SPOKANE, Wash. — The University of La Verne football team shut out Whitworth, 20-0, in the second half but it wasn't enough to overcome big first-half deficit in a 39-20 loss on Saturday afternoon at Whitworth Pine Bowl.
The Pirates scored all 39 points in the first half as they scored on six of their eight first half possessions, including five touchdowns. Duke DeGaetano opened the scoring with a five-yard touchdown run at the 10:43 mark in the first quarter and went on to find the pay dirt twice more. Ian Kolste tossed three touchdown passes in the half.
The Leopards came out of the halftime break swinging, feeding running back Travis Sparks-Jackson seven times in the opening possession. Sparks-Jackson took the first carry of the half 29 yards and punctuated the drive with a two-yard rush.
Linebacker Matt Canlas scored the second touchdown of the game for the Leopards when he picked a Jonah Koski pass at the Whitworth 32-yard line and returned it all the way with about four minutes left in the third quarter.
Canlas intercepted another pass on the next Whitworth drive to give the Leopards a fighting chance going into the fourth quarter.
But the Leopards had a fake punt attempt snuffed on the next possession and the offensive momentum stalled. Dallas Parent provided a spark with a 90-yard punt return touchdown with about five minutes to go but it was too little, too late for the Leopards.
Canlas registered 10 tackles to go along with his two interceptions. An-Tony Young led all players with 12 tackles for the Leopards.
Sparks-Jackson notched his fourth straight game with at least 100 yards dating back to last season and finished the day with 108 yards on 23 carries.
Kolste led the Pirates offense, going 34-for43 with 381 yards and three scores. Nick Kiourkas caught two touchdowns.
The Leopards will get a bye week before commencing SCIAC play at Occidental on Saturday, Oct. 3.