The student news site of Linfield University

The Linfield Review

The student news site of Linfield University

The Linfield Review

The student news site of Linfield University

The Linfield Review

Linfield bests Willamette at home opener

Jake Downing

The Linfield Wildcats (3-0) beat the Willamette Bearcats (1-3) 70-14 in their home opener at Maxwell field on Saturday, kicking off their Northwest Conference play and continuing their unbeaten season.

The Wildcats dominated the Bearcats in every way possible, not only out-scoring them by 56, but also picking up 516 yards to Willamette’s 154, despite the Bearcats running nine more plays. The Wildcats set the tone early, with Devon Murray catching a pass from Quarterback Blake Eaton to take it 44-yards to the house, just 43 seconds into the game. The Wildcat defense then forced a 3-and-out to give the offense back the ball, leading to another Eaton-Murray connection for a touchdown, giving the Wildcats an early 12-0 lead less than three minutes into the game.

After an offensive miscue that led to a Wildcat fumble, the defense stepped up and two plays later forced a Bearcat fumble, setting up a 4-play-drive from the Wildcats ending up in a 23-yard Blake Eaton rushing touchdown. Connor McNabb added to the score towards the end of the first quarter to extend the lead, and Eaton then followed up with a touchdown pass to Colton Smith and Murray, putting the Wildcats up 40-0. After the Wildcats lost another fumble deep in their own territory, Willamette RB Gabriel Herrera punched it in to put up Willamette’s first points of the game, ending the first half with Linfield up 40-7. 

Linfield’s defense forced a Bearcat three and out to start the second half, and the offense put together a four play, 52-yard drive ending on a Blake Eaton touchdown pass to Isaac Hoidal. After Linfield’s defense stifled the Bearcats once again, a bad snap on the punt resulted in the ball landing in the end zone, and Willamette punter George Wiles-Koehler kicked it out the back of the end zone to give up a safety rather than a touchdown. Linfield couldn’t take advantage of the safety to add a score to the board, After exchanging punts, Linfield RB Jackson Pfeifer scored rushing touchdowns on back to back drives to extend the Wildcat lead to 63-7. 

A muffed punt by the Wildcats giving the Bearcats the ball on the Wildcats 6-yard-line. After Willamette quarterback Max Grizzel and wide receiver  Mason LaPlante connected for a touchdown to make it a 63-14 ballgame, Linfield on the next drive drove the ball down the field resulting in QB Carson Van Dyke and WR Cade Welch connecting for another Wildcat touchdown, ending the scoring at 70-14. The Wildcat defense stopped one last Bearcat drive to end the game. 

In all, QB Blake Eaton led Linfield Quarterbacks going 15-19 for 174 passing yards and 5 touchdowns. Connor McNabb led the rushing board, going 104 yards and a touchdown on 7 attempts. Devon Murray led all receivers scoring all three times he caught the ball, picking up 56 receiving yards. 

Defensively, Hogan Smith led Willamette’s defense with 11 tackles (7 solo, 4 assist), Michael Wong had 6, and Peyton Zampko, Alex Treeths, Javi Rodriguez, and Raymond Pasay had 4 tackles. Michael Moreno had had a sack in the second quarter. 

Overall, the Wildcats put together an amazing showing against the Bearcats, and improved to 3-0 on the season, and as of the time of writing are ranked number 8 among all Division three football programs. Linfield hopes to continue its unbeaten season next week in Portland against the Lewis and Clark Pioneers. 

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About the Contributor
Jake Downing, Photographer

Jake is a sophomore from Seattle, Wash. He is majoring in Journalism and Media Studies. On top of his involvement with The Linfield Review, he is also a member of the Linfield Men’s Basketball team. Jake grew up playing all sports but when it came down to decide basketball topped all. The first time he picked up a camera was his junior year of high school and his passion for photography has grown ever since. After college he hopes to make a career out of photography in one way or another.

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