Football holds on against Chapman

Kaho Akau, Staff Writer

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With questions remaining about a lack of experience, the seventh-ranked Wildcats held on to beat Chapman 27-12 Saturday night in Orange, California.

The main concern circulating Linfield football fans was the unknowingness of who would play quarterback

After losing Sam Riddle, the nation’s offensive player of the year and finalist for the Gagliardi Trophy in 2016, the Wildcats turned to Troy Fowler ‘19 to take snaps under center for the season opener.

“It felt great to be out there again after being behind Sam for two years. There was definitely a different feeling to the game,” Fowler said. “I learned a lot from Sam. Most importantly, I tried to pick up his leadership qualities.”

Fowler, a Medford native, went 13-20 with two interceptions and two touchdown passes for a total of 165 yards in his first game as a starter.

Defense played a significant role in the Wildcats’ win, shutting out the Chapman offense in three of the four quarters and allowing just 241 total yards.

Jason Farlow ‘18 led the surging Wildcat defense with nine tackles, a forced fumble and an interception on a Chapman attempt at a fake extra-point kick that was almost returned to the end zone.

“As a defense, we pressured the quarterback all game and forced them into some tough third downs,” Farlow Said. “After getting some jitters out, I feel we will see improvements after each game.”

The defensive line and linebacker core are full of senior talent, with Farlow, Mitchell Kekel, Jake Reimer and Marcus McGovern leading the way. The return of Asa Schwartz, who sat out during the 2016 season, also solidified the Wildcat defense.

However, losing 14 senior starters from last year’s team, the Wildcats looked to fill in holes at the running back, receiver and defensive secondary positions.

“It was nice to get a lot of the new guys some game experience. As we know, we have a lot of guys in the front seven on defense. The secondary is good but inexperienced,” Farlow said.

J.D. Lasswell ‘19 recorded two touchdown catches, and Marquis Perrilliat ‘19 had five tackles in their first career starts. Returning letterwinner, cornerback Anthony Guttadauro ’19, also contributed with an interception in the fourth quarter.

“We lost a lot of seniors, but the group of guys we have right now have been grinding all off-season,” Guttadauro said. “We are all trying to be great for the guys to the left and right of us. We are a family.”

With the win, the Wildcats increased their series lead over Chapman to 4-0 and start the season 1-0.

Up next for the Wildcats is a home opener on Sept. 16 against the national first-ranked team, and defending national champions, Mary Hardin-Baylor. UMHB handed the Wildcats their only two losses of the 2016 season, including one in the playoffs.

 

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Football holds on against Chapman