SPOKANE, Wash. – Visiting George Fox jumped to a 20-0 halftime lead and cruised to a 43-23 win over 22nd-ranked Whitworth in a Northwest Conference football game on Saturday afternoon in the Pine Bowl.
The Bruins (4-1 overall, 2-0 NWC) spoiled the Pirates’ Homecoming Day celebration and also earned their first win over the Bucs (3-2, 0-2) in four tries. Whitworth has lost two straight games after a 3-0 start.
GFU QB Grant Schroeder threw for 261 yards and three touchdowns while rushing for 82 yards and another score to lead the Bruins to the victory. Wesley Riddell ran for 121 yards for George Fox.
Schroeder’s 51-yard run got the Bruins on the board late in the first quarter. He then hit Brad Lander with a pass on the GFU sideline and Lander raced the rest of the way for a 66-yard score that increased the margin to 14-0 three minutes into the second quarter. The Bruins increased the lead to 20-0 right before halftime when Schroeder hit Lane Hadley from ten yards out on third down.
Whitworth fumbled the opening kickoff of the second half, gifting the Bruins field position on the Pirates’ 11 yard line. Three plays later Riddell scored from one yard to give GFU a four touchdown lead.
From then on the best Whitworth could do was trade scores with the Bruins. Ian Kolste threw a four-yard touchdown pass to Kevin Thomas in the third quarter to get the Pirates on the scoreboard.
But Kolste left the game midway through the third quarter with an injury. Backup QB Leif Erickson found Brett Moser for a 20-yard touchdown pass to cut the margin to 34-14. Whitworth got within 34-17 on Rehn Reiley’s 28 yard field goal, but that’s as close as the Pirates would get.
Schroeder capped his day with a 21-yard scoring run early in the fourth quarter that effectively put the game out of reach.
Mason Elms scored on a four-yard run for Whitworth’s final score. Jason Santoni, who had his first field goal attempt blocked, along with two extra points, scored the Bruins’ final points with a 40-yard effort with 5:28 to play.
George Fox outgained Whitworth 553-359 and had a 37:21 – 22:39 advantage in time of possession. The Bruins converted 8 of 15 third down attempts while holding the Pirates to 5 of 12.
Schroeder completed 16 of 21 passes. Lander caught six for 163 yards, while Hadley had three catches for 30 yards.
Kolste was 21 of 28 for 162 yards before he left the game. Erickson finished 7 of 13 for 78 yards. Garrett McKay caught ten passes for 85 yards for the Bucs, while Thomas finished with six receptions for 63 yards. Mason Elms led the Pirates’ ground game with 64 yards on ten carries. Whitworth threw for 240 yards and ran for 119.
Charles Riga and Austin Taylor had ten tackles each to lead the George Fox defense. Patch Kulp finished with 15 tackles and Shai Pulawa was in on 11 stops for the Whitworth defense.
The Pirates, who are sure to fall out of the D3football.com rankings, will look to right the ship next Saturday at Pacific Lutheran.