Grant Lucas/Review staff writer
The Linfield football season ended with an exclamation as the Wildcats beat up on Pacific Lutheran University, 45-0. The victory in this 58th meeting of the squads marked the largest blowout in the series.
Senior wide receiver Travis Masters scored two touchdowns and collected more than 270 all-purpose yards, 135 of which came on the ground.
After an interception by sophomore cornerback Bryce Comfort, sophomore quarterback Cole Franklin scrambled to the end zone. However, a collision at the goal line forced a fumble into the end zone that was recovered by sophomore wideout Mychal Lemon for the game’s first score.
At the beginning of the second quarter, junior running back Cole Rogers ran two yards for a score, capping an eight-play, 39-yard drive.
Masters hauled in a seven-yard touchdown pass from Franklin with two seconds left to make the score 21-0 at halftime.
Fewer than three minutes into the third quarter, Masters picked up where he left off, sprinting 71 yards for a touchdown.
Soon after, senior wide receiver John Torsey caught a Franklin pass, carrying it 37 yards for the score.
In the fourth quarter, senior placekicker Scott Birkhofer tallied a 48-yard field goal, and freshman running back Aaron Williams scored on a 24-
The Lutes crossed midfield only three times and finished with two yards rushing as the Linfield defense piled up nine sacks.
Franklin finished with 194 yards on 15 of 26 passing and two touchdowns.
“Our offense clicked on all cylinders,” Masters said. “We were able to throw and run the ball. Our offensive line did a great job opening up holes and giving us protection.”
Linfield ended the season with a 6-3 overall record and claimed sole possession of second place in the Northwest Conference.
Eighteen seniors dressed down for the last time as Wildcats, including nine regular starters.
“It was a difficult season in a lot of ways,” head coach Joe Smith said. “But I’m especially proud of the finish that we had.”
Injuries plagued the Wildcats as they were forced to use three different starting quarterbacks throughout the season.
This gave young players opportunities to step up and make a name for themselves.
Turnovers detained the Wildcats as they turned over the ball more times than they took it away. Linfield finished in a tie for last in turnover margin in the NWC.
Linfield finished first in the conference; however, in total defense, holding opponents to 1,599 yards and scoring defense, allowing under 19 points per game.