Daily Archives: December 5, 2011
Head football coach Joseph Smith didn’t expect to see a team as tough and talented as California Lutheran University until at least the second round of the NCAA Division-III playoffs.
After his team’s thrilling victory over the Kingsmen on Nov. 19, every fan in attendance at Maxwell Field could have told you why. Junior defensive tackle Tyler Steele blocked a desperation field goal that would have sent the game to overtime with 33 seconds left and the ’Cats withstood a furious second-half rally to eke out a 30-27 win in the rematch against CLU.
“I firmly expected a tough game,” Smith said. “I felt like we had a chance to put it away and didn’t with a lot of our opportunities in the first half.”
For nearly the entire first half of play, the game seemed to be well in hand for Linfield. Junior
kicker Josh Kay led the charge early as the offense faltered in the red zone, booting field goals of 30 and 43 yards. Cal Lu added a shaky 40-yard field goal of its own to keep it close in the first quarter, but junior quarterback Mickey Inns added two scoring strikes of 13 and eight yards to senior receiver Buddy Saxon and junior receiver Deidre Wiersma in the second quarter to pull away at 20-3. The Wildcat defense did its part, picking off two passes by Kingsmen quarterback Jordan Laudenslayer thanks to senior cornerback and safety Christian Hanna and Drew Fisher.
“When we get put in a situation to get out there and make a stop, it’s on our shoulders,” Fisher said. “It’s exciting, and it’s what you play for.”
Just before the half ended, the Wildcats drew a controversial pass interference penalty that drew the ire of the Maxwell Field crowd. On the next play, Kingsmen quarterback Jordan Laudenslayer hit receiver Eric Rogers on a desperation touchdown pass as time expired and robbed Linfield of any momentum heading into halftime.
“The hail-Mary touchdown made it a different game,” Smith said. “But the team in the playoffs who adjusts and gets it done in the crisis situations wins.”
The Cal Lutheran surge continued into the third quarter, with the Kingsmen adding another 20-yard field goal on their opening drive.
Kay continued his strong play by knocking a 43-yard attempt straight through the uprights, but Laudenslayer scooted into the end zone to answer with a five-yard touchdown run.
The Kingsmen quarterback tormented the Linfield defense all afternoon, making plays with his arms (249 yards, one touchdown) and his feet (83 yards, one touchdown).
“They were doing some things differently than last time,” Inns said. “That’s what happens when you play a team more than once.”
Up only three points, junior tailback Josh Hill scored on a 14-yard screen pass from Inns to give the Wildcats some breathing room. Hill, who had a career game against Cal Lutheran in the season-opener, rolled up 172 all-purpose yards and carried the bulk of the offensive load throughout the contest.
Smith said the result was a team effort, but did praise Hill for stepping up when his number was called.
“Josh is an electric player,” Smith said. “He was the guy who we win or lose with today, and he came through.”
Shortly after the score, a pass by Inns was tipped, intercepted and returned for a touchdown to pull the Kingsmen within three once again.
After a Wildcat three-and-out, the Kingsmen drove for a field goal try to tie the game. Then, Steele rose above the pile and squarely blocked the kick, preventing overtime and preserving the victory.
“I hit the right guard square in the nose and drove him back,” Steele said. “You throw up anything you’ve got free, I threw up my left arm and it hit right on my left hand.”
The ’Cats were next slated to travel to Dover, Del., to face the Wesley College Wolverines in the second round of the D-III playoffs. Wesley, an independent that went 8-1 in the regular season, has advanced to the
national semifinals six of the past seven seasons and will pose a stiff road test for the Linfield Wildcats.
Smith said that he was stunned at the loaded quadrant of the bracket his team was placed in, but that no matter who the opponent is, the players and coaching staff relish the challenge.
“For them [the NCAA] to load a bracket like they did is really not right,” Smith said. “There are some roads easier to the semifinals than others and our bracket is not one of them.”
Chris Forrer/Sports columnist
Chris Forrer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Linfield men’s basketball team battled to the end in its home conference game of the season against Pacific Lutheran, scoring two three-pointers in the last minute of the game.
The Wildcats lost the game 68-76 Dec. 3.
