Wildcats claw Boxers, 28-22

A nail-biting finish brings the Linfield football squad yet another undefeated season, as Senior Josh Yoder leads the way in Linfield’s 28-22 win against Pacific University. This marks Linfield’s fourth undefeated season in the last five years.

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Senior Josh Hill (3) celebrates after rushing the ball into the end zone on an eight-play drive that moved Linfield within two points during the third quarter. This was the first time all season that Linfield did not lead coming out of the half.
Tyson Takeuchi/Senior sports photographer

Yoder rushed the ball 17 times for 82 yards and three scores in the game, capping off his season rushing stats at 692 yards and 14 touchdowns. He also added 89 passing yards on 10 completions.

Senior running back Josh Hill was also a big factor in getting the offense rolling, rushing the ball 18 times for 100 yards and a score.

It was mostly a running game for the Wildcats, as they totaled 224 rushing yards, as well as scoring every touchdown on the ground.

It was the defense who got Linfield going in the second half, as senior safety Colin Forman intercepted a Pacific pass late in the third quarter. This sparked the drive that gave Linfield the lead for good, as Yoder ran the ball in for a score putting Linfield up 21-16.

Forman, while very pleased with the interception, accredited the change in momentum to the entire team.

“You can’t really pick one specific play that turns the tides, it was a group effort,” Forman said.

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Senior running back Josh Hill (3) breaks from a Pacific defender as he moves the ball upfield. Hill had a spectacular day rushing, with 18 carries good for 100 yards. The team rushed for a total of 224 yards on the day, en-route to a 28-22 victory over the Pacific University Boxers.
Tyson Takeuchi/Senior sports photographer

Linfield scored once more in the fourth with another run by Yoder, and while Pacific made an effort to comeback with an onside kick after scoring, Linfield held strong and recovered the ball.

Coach Joseph Smith gave some credit to Forman’s interception saying, “it certainly gave the team a lift,” but said it was in large part the team being able to get back to doing what they know how to do.

Senior Tyler Steele was sad to see his college football career come to an end, as his knee injury will not allow him to play in the postseason, but was very proud in his team.

“I’m very proud of the football team for stepping up and doing the things they do,” Steele said.

Steele gave credit to his college career to Smith and defensive coordinator Jackson Vaughn, noting that they are, “Two of the best coaches you’ll find in the country.”

“Both of them could coach anywhere they wanted to. They are building us to be men, not just football players,” Steele said.

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Sophomore running back Tavon Willis (7) carries the ball upfield moving away from Pacific University defenders. Willis had 7 carries good for a total of 43 yards, averaging 6.1 yards a carry.
Tyson Takeuchi/Senior sports photographer

While he spoke very highly about his senior class and their talent, he also said how excited he was for some of the talent in the freshman class, specifically freshman running back Spencer Payne, noting that is a “phenomenal athlete” and could be playing Division One ball if he wanted to.

Linfield will take on Pacific Lutheran University in the first round of the playoffs. This game will be at 12 p.m. on Nov. 23. This game will be played at home, due to Linfield’s undefeated regular season.

 

Drew Mahrt/Senior sports reporter

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