Wildcats sink the Pirates’ hopes for an undefeated season

Kaelia Neal and Ross Passeck, Sports Editors

Two immaculate records dueled in the Catdome Saturday but the Pirates’ rapiers were no match for the Wildcats’ claws. Indeed, Linfield emerged victorious, yet again, to remain undefeated on the season.

Whitworth did prove to be a worthy opponent for the ’Cats through the first quarter.

“They were a very good football team and very sound in their schematics,” wide receiver Erick Douglas, ’17, said. “We knew it was a big game and the conference championship so we had to play our best, as we do every week.”

After the first quarter, Linfield was up 7-3. By the time half time rolled around, the score was already 28-3, Linfield.

Linfield captured the momentum of the game with a blocked punt by defensive end Alex Hoff, ’16, to put the ‘Cats on Whitworth’s own 10-yard line. Hoff has been electric with his hands in the past few games with a blocked punt on Saturday and three swats against Willamette.

Quarterback Sam Riddle, ’17, connected with tight end Levi Altringer, ’16, for the touchdown three plays after the blocked punt.

Not long into the second half came another touchdown by the Wildcats, making the score 35-3.

As the ’Cats started to pull away, the Pirates answered with a touchdown of their own, to bring the score to 35-10.

After Whitworth’s touchdown, Linfield’s offense remained relentless as always.

A beautiful 63-yard pass by quarterback Tom Knecht, ’16, to wide receiver Zach Kuzens, ’17, helped attain the field position for kicker Michael Metter, ’16, to kick a 39-yard field goal, making the score 45-10.

The last touchdown came by way of Knecht’s legs on a 19-yard rush to the end zone, cementing the score at 52-10.

“We executed on all three phases of the game. Our special teams played great, and we got a blocked punt that we capitalized on, huge momentum change,” Douglas said.

“Defense played great and got some turnovers and shut down their high scoring offense. [Our] offense was able to drive down the field and make big plays. Offensive line played a very good game.”

Success is no surprise to the Linfield Wildcats, as they captured their 60th straight winning season on October 17 against Willamette. Maintaining an undefeated streak paled in comparison to 60 straight years of winning.

“What I think makes Linfield such a successful program is the fact that everyone buys into what we do as a team,” running back Spencer Payne, ’17, said.

“From building team chemistry, to finding roles on the team, and getting the proper looks we need from our scout team each week makes us a very successful program I am glad to be a part of,” Payne said.

Despite his modesty, Payne rushed for 127 yards with another 93 yards of receptions. This amounted to a significant portion of Linfield’s total 587 yards of offense.

The ’Cats plan to continue their successful season one game at a time.

“We don’t overlook any game or opponent. When we win that week we move on to the next week,” Douglas said.

“Goals for the rest of the season are to keep improving as a team each week and to keep building team chemistry,” Payne said.

Linfield has three more conference games to play until heading to the playoffs. Next up, the ’Cats head to Newberg, Oregon to face the George Fox Bruins at their home turf at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, October 31.