Wildcats blow Pirates out of the water

Alex Jensen, Sports Editor

The Wildcats set the course of the game in the first two minutes and did not let up. With an attendance of 3,353, the homecoming atmosphere was electric.

Whitworth came into the game ranked fourth in the conference, averaging 554 offensive yards per game. On Saturday, the Wildcats defense allowed them just 365 yards.

Fans soon found themselves on their feet two minutes into the game when a pass by the Pirates was denied by safety Duke Mackle, ’19, for a 56-yard touchdown.

“I’ve been dreaming of a play like that, and I couldn’t believe it happened…we made great tackles and plays on the ball. The offense played well and is getting much better every day. It was a great team win this week,” Mackle said.

The Pirates got a field goal at the end of quarter. The score was 7-3.

After an unsuccessful first run under quarterback Aiden Wilder, ’20, in the first quarter, Troy Fowler, ’19, finished off the game.

Throughout the season there has been position competition between Wilder and Fowler. With Wilder out after the second quarter, the Wildcats may have found their set quarterback with Fowler.

The Pirates opened up the second quarter with a field goal, making the score 7-6.

With 8:20 left in the quarter fans were on their feet and hands raised above their head in anticipation as they watched a 63-yard touchdown pass from Fowler to J.D. Laswell, ’19. The score was 14-6.

“It was a great game. We came out hard in practice and tried our hardest. I felt that we clicked as a team and executed very well at times and at other times we didn’t execute, but we shook it off and made the next play,” Laswell said.

The Wildcats took their momentum and carried it into another scoring run. Fowler completed a 22-yard pass to Laswell placing them on the Whitworth three-yard line. Wilder rushed for a gain of one and then again for a touchdown to bring the score to 21-6.

“We did a lot of good things, we did some bad things but obviously at the end of the day we got the ‘W,’ which is all that matters,” Fowler said.

His highlight of the game was coming in and throwing the first touchdown pass to Laswell and getting out of the rut, which he thought the offense needed.

The Wildcats’ momentum now officially switched and Whitworth was unable to get any. The Pirates left and right were being halted by the ’Cats defense. Defenders Anthony Guttadauro, ’19, and Jason Farlow, ’17, sandwiched Pirate Kevin Thomas, resulting in an incomplete pass.

The second quarter ended with Linfield kneeling down with 40 seconds to go. The score was 21-6.

The Wildcats’ opening drive had promise for another touchdown but after a 42-yard pass from Fowler to Tyler Torgerson, ’20, they were unable to gain from it. On the next offensive drive, the ’Cats were able to answer.

Chidubem Nnoli, ’19, rushed for 55 yards from the Linfield 27 to the Whitworth 18. He again rushed for 15 yards to the Whitworth three-yard line. Fowler handed the ball off to Wilder, who then fumbled at the one-yard line. The Pirates got the ball but not for long because Jake Reimer, ’18, intercepted the pass and ran in for a touchdown to bring the score 31-6.

The Pirates were able to squeeze a field goal in at the end of the quarter.

Whitworth was not having a good day, unable to capitalize on red zone opportunities. In the fourth quarter the Pirates were getting antsy, badly wanting a touchdown.

It did not help that Linfield gained another touchdown on their first run of the quarter. Fowler threw up a 37-yard pass to Laswell in the end zone, bringing the score 38-9.

Whitworth gained possession at 12:24 and got the ball all the way down to the red zone, excited that they might get a touchdown. But a false start pushed them back to the Linfield 24-yard line. Whitworth’s Ian Kolste threw up the pass but Linfield’s Marquis Perrilliat, ’19, intercepted the ball.

Another unsuccessful drive by the Pirates allowed them to not get the ball until 2:25 on the clock. They passed and rushed the ball down the field to the Linfield two-yard line. Hoping to capitalize on this opportunity, Whitworth called a timeout with 00:28 on the clock.

The Pirates’ line-up and the ball was snapped. Koste was unable to find someone fast and was sacked, fumbled the ball and Linfield’s Havili Eteaki, ’19, snagged it and ran for 37 yards.

Linfield kneeled down with 00:10 left on the clock. The final score was 38-9. Laswell’s highlight of the game was the two pick-sixes by the defense, which he said flipped the momentum.

Linfield has a conference record of 1-0 and an overall record of 2-1. Next, the ’Cats play Willamette at 1 p.m Saturday, Oct. 7, in Salem.