Linfield football bests Willamette, clinches share of NWC championship

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JJ Anderson

Linfield vs. Willamette

JJ Anderson, Staff Writer

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The Linfield Wildcats clinched at least a share of the Northwest Conference championship in dominating fashion Saturday afternoon, defeating the Willamette Bearcats 77-7.  With the victory, the Wildcats also sealed their spot in the NCAA playoffs. To solidify the conference title, the Wildcats need to win their final conference matchup against Lewis & Clark University next Saturday. 

Per usual, the ’Cats offense was firing on all cylinders, going into halftime leading 56-7 and scoring on all eight of their possessions.

Playing in only the first half, starting quarterback Wyatt Smith went 20-24 for 310 yards and seven touchdowns. 

On the ground, the Wildcats out gained Willamette 252-115. Running back Connor Morton led Linfield in rushing with 102 yards on only four carries and a touchdown. Morton also received one pass for nine yards. Linfield had six individuals rush for 10-yards or more in the game. 

Through the air, receiver Colton Smith hauled in eight passes for 124 yards and three touchdowns, including a 49-yard reception from his older brother on Linfield’s first play of the game. Standout sophomore Joel Valadez had three touchdowns as well to go along with his seven receptions for 114 yards. 

On the defensive side, Caiden Biege-Wetherbee led the way with six total tackles. As a team, the ‘Cats also racked up five sacks along with an interception by defensive back Evan Fisette. 

The Wildcats will host Lewis & Clark for senior night next Saturday at 1 p.m. at Maxwell Field for their final conference game of the season. 

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