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Boxers loses bid for fourth consecutive win despite strong performances from Brandon Boyd and Kash Taylor

COURTESY PHOTO - Pacific senior running back Brandon Boyd carries the ball during the Boxers' game against Whitworth Oct. 28 in Forest Grove.
The tandem of Kash Taylor and Brandon Boyd led a Pacific rushing game to 291 yards on the ground Saturday, Oct. 28, but it wasn't enough for the Boxers, who fell to Whitworth 30-20.

The loss ended Pacific's bid for a fourth consecutive win.

The Boxers (3-3, 3-2 NWC) ground game outgained the Pirates 291 to 209, but it was a pair of long touchdown runs by Mason Elms of Whitworth that proved to be the difference in defeat. The junior scored on runs of 87 and 45 yards, and the visiting Pirates added an 82-yard punt return to help kill the home Boxers with knockout-punch after knockout-punch. Pacific senior Brandon Boyd had his fifth 100-yard game of the season, grinding out 157 yards on 21 carries. Freshman Kash Taylor nearly had his first 100-yard game with a 96-yard effort on 12 carries and a touchdown.

The Pirates (6-2, 3-2 NWC) demonstrated the ability to run and throw the ball in the win. Quarterback Ian Kolste threw for 240 yards, completing 28 of 42 passes in the win, and Elms ran for 152 yards on 16 carries to go along with his two touchdowns.

The two teams scored on their first drives of the game, but the difference was Pacific found the end zone on its drive. The Boxers' defense held the Pirates out of the end zone after they reached the three-yard line, then Pacific marched down the field on the strength of Boyd, who caught a 11-yard pass and had a 57-yard run to set up first and goal. On the next play, Taylor ran it in from seven yards out but the Pirates blocked the point-after attempt that put Pacific ahead 6-3.

Later in the quarter, the Pirates seized momentum, stopping the Boxers on fourth-and-one. After a third down conversion, Elms ran through the line and 45 yards later he hit the end zone to put Whitworth back in front 10-6. The Pirates added to their lead in the second quarter on an 82-yard punt return by Garrett McKay for a 17-6 advantage.

The Boxers then leaned on their ground game to move Pacific down the field, including a 33-yard rush by Taylor. On the next play, sophomore wide receiver Kobe Williams took the ball on a handoff and raced around the left side for a 30-yard touchdown run to cut the Pirates' lead to 17-13. Reiley then made the first of his two field goals to end the first half, making a 38-yard attempt for a 20-13 lead in favor of the visitors.

A takeaway midway through the third quarter led to a Whitworth field goal to stretch the margin to 10, 23-13. Later in the quarter, after a failed field goal attempt by the Boxers, the Pirates capitalized on it when Elms broke off an 87-yard touchdown run to extend the advantage to 30-13 in favor of the visitors.

The Boxers got back on the scoreboard with its first drive of the fourth quarter when senior Chad Aragon started the drive with a 33-yard pass completion from J.T. Greenough. Facing a fourth-and-three play, Boyd extended the drive with a 12-yard run and later, on their second fourth down play of the drive, Greenough connected with senior Griffin Christenson for a five-yard touchdown pass. After the two teams traded punts, Whitworth kept the Pacific offense off the field in the final 6:06, converting a third down play and a fake punt on fourth down.

Despite the loss, Pacific accumulated a season-high 291 yards on the ground — the most since a 296-yard effort against Lewis & Clark on Oct. 15, 2016.

Next, Pacific takes its final road trip of the season when they will face Willamette on Saturday, Nov. 4, at 1 p.m. in Salem.

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