While they may have lost, they certainly didn’t lose without a fight. In the last 10 minutes of the game, the Wildcats scored 10 points, bringing the score from 58-76 to 68-76.
“Our goals for the season are to get into the playoffs. We have to finish in the top four spots,” said Larry Doty, the men’s basketball head coach.
Unfortunately for the Wildcats, Pacific won the game 76-67.
“We didn’t make free-throws and didn’t make stops at crucial points in the game,” said freshman Andrew
The game started out in the Wildcat’s favor, with junior Dakotah Pine scoring a two-pointer and a three-pointer early in the game.
Both teams looked evenly matched after the first half, with Linfield just barely ahead of Pacific by two points.
“There is good chemistry,” Doty said, about how well the team works together.
The second half didn’t go as well as the first for the Wildcats. The score was close for most of the game, as neither team let the other get too far ahead.
Pacific however, started to pull away in the last four minutes of the game. In the last minute alone, Pacific players Charles Moreley and Coby Proctor scored 10 points off of foul shots alone.
“If you can make more free-throws than the other team attempts, you win 90 percent of your games,” Doty said.
While the Nov. 29 game was the first conference game, it was not the team’s first game. The men’s basketball team has already played four games this season.
The Wildcats played against Northwest University in Kirkland, Wash., on Nov. 25.
Unfortunately, junior Zach Meikle and Batiuk sprained their ankles in this game. The Wildcats scored 41 points in the second half, but it wasn’t enough to catch up to Northwest.
Northwest came out with the victory, winning 83-63.
The Wildcats played against NCAA Division I team, the Portland State University Vikings on Nov. 21.
“Our guys look forward to the challenge,” Doty said.
“It’s fun to play against D1 teams,” Batiuk said.
PSU won 101-64.
The Wildcats had their first win of the season against Concordia on Nov. 19 at their home court. Some good shots and rebounds helped the Wildcats to pull ahead of Concordia in the first half of the game and win 47-33.
Linfield held its lead throughout the second half, leaving the Wildcats victorious with a score of 88-72.
The men played their first game of the season against Corban on November 19 at Linfield.
The game was close, but Corban barely edged out Linfield for the win, with a score of 71-68.
The game was a battle until the end. Corban pulled ahead of Linfield with two two-pointer shots in the last minute of the game.
The Wildcats play Multnomah on their home court Dec. 5.
Currently, the team has a lot of players out with injuries, including front line players. Doty said he hopes to have his players healthy by January, when the next conference games happen.
Meghan O’Rourke/Opinion editor
Meghan O’Rourke can be reached at email@example.com.
For the second consecutive week, the Linfield Wildcat football program found itself comfortably ahead at halftime of an NCAA Division-III playoff game. For the second consecutive week, their opponent found a way back into the game.
This time, however, there would be no heroic ending. The Wesley College Wolverines stormed back from a 20-point halftime deficit and rattled off 42 unanswered points in the second half en route to a 49-34 victory that ended Linfield’s playoff run.
Quarterback Shane McSweeny almost single-handedly won the game for Wesley, accounting for 433 of his team’s 497 yards of offense and six total touchdowns.
“I’ve never seen or been a part of 42 unanswered points, and for this to happen in the playoffs,
was even more heart breaking,” senior safety Drew Fisher said. “Wesley had some big dudes and some guys that could really play ball.”
Through two quarters of play, everything was going right for the ’Cats. The tough Linfield defense harassed McSweeny, forcing him out of the pocket and sacking him twice, as well as creating an interception by junior linebacker Brian Dundas in the second quarter.
Additionally, the defense repeatedly tackled McSweeny and other Wesley ball carriers for lost yardage.
Wesley would score once in the second quarter on a 46-yard dash by McSweeny, but still only picked up a meager 181 yards of total offense in the first half.
“Everything was working for us in the first half,” Fisher said. “We tackled well, made plays on the ball, and forced quick punts from the Wesley offense which kept the momentum in our favor.”
Two short field goals of 26 and 27 yards by junior kicker Josh Kay got the scoring started early before junior quarterback Mickey Inns began to light up the Wolverine defense.
