Wildcats head to Playoffs after taking down George Fox at Home

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Angel Rosas

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The Linfield wildcats football team wore their all black uniforms as they charged on to Maxwell field to start their last game of the regular season last Saturday.

The Wildcats were coming back to a tight and emotional game against the Whitworth at the Pine Bowl. Linfield was able to get the victory in overtime, break a Witworth’s 3 season home winning streak and win Linfield’s tenth NWC title. 

With the slow start for the offense the wildcat defense stepped up.Linfield  senior Malik Campbell intercepted a deep pass by George Fox. 

The defensive turnover resulted in a deep pass to freshman Colton Smith to bring the Wildcats within striking distance. The home-team closed out the trip to the red-zone with a one-yard touchdown run by Junior Artie Johnson. 

Junior Linfield quarterback Wyatt Smith had some monstrous passes down the field to once again bring the cats in scoring distance. However, after taking a sack on 3rd down the Wildcats had to settle for another field goal. 

Liam Pickhardt/Linfield College
Junior running back Artie Johnson rushing during win over George Fox.

The Bruins wouldn’t go down so easily. On the ensuing drive George Fox got a huge pass play off with a flea-flicker where senior running back Anthony Garcia aired it out to fellow senior  wide-receiver Evan Nelson. The Wildcats kept the Bruins from the end-zone, but were not able to stop Bruin’s freshman kicker Ethan Hoffman from getting a field goal to put George Fox on the board. 

The Wildcats responded with a senior Keegan Weiss touchdown catch and run. Weiss maneuvered down the field evading multiple Bruin defenders to add to Linfield’s lead 17 – 3. 

The Bruin’s would not be out done and were able to move down the field and into the end-zone with an acrobatic catch by senior Kenny May just before the half. 

The competitive back-fourth against George Fox was a little different from what Linfield home games were typically like this year. Most would end in a total domination of the opposing team. 

“We fully expected George Fox to play a tough game knowing the talent that they had, said sophomore defensive-tackle Chase Lydig.

The Wildcats offense received the ball after the half, but couldn’t move it down the field. The Bruins blocked the punt and took over with  the ball in Linfield territory. The result of the dirve was a failed George Fox field goal attempt. 

After another Linfield  four-and-out the Bruins were able to block the Wildcats’ punt again, but the return yards from it were taken away because of a block in the back during the return. 

George Fox pinned the Cats deep with a punt that settled on their own 1-yard-line. Linfield was able to move out from their own endzone, but had two fumbles that were luckily recovered by the cats. The drive resulted in a missed field goal. 

The Wildcats pushed for  another long drive. This time the home-team was able to leave the red-zone with a touchdown with a short screen pass to Smith to make the score Linfield 24 and George Fox 10. 

George Fox were still fighting throughout the fourth quarter despite being down two scores. The bruins marched  down the field and scored a rushing touchdown. The Linfield lead was cut to 24 – 17 with little under a minute left in the game. 

The attempted on-side kickoff was recovered by the wildcats on the Bruin’s 49-yard-line. 

The Wildcats ended their regular season with a record of 8-1 and now get ready for their trip to California to face Chapman University in the NCAA Division III football playoffs. 

“Chapman is a great team, they are undefeated and we are playing them at their house,” said senior Chris Adamo. “Their defense brings a lot of pressure and their offense is solid all around so it will be a great test for us. I’m excited to be back in the playoffs and to represent our school.” 

The two teams have faced five times in the past, with Linfield having won each time. The game starts at noon Saturday at Ernie Chapman Stadium in Orange, California. Linfield college athletics will provide audio to the game

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