TACOMA, Wash. – The 2011 season came to a close on Saturday for the Puget Sound football team with a heart-breaking 40-34 loss to Whitworth. The Loggers (0-9, 0-6 NWC) took a six-point lead into the final quarter but two late Whitworth (4-6, 3-3 NWC) scores took control of the game.
With 5:12 remaining in the third quarter Ryan Rogers leapt over his defender in the end zone to haul in the TD that gave the Loggers a 34-28 lead. The Loggers were able to hold off the Pirates for the majority of the fourth quarter until Ronnie Thomas found a route into the end zone for Whitworth to tie the game at 34-34. A missed extra point kept the game tied.
Thomas ended up with 153 yards on 27 carries to lead the Bucs. He capped off his day with a 37-yard run that put the Pirates for the first time since early in the first half. His longest run of the day gave the Pirates a 40-34 advantage with 1:43 remaining.
The Bucs defense forced a turnover on downs with less than a minute less on the next drive to seal the deal.
Adam Kniffin led the Loggers with 13 catches for 120 yards and a pair of touchdowns. His 13 grabs gave him 95 catches for the year, which breaks his Logger single season record from one year ago. He also ended up with a career-high 985 yards receiving on the year – just seven yards shy of another school record.
Kniffin's TD catches came from four yards out and 17 yards out. His first TD grab gave the Loggers an initial 7-0 lead while his second TD came just 36 seconds before the half and brought the Loggers within one at 21-20.
The Loggers opened the second half with momentum when Tyler Vlasak picked off Bryan Peterson's first pass of the half and returned it to the Pirates' 35. On the next play, Foley found McDonald wide open for a 35-yard TD strike. Sean Scott scored to cap the Pirates next drive to set up the late game dramatics.
Vlasak ended up with a game-high 13 tackles to keep his lead in the NWC. Kyle Rodriguez added eight tackles, including 3.5 tackles for loss.
Kupono Park added a TD in the second quarter for the Loggers from one yard out. He ended the game with 70 yards on 17 carries.
The Loggers wrapped up their 2011 campaign on Saturday and will return all 11 starters on offense and nine starters on defense when they take the field in 2012.