After breaking open one big play after another, including a shovel pass to junior tailback Josh Hill that went for 42 yards and a 45 yard catch-and-run down the sideline by senior tailback Aaron Williams, Inns fired touchdown passes of one and 33 yards to senior and junior receivers Buddy Saxon and Lucas Jepson.
Overall, Inns would accrue 296 yards through the air in the first half alone. All these factors combined with a six-yard scoring run by Hill to create a 27-7 halftime margin.
“We were extremely well prepared and were ready to play,” senior center Hayden Mace said. “Our coaching staff had a great plan of attack, and we executed it well in the first half.”
With a 20-point advantage and receiving the ball to begin the second half, everything seemed to be going in favor of the ’Cats.
Within seconds of starting the half, things began to go awry, with sophomore safety Colin Forman fumbling away the opening kickoff to the Wolverines on his own 28-yard line.
McSweeny wasted little time and capitalized a few minutes later on a 15-yard scoring strike.
After Fisher stripped a Wesley receiver and senior cornerback Taylor Skore recovered, Inns marched the ’Cats deep into the Wesley territory, only to have a pass intercepted on the one-yard line and returned 99 yards for a touchdown.
“They took hold of the momentum and it was hard to create our own,” Mace said. “Every phase was slipping, and the offense wasn’t able to help stop the bleeding.”
From that point on, McSweeny and the Wolverines never looked back, scoring on their next four consecutive possessions to take a commanding 49-27 lead. The Wildcats would score once more to bring the score back to a respectable margin, but in garbage time after the outcome was no longer in doubt.
Wesley’s defensive unit stepped up to complement their prolific offense, holding the ’Cats to 153 second-half yards.
The loss overshadowed a heroic performance by Inns, who finished with a career-high 407 passing yards. The collapse ensured Linfield was headed home after a road playoff game for the third season in a row.
“Wesley has a great team, a top-five defense with excellent athletes,” Mace said. “We had them on the ropes and should’ve knocked them out.”
The game marked the end of the careers of 20 different Linfield seniors, many of whom were three or four-year starters.
Mace said the bonds he made with his teammates and coaches were unlike anything he’d ever been a part of and was severely disappointed to end his career on a note like this.
Fisher added that his times on the field would be among the greatest in his life, but more importantly, the friends he made would stick around forever.
He also had something to say about the future of the program after the departure of the seniors.
“Mickey played a huge role in answering any questions about our offense this season. Josh Hill brought the running game back to Linfield,” Fisher said. “I think the stones are set in place for another exciting season from the ‘Cats next year.”
Chris Forrer/Sports columnist
Chris Forrer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Students, faculty, the board of trustees and community members gathered to honor Del Smith, a trustee emeritus of Linfield College.
After more than three decades of support, Smith was honored with the dedication of the softball field Nov. 12.
The board of trustees approved the naming of the field during its most recent meeting.
Smith is an active supporter of both Linfield and the McMinnville community.
Serving on the Linfield Board of Trustees for 34 years, Smith has been an influential person around the Linfield community.
With a quickly expanding softball program, the addition of a softball field with covered dugouts, a grandstand, an enclosed press box and batting facility creates the atmosphere needed for a nationally ranked team.
“Having a nice field is so important because it lets us use our facilities all times of the year. With the rainy weather, that’s a huge factor because it allows us to stay outside on the dirt as opposed to the fieldhouse, which just isn’t the same fielding balls and working on outfield skills,” sophomore Kim Chase said.
None of this would be possible without the help of Smith’s donations.
“Smith is a really gentle man, and has a big passion to support Linfield’s sports,” senior Sami Keim said.
She also said that Smith founded a program that encourages young coaches and players to join college athletics.
Other financial gifts Smith has given have helped in the building of the Rutschman Field House, the renovation of Helser Field and improvements to the Maxwell Field.
After many gifts to Linfield, Smith was inducted into Linfield’s Athletic Hall of Fame in 2005.
The softball team will not wait to put the newly dedicated field to use, as stated by Keim, who says that the team will begin training in January.
The field is being restored for the next softball season.
Kaylyn Peterson/Sports editor
Victor Zhu/Staff reporter
Kaylyn Peterson and Victor Zhu can be reached at email@example.com.