’Cats float like a butterfly, sting like a bee in Boxers knockout

Ross Passeck, Sports Editor

The Wildcats beat the Boxers at their own game with a one-two punch knockout.

The Pacific Boxers came into the Catdome Saturday off of a two game winning streak and a 3-1 overall record. There was plenty of buzz around campus that this was going to be a close game but even Pacific’s competitive record paled in comparison to Linfield’s undefeated momentum.

At 3-0, the ’Cats sported three immense victories coming into their last contest, averaging over 56 points per game. The streak of dominance continued on Saturday with a 77-10 victory over Pacific.

Pacific won the coin toss and elected to receive. The Boxers’ first drive of the game was made as brief as possible by the Linfield defense. After three plays the Boxers were forced to kick.

Cornerback Dylan Lewis, ’19, received the kick just past the 50-yard line. Immediately after his catch Lewis exploited a massive lane on the left side of the field to return the kick 51 yards for a touchdown, putting the ’Cats on the board within the first seconds of their possession.

The Boxers threatened to score on their next drive, making it into the red zone at the 16-yard line. With the Boxers hopeful for a touchdown, defensive end Alex Hoff, ’16, put a stop to their momentum with a sack on the Boxers’ quarterback Warner Shaw, knocking the ball loose and recovering the fumble himself.

“I lined up in a different position than usual so I used that to my advantage just to get my guy,” Hoff said. “I thought I missed him but on the way by I swooped out the ball and saw my teammate getting on it and it popped out to the side so I seized the opportunity to get on that thing.”

After the end of that drive the Boxers’ momentum felt the full force of a haymaker and would struggle to return for the entirety of the game.

Quarterback Sam Riddle, ’17, and running back Spencer Payne, ’17, proved to be a lethal combination against the Pacific defense.

“Spencer was feeling it today. They tried this technique of putting the D-ends on him and that doesn’t really fair well for them, Spencer’s a pretty fast guy,” Riddle said.

In total the two combined for 71 yards and a touchdown, but even those stats do little to illustrate how effectively Riddle and Payne dissected the Pacific defense. Their execution of coach Joe Smith’s game plan was flawless.

“Coach Smith always provides us with a good game plan and he had a good game plan against Pacific last year. Not much changed since then,” Riddle said. “Coach Smith is the offensive scientist or whatever you want to call it. He’s great at what he does and all the other coaches take their time to make the right calls.”

The first half was full of offensive woes for Pacific until it started raining. The Boxers’ offense seemed to have new life when they scored on a 13-yard run from Bronson Barretto, taking the score to 36-7.

Just when there seemed to be hope for the Boxers to compete, the ’Cats delivered a final uppercut with 3:57 left in the first half.

On fourth-and-10, Linfield elected to kick; however, when they lined up, cornerback Cory Stowell, ’18, shot up the field, and the kicker Kevin McClean, ’17, floated a pass to him for a 66-yard touchdown. This brought Linfield’s lead to 43-7.

“We hadn’t originally called for the fake punt. No one lined up on me and I was a bullet,” Stowell said. “I just signaled the punter and went from there.”

The half concluded with a 15-yard touchdown pass from Riddle to tight end Levi Altringer, ’16, with 0:08 left on the clock. The score had reached 50-7 by the time the first half came to a close.

Ultimately the Boxers seemed in a daze all game, and the ’Cats were more than capable of running circles around them on every end of the ball.

By the end of the game the score totaled 77-10, Linfield. With such a towering blowout against the Boxers it’s hard not to think of the ’Cats like Muhammad Ali standing over Sonny Liston after his first round knockout.