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Whitworth rallies, beats Pacific in regular-season finale

UPDATED: Sat., Nov. 16, 2019

The Whitworth Pirates take the field against Linfield, Saturday, Nov. 9, 2019, in the Pine Bowl. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)
The Whitworth Pirates take the field against Linfield, Saturday, Nov. 9, 2019, in the Pine Bowl. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)
From staff reports

FOREST GROVE, Ore. – Backup quarterback Connor Johnson rushed for three touchdowns, and Whitworth closed the game with a 24-0 run to defeat Pacific 38-28 Saturday to conclude the regular season.

Leif Ericksen passed for 307 yards and a touchdown for the Pirates (6-3, 5-2 Northwest Conference), who finished alone in second place in the conference standings but will likely miss out on the Division III Tournament when the 32-team bracket is announced Sunday.

Johnson punched in the first of his scores on the opening possession with a 2-yard run, capping a six-play, 76-yard drive.

The Boxers (4-6, 4-3) responded with scores on their next two drives, as Kenyon Harris had a 4-yard rushing touchdown to conclude a nine-play drive and Josh Harris followed up with a 62-yard run to the end zone to put Pacific in front.

Brayden Corona bolted in from 11 yards out to tie the game again at the end of a chaotic first quarter.

Kenyon Harris then threw touchdown passes to Kobe Williams and Ty Hargis, the last coming with 1:50 left in the half, to put the hosts up 28-14.

Whitworth began its rally with a prototypical 2-minute drive, marching 60 yards on 11 plays to score on Ericksen’s fourth-down pass to Nick McGill with 4 seconds remaining.

The Pirates continued their momentum into the second half, as Johnson tallied his second touchdown with a 6-yard rush early in the third quarter to finish a nine-play drive and even the score again.

Whitworth’s offense embarked on another lengthy journey later in the third, traversing 58 yards on nine plays. But the drive stalled, and the Pirates settled for a 22-yard field goal by Alvaro Campos-Ontivero.

The score remained 31-28 until late into the fourth, when Johnson sealed the win with his final score, a 10-yard sprint with 1:43 remaining.

The Pirates’ defense sacked Kenyon Harris five times, including two by Andrew McCoy to give him an NWC-best nine for the season.

Kenyon Harris had 242 yards passing and two touchdowns to lead Pacific.

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