SPOKANE, Wash. – Whitworth University quarterback Ian Kolste needed only two quarters of play to break a pair of Pirate career passing records on Saturday, leading his squad to a 53-0 win over visiting University of La Verne at the Pine Bowl.
The 20th-ranked Pirates built a 43-0 halftime lead while improving to 3-0 with the non-conference victory. The Leopards dropped to 1-1.
Ian Kolste completed 29 of 36 passes for 291 yards and four touchdowns in only two quarters of play. He did throw his first interception of the season. In the second quarter Kolste surpassed Joel Clark’s records for career passing yards and career passing TDs. Kolste now has thrown for 8,658 yards in his career, breaking Clark’s old record of 8,513. Kolste’s 72 career TD passes is now one ahead of Clark, who played from 2003-06.
After punting on its first possession, Whitworth scored touchdowns in five straight drives to open up a 36-0 lead. Kolste threw a pair of four-yard TD passes to Garrett McKay sandwiched around a one-yard score to Nick Kiourkas. He then tossed a five-yarder to Michael McKeown. The fifth touchdown was a 72-yard run up the middle by Tariq Ellis.
Whitworth led 22-0 after one quarter, thanks to a successful two-point conversion following the second touchdown. The Pirates finished with three second-quarter scores when Mason Elms ran in from one yard out with 37 seconds to play in the half.
Whitworth outgained La Verne 419-111 in the first half and had a 21-5 advantage in first downs. The Pirates held the 43-0 lead despite giving away its first two turnovers of the season in the opening 30 minutes.
While the second and third string offense added ten more points in the second half, the backup defenders preserved the shutout.
Jarin Manuel, a backup defensive back, intercepted a pair of passes on Saturday. Ian Black, Thomas Wilkie and Weston Kroes, all backups along the front seven, combined for 16 second half tackles. Starting middle linebacker Patch Kulp led the Pirate defense with 10 stops.
Whitworth scored early in the third quarter when backup QB Leif Erickson hit Chase Takaki with a two-yard pass to increase the lead to 50-0. The score remained that way until late in the game when third string kicker Kevin Ramsey booted a 17-yard field goal.
Erickson finished 7 of 11 passing with 28 yards and a TD pass in his third straight game of extended work. Freshmen Jared Oliver and Connor Johnson played as well, throwing their first career passes for the Bucs. Ellis led Whitworth’s ground game with 72 yards on only two attempts. His 72-yard run was the longest of his career. Ribenson Darcy, who only played in the fourth quarter, added 67 yards on seven carries as the Pirates ran for 250 yards in the game.
McKay, McKeown and Kevin Thomas all caught six passes apiece.
Josh Evans started the game at QB for La Verne and completed six of 14 passes for 31 yards with two interceptions. Sam Taylor was two of eight, also for 31 yards. Third string QB Matthew Simko went two of four for 32 yards. The Whitworth defense limited the Leopards passing attack to 94 yards through the air.
Robert Fernandez had 56 of La Verne’s 130 net rushing yards.
The Pirates finished the game with a 582-224 edge in total offense and 30-10 advantage in first downs.
Whitworth gets next Saturday off before playing a key Northwest Conference contest at defending league champion Linfield on September 30th.