Daily Archives: December 1, 2012
With playoff seeding on the line at home in their season finale, the Wildcats left nothing to chance, blasting the Pacific University Boxers 51-17.
Another dominating performance on both sides of the ball saw Linfield roll to 500 yards of total offense, while limiting Pacific to just 150 yards and sacking Boxer quarterbacks seven times throughout the contest.
The win completed an undefeated season for the ’Cats at 9-0, their third in the past four seasons.
Senior tailback Stephen Nasca capped an explosive, five-play drive with a four-yard touchdown run to pick up an early 7-0 lead, but things slowed down after that because of old problems: penalties, fumbles, and field goals.
Freshman receiver Sam Robinson coughed the ball up and Boxer quarterback P.J. Minaya promptly evened things at 7-7.
Penalties stalled the ensuing Linfield drive, but the ’Cats were able to get the lead back shortly after on a 42-yard catch-and-run by junior receiver Deidre Wiersma.
Another fumble, this one by Nasca, led to a 39-yard field goal to cut Linfield’s lead to 14-10.
The ’Cats picked up 110 yards of penalties on the day and are averaging over 94 yards per game this season.
Senior kicker Josh Kay was also 0-3 on field goal tries, missing two and having a third blocked, although both tries were from more than 44 yards.
The ’Cats finally broke free midway through the second quarter after a high snap into the end zone led to a Pacific safety.
Senior quarterback Mickey Inns marched the offense down the field before freshman tailback Jonathan Shaffer punched in an eight-yard touchdown run to make the score 23-10. Junior defensive Brynnan Hyland led the defensive charge, picking up one of his two sacks on the Boxers’ ensuing drive.
A pair of touchdown catches by sophomore Charlie Poppen from 10 and nine yards, respectively, ballooned the lead to 37-10 and sent Linfield into the half with momentum behind it.
Inns put the game out of reach with a 71-yard rocket deep downfield to sophomore receiver David Sigler that left the Boxers reeling, down 44-10.
Backup quarterback Warner Shaw added a meaningless score at the end of the third quarter before third-string sophomore quarterback Matt Yarbrough scored his first touchdown of the season on a nine-yard pass to sophomore receiver Colin Nelson to cap scoring at 51-17.
Sunday afternoon the NCAA released the bracket for the 2012 Division-III football playoffs and the ’Cats captured a No. 1 seed for the first time since 2009.
They will face an opponent from earlier in the season, although perhaps not the one most expected. Northwest Conference rival Pacific Lutheran University, which owns the third-strongest schedule in the nation, according to the NCAA, snuck into the playoffs as an at-large selection and will face Linfield on Nov. 17.
Last time the two teams met, PLU raced to a 14-0 lead before the Wildcats outlasted the Lutes 31-24.
Should they continue to win, the Wildcats will own home field advantage until at least the national quarterfinals.
For the Review
Chris Forrer can be reached at
“I’m a busy guy,” laughs sophomore Aidan Willers, as he finishes writing out his schedule for the week.
In between swim practice and meets, and in the thick of rigorous classes required for nursing majors, Willers dedicates his time and efforts to FUSION, Linfield’s Gay/Straight Alliance Club.
Named president of FUSION this year, Willers strives to help educate and address matters surrounding sexuality—a matter that has greatly affected him personally.
“I have always advocated, and I will always continue to advocate for anti-bullying policies,” Willers said.
Once a high scholar at a private Jesuit High School, Willers is familiar with the conflicts and rifts that can exist between the gay and straight communities.
“It is something that is very close to my heart, being a victim of bullying,” Willers said.
In addition to the bullying that took place there, his high school had no GSA, or any other opportunities to open up conversation about the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered community—a discouraging prospect to someone struggling to come out for the first time.
“I had half my foot in the closet still,” Willers said.
The obstacles, however, only inspired Willers to address the rumors surrounding his sexual orientation.
Emboldened, Willers took the conversation to Facebook and officially came out.
“It was very self empowering,” Willers said.
With a newfound inspiration to engage in healthy discussion, Willers began a new chapter of his life at Linfield.
“The first day of freshman year I was like, ‘where is GSA and when can I join?’” Willers said.
Now, Willers is president of FUSION—which has already seen significant changes since his involvement.
“We have more members this year than we have in the past,” FUSION’s Community Liaison, Jeremy Odden, said. “I am thrilled with Aidan as president this year. He has taken the club by the horns and really gotten us together, motivated and enthusiastic.”
Willers and fellow members have brought this enthusiasm outside of meetings and onto campus. In April, FUSION brought drag queen Shane, from RuPaul’s Drag Race, to perform and talk about his life experiences in Melrose’s Ice Auditorium for Divas for Diversity. Willers MC’d the event.
On Oct. 1, FUSION celebrated National Coming Out Day around campus—providing education about the nationally observed day, bracelets, as well as a symbolic door frame for people of any sexual orientation to walk through.
“The main point that people should take away from the events is tolerance,” Willers said. “Linfield is such a small community that one incident of intolerance can really be detrimental to the community as a whole.”
Although in the middle of swim season and heavy workloads for his nursing major, Willers continues to plan more events with fellow members of FUSION.
“It’s certainly a lot to juggle, I’m not going to deny it. It takes a lot of organization and perseverance ” Willers said. “But it allows me to leave my mark, and it makes me proud to attend this school.”
Chrissy Shane can be reached at email@example.com