Riding the momentum that began in a 35-7 statement win against Willamette University a week ago, the Linfield Wildcat football team took care of business on the road in Tacoma, Wash., with an emphatic 55-14 drubbing of the University of Puget Sound on Oct. 9.
Senior quarterback Aaron Boehme racked up 311 all-purpose yards with four touchdowns, and senior tailback Simon Lamson rushed a career-high 100 yards with another two scores. Lamson, who sat out for the majority of the 2009 season because of a broken collarbone, was elated at the end result.
“My dad always told me things happen for a reason,” Lamson said. “To be able to battle back this season and set some marks I have been working for — it really makes me appreciate the process I went through.”
The offense and defense had opportunities to dominate the ball early. On the Loggers’ opening drive, junior defenseman Kalae’ Parish snatched a pass from Puget Sound senior quarterback Duncan White. On the following Linfield drive, Boehme rocketed 26 yards from scrimmage and into the UPS end zone for a score. The point-after kick was blocked to leave the score at 6-0.
Overall, the Wildcat defense intercepted Puget Sound quarterbacks six times and picked up four sacks.
“We felt like we had a few mismatches on the line,” senior defensive end Eric Hedin said. “We took full advantage exploiting that weakness and letting them playing into our hands.”
With the second quarter just 1 minute old, sophomore kicker Josh Kay added a chip-shot 27 yard field goal, Boehme found senior receiver Chris Slezak 37 yards downfield for a score, and Lamson picked up his first touchdown on a 1-yard dash into the end zone.
“The win against UPS was a statement game,” Lamson said. “I have to credit every yard I earned to my offensive line. They opened up running lanes and really dominated the line of scrimmage for four quarters.”
The second quarter played out much like the first. White was intercepted twice, once by junior rover Kole Kreiger and once by junior cornerback Nate Dixon. Both turnovers led to Linfield scores, the first on another run by Boehme in which he hurdled a defender en route to the end zone, and the second Lamson’s final score.
At the half, the Wildcats were on top 35-0.
“It feels really good to be gelling again like we did last season,” Dixon said. “We knew we could be good if we worked extremely hard, and that’s what we have done throughout spring and fall camp and are continuing to do so now. Our coaches put in a lot of time with our defense, and our success has a lot to do with their effort.”
Boehme and the offensive starters would see only one more series of action before heading to the bench for some much-needed rest, and it still yielded a touchdown on a 33-yard strike to junior receiver Deidre Wiersma. Senior Taylor Avritt and sophomore Steven Nasca added touchdowns for the ’Cats in mop-up time.
Senior backup quarterback Cole Bixenman had a pass picked and returned 80 yards for a score, and backup Puget Sound junior quarterback George Ka’ai lobbed a short scoring pass in the final minutes to round out the final margin at 55-14.
The ’Cats return home on Oct. -16 to battle Pacific University in the annual Homecoming game at 1 p.m. Pacific, which has not had a football program in almost 20 years, is still looking for its first win and isn’t likely to spring an upset. Nevertheless, the Wildcats continue to improve and prepare for their next opponent.
“It’s just another game to get better and improve on doing the little things right,” Hedin said. “Doing the common things in an uncommon manner.”
Chris Forrer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.