After 22 months, Linfield football returns to the field with a win over SFU

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Nathan Herde

Linfield vs. SFU – By Nathan Herde

Kate Walkup, Sports Editor

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With a 56-20 win over Simon Fraser University, the Linfield football team kicked off the 2021 season 1-0 at home on Saturday, Sep. 11. 

The Wildcats, led by senior quarterback Wyatt Smith’s 307 passing yards to nine different Wildcat receivers, pulled away from SFU right from the start.

Today’s game marked the first time Linfield football fans have been allowed in the stands at a home game since the 2019 season. Nov. 23, 2019 was also the last time the Wildcats played—a 68-65 loss to Chapman in triple overtime in the first round of the NCAA Division III playoffs. 

Fans in the Stands

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In the first quarter, Linfield sophomore running back Connor Morton scored the first touchdown of the game to get the Wildcats on the board. Linfield entered the second quarter with a 10-0 lead over SFU. 

To open the second quarter, sophomore running back Connor McNabb scored a touchdown—Linfield’s second of the game. This play propelled the Wildcats into a 18-0 lead. With 5:24 left in the second quarter, the Wildcats scored a third touchdown—this time on a reception by sophomore wide receiver Devon Murray. 

Linfield entered the third quarter with a 25-7 lead and held SFU scoreless in the third quarter. Linfield freshman wide receiver Joel Valadez scored two touchdowns in the third quarter, and senior kicker Andrew Starkel connected on a field goal. 

SFU held Linfield scoreless in the fourth quarter, but it wasn’t enough.  

SFU’s Caelin Johnson recorded 193 receiving yards to lead the game, while SFU’s Riley Morrison netted 11 total receptions. McNabb led all rushers with 73 yards, with Morton adding 41 yards rushing.

Linfield enters the 2021 season with the hopes of continuing their record of 64 winning seasons—the longest in the history of any college football program no matter the division.  

Linfield and Division-II SFU have met 10 times prior to today’s game. Linfield has won every time, outscoring SFU 335-163. 

Canada’s only school represented in the NCAA, SFU is a member of the Great Northwest Athletic Conference. SFU opened their season against Division I Idaho in Moscow with a 68-0 loss on Sep. 4. 

Linfield will hit the road next week to play the University of the Redlands on Sep. 18.