’Cats celebrate Homecoming with a win

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Senior cornerback Brandon Funk (31) runs toward the end zone in the third quarter. Funk made one of the four total interceptions and was the only one to gain any yards.
Helen Lee/Photo editor

The still undefeated football team shut out the Pacific Lutheran University Lutes 29-0, on Oct. 5.

The ’Cats faced the long-time rivals the Lutes for Linfield’s homecoming game. This is the  longest winning streak that either of the teams have had with 13 straight wins for the Wildcats starting all the way in 2003. The team also tied there past largest margin of victory and this is the 39 win out of 64 games against the Pacific Lutherans.

IMG_4555-23 jpeg“Anytime you play a team with a history you have to look at their team’s continuity,” head coach Joe Smith said. “After playing them for so many years it can almost bring back too much information. It creates an interesting schematic guessing game.”

Before the game had taken place, the Lutes were set at 11th in the nation with Linfield going ahead at second place. Still any game between a team in the top-15 is sure to be a game changer.

“There was definitely a lot of pressure riding on this game, but not necessarily because it was homecoming weekend,” sophomore Brian Balsiger said in an email. “The pressure came from facing an elite conference team contending for a conference title. If there was ever a game to get excited about it was this one.”

The game started in a tug-of-war competitions with both sides getting their turn with the ball, before senior Josh Hill ran it into the end zone with 24 seconds to spare. After that, no other points were scored until the forth quarter where Linfield gain its final 22 points. The offense constantly pushed forward and was only tripped up by fluke mistakes and a few penalties.

“The offense came through when it mattered,” senior Kyle Wright said in an email. “PLU’s defensive scheme is tough to block and to sustain drives against. The offense started to shine to full potential in the fourth quarter once [Josh] Yoder took over with his feet which Football Game 4.1 by 2.2 jpegled to holes in their pass defense. The receivers made some incredible plays and our stable of running backs punished the Lutes all game.”

The ’Cats defense didn’t let the Lutes get comfortable once on their home turf. Linfield intercepted four balls and one in particular senior Brandon Funk achieved 31 yards after a quick catch.

“I think our defense stepped up big time,” junior Colin Nelson said in an email. “It’s tough to get a shutout regardless let alone one of the best teams in the country. Then being able to force five turnovers was definitely a huge key to our success. It helps us a ton from the offensive side knowing that even if we aren’t having our best game that the [defense] will keep us in it and give us a shot to win.”

After a strong start to the conference season the team will take a bye week to catch up on their health and condition themselves for the upcoming game.

“We are [going to] use the bye week to make sure we all get healthy and ready to go for the second half of the season,” Nelson said in an email. “We have had a tough schedule up until this point with the travel and the quality of teams we have played and it will definitely be nice to rest up a bit.”

After the bye week ends, the team will be headed straight into the conference season in an away game against Whitworth University Pirates on Oct. 19 in Spokane, Wash.

By Stephanie Hofmann/ Sports editor

Linfieldreviewsports@gmail.com

Freshman running back, Spencer Payne (28), tries to get through the Lutes’ defense. Payne had one carry for 13 yards. The ’Cats are taking a bye week, but will be back the next week when playing against Whitworth University on Oct. 19 in Spokane, Wash.

Tyson Takeuchi/Senior sports photographer

Senior quarterback Josh Yoder tries to get by the PLU defense during Linfield’s Homecoming football game on Oct. 5. Yoder had 13 carries good for a net gain of 67 yards.

Tyson Takeuchi/Senior sports photographer