Oct 19, 2019

Bruins Defeated by (RV) Whitworth, 19-14

A Winning Tradition

  • One post-season appearance (1960 Crusader Bowl)
  • One AFCA Division III Coaches' All-American (Nolan Schuler, 2017)
  • One CoSIDA Academic All-American (Caleb Dalzell, 2017)
  • Two CoSIDA Academic All-District (Caleb Dalzell, 2017; Grant Schroeder, 2017)
  • Three D3football.com All-Americans
  • Four D3football.com All-Region Honorees
  • 37 All-NWC Athletes 
  • Five D3Football.com Team of the Week
  • Nine NWC Student-Athlete of the Week Awards 
  • One Cliff Harris Award Finalist (Charles Riga, 2017)
  • Two NSCA All-American (Justin Kruse, 2015; Dane Jensen, 2017)
  • Two NFL Draft Picks (Bob Hadlock and Randy Casey, 14th and 15th rounds respectively)

By Jacob Hayes

SPOKANE, Wash. --- The George Fox Bruins came up short against the Whitworth Pirates, falling by a final score of 19-14 on a rainy Saturday afternoon at the Pine Bowl.


Though Whitworth won the coin toss and elected to receive the opening kickoff, it was George Fox that started with the momentum. On the opening drive, Abe Smith picked off quarterback Leif Erickson in the end zone to defuse the offensive threat. The Pirate's defense quickly turned the tide and shut down anything George Fox had to offer, forcing the tree-and-out. 

On top of a quick possession change, Whitworth's Andrew Meredith blocked the punt attempt, creating a golden opportunity for the Pirates to score first. The Pirates started their drive at the GFU 21, but a personal foul pushed them back to the 36. 

After an incomplete pass, Erickson was picked off again, this time by Caleb Harrel, for the second possession in a row. With a 32-yard return, the Bruins were ready to strike, but the staunch defense forced another three-and-out. With 4:39 left in the quarter, Fox mounted a drive and set themselves up for a field goal. The attempt was blocked by Kurt Blackman and ended up in the Whitworth end zone for a touchback. 

The second quarter opened up with a Fox punt that WU's Isaiah Cole returned for 40 yards, giving Whitworth another chance to score. This time, they did not squander their opportunity as Brayden Corona rushed for the two yards, giving the Pirates a 6-0 lead. Whitworth went for a two-point conversion but failed with an incomplete pass. 

After the score, the Bruins and Pirates punted four straight times until George Fox found a rhythm and started their march down the field with 7:15 left in the half. After a few penalties in favor of the Bruins, Fox found itself at the Whitworth 8 with 27 seconds left in the half. On a fourth-and-five play, the Bruins decided to go for it instead of settling for a field goal, but an incomplete pass ended the 6:50 drive. Whitworth ran out the clock to end the half. 

Josiah Schmidt gave the Bruins great field position to start the second half, running the kickoff back to the Whitworth 30. After five straight rushing plays, Jaden Sheffey completed the two-yard pass to Leon Johnson III for the touchdown. Ethan Hoffman buried the extra point to put George Fox ahead 7-6. 

With 8:03 left in the quarter, Erickson found Meredith for a 56-yard touchdown completion to reclaim the lead 12-7 on a second-and-nine play. Instead of going for the extra point, the Pirates chose to attempt another two-point conversion that was yet again stifled. 

On the next possession, Whitworth forced another punt after a three-and-out, but this time Patrick Serrano got in on the special teams' heroics, blocking the punt. Meredith picked up the ball and ran it in for another touchdown. Noah Alejado successfully made the extra point, extending the Pirate's lead 19-7. 

Defensive stops held off scoring for the rest of the third quarter, but with the Bruin's first possession of the fourth, Sheffey found Justin Trimble II for a 75-yard touchdown pass. Hoffman again made the extra point, cutting the score to 19-14. 

Whitworth took their next possession and started to march down the field while using as much clock as possible, but could not get deep into Fox territory, punting at the Whitworth 49. The Bruins couldn't muster any offense, but after solid defense, the Bruins regained possession with 2:46 left in the game. Sheffey got in trouble early but moved the chains on a fourth-and-four attempt to Johnson III. More solid passing and quarterback groundwork set up a third-and-three at the Whitworth 49, during which Sheffey found Adam Hawker for 32 yards. Knowing that a field goal would not be enough, the Bruins ran a play for a touchdown pass, but it was picked off by Whitworth's Jamaal Edwards. Whitworth ran the clock out, preventing the come-from-behind win and earning the 19-14 victory. 

Top Performers

Despite throwing the game-ending interception, Sheffey outperformed Erickson, finishing with two touchdowns and converting on 15 of his 27 pass attempts for 176 yards. The sophomore also ran for 47 yards, which led all Bruin rushers. Trimble II lead Fox in receiving with three catches for 83 yards and a touchdown. Hoffman nailed both of his extra-point attempts while Smith and Harrel lead the defense with an interception apiece.

What it Means

George Fox falls to 1-2 in NWC play while also dropping to 2-4 on the season. 

What Comes Next

The Bruins return home for Family Weekend to take on the Pacific (Ore.) Boxers on October 26. Kickoff is at 1:00 p.m. at Stoffer Family Stadium.