt Wetzel each led the Whitworth defense with five stops.  Aaron Powe and Mac Shaw combined for three sacks for 19 yards as the Pirates sacked Livingston six times.  JT Phelan recovered a ULV fumble.

Canlas actually intercepted two Whitworth passes in the game and finished with ten total tackles.  An-Tony Young led the Leopards with 12 stops. 

Whitworth returns to action next Saturday night at Chapman University in Orange, California.  La Verne is off until October 3rd when the Leopards open conference play against Occidental.

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