Tag Archives: Football

Tackling the question of rugby vs. football

As Linfield students, we have the privilege of going to a school with one of the American favorite past-time programs in the United States.

Everyone should know by now just how good our Wildcats are in Division III football but to those who are a little late, allow me to fill you in. Linfield College’s football program is the most winningest sports programs in the United States with over a 50-year conference winning streak.

Now I’m actually not here to write about how fantastic our football team is. I’m actually interested in why football is a more popular sport than father-sport, rugby.

Rugby, for those who have never heard of it, is a sport similar to football which originated in England in the 19th century. The sport is best described as a blend of the contact of American football, the running of soccer, and the transition of basketball. It is a game played with the object of the game being to run with an oval ball across the opponent’s goal line or kick it through the upper portion of the goal posts.

Now you may be thinking that the reasoning behind me arguing that rugby should be just as popular a sport than football is absurd.

Well sorry to burst your bubble guys, but football actually originated from rugby. Just like how the United States was originally an English colony, football finds its route deep in English culture.

In rugby, there are 15 players per team. Eight of the players are considered forward, similar to linemen and linebackers in football, while seven players are positioned as a back, which is just like the backs in a game of football. The two most distinctive features of Rugby that distinguishes the sport from American football is the fact that the ball can never be tossed or kicked forward and that there is no padding or protective gear used by the players. In rugby, it is a penalty to have the ball moving forward resulting in the ball being turned over to the other team.

So why do Americans love football so much? Well for one thing the NFL is a nine billion dollar industry along with college football as a six billion dollar industry, so money definitely plays a role in the popularity of the sport. However, rugby and football have similar game rules and are equally dangerous and physically demanding. Why is there such a divide?

The answer lies within knowledge. Most Americans are not aware that rugby is the father of American football. And with the popularity of football seems to be rising exponentially, there seems to be little room for rugby in the United States.

However there is talk among rugby enthusiast of launching a campaign to help make rugby more popular in the United States.  According to 2013 edition of “The Guardian News” entitled “NFL knows U.S. professional rugby union could be a very good deal indeed,” two U.S. based promoters George Robertson and Michael Clements have launched a scheme to bring Americans closer to the game of rugby by creating a summer and spring season of intense rugby playing called The American Pro Rugby Competition. If all goes well, after the NFL season concludes, the American Pro Rugby Competition will begin and create an off-season treat for football fans, allowing more viewers to become more familiar with rugby.

So although it may take several years for The American Pro Rugby Competition to really make an impact on American viewers, at least it is a starting point to get more American-loving football players introduced to rugby. And who knows? Maybe football enthusiast during the off season will be able to appreciate the father-sport of one of America’s most beloved pastimes while enjoying the knit and grit of the game of rugby.

By Camille Weber/Sports columnist


Student faces college policy, legal consequences

A Linfield student who was arrested for drunk driving in May 2013 has returned to Linfield and Linfield’s football team.

Senior Colin Forman was charged with 10 Class A misdemeanors, in which he plead guilty to one count of second-degree criminal mischief and drving under the influence of intoxicants. He was also charged with two counts of recklessly endangering another person and hit-and-run.

Although Forman was 20 years old at the time of the incident, his citation for being a minor in possession of alcohol was dismissed. He was also sentenced with 96 hours in jail and two years of bench probation, a 90 day suspension to his driver’s license, as well as required attendance and completion of a safetly driving class.

Forman also faced the consequences of both Linfield and the National Collegiate Athletic Association. As punishment for his actions last spring, the college has suspended Forman for 25 percent of the 2013 football season, according to Susan Hopp, vice presidnet of student affairs and athletics.

“[The consequences are] pretty standard sanction,” Hopp said. “Its tied to the severity [and] it’s tied to appropriateness. For some things, student would be dismissed from the team and or dismiss[ed] from the school.”

The NCAA was also involved in teh decision of how many games Forman would bew suspended for and whether he’d be allowed to play this season.

Hopp explained the way in which student discipline is handled at Linfield, but she could not go any further into Forman’s record, as he is protected by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.

“In general, the philosophy behind student discipline issues, whenever possible, is it becomes a learning opportunity,” Hopp said. “We hold students accountable for college policies that they break.”

Forman did not respond to the Linfield Review’s efforts to reach him.

Kaylyn Peterson / Managing Editor

’Cats celebrate Homecoming with a win

IMG_4435-21 jpeg

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


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


Team learns the hard way that spots are earned

Last week, there was news that a Utah high school football coach suspended his entire team over poor discipline and cyber-bullying.

When I first heard about the coach’s radical decision I thought it was impressive that he stood so firmly against those issues. But another thought also went through my head:  did the coach take disciplining his athletes a little too far?

Here’s a little more of a backstory. Union High School football coach Matt Labrum had grown frustrated with reports of his players skipping class, receiving poor grades and allegedly cyber-bullying a fellow student.

After the cougars’ loss against rival Judge Memorial Catholic High School, head coach Matt Labrum told all of his players that they were no longer a team and that all the athletes had to turn in their jerseys.

In total, 80 boys left the locker room with their head held low and some in tears, but amazingly both the athletes and their parents were not angry with the coach’s decision. Some parents commented that the coach was just giving the kids a good life lesson by trying to change these boys into men.

And how exactly are the coaches attempting to do that?

Well, after the team had been disbanded, the coach held a 7 a.m. meeting the following day on how the players could earn their spots back. In a letter written and signed by all the coaches, it outlined that the players had the opportunity to earn their spots back by cleaning-up streets around their community as part of new team-mandated community service work, mandatory study hall sessions, in addition to attending character classes during hours when they previously would have been practicing.

In addition to cleaning up the teenagers’ acts, the coach also re-assigned new captains which were based on a vote by the team.  Only two of the original seven were voted back as team captains.

“We looked at it as a chance to say, ‘hey, we need to focus on some other things that are more important than winning a football game,’” Labrum told the Deseret News. “We got an emotional response from the boys. I think it really meant something to them, which was nice to see that it does mean something. There was none of them that fought us on it.”

After days of community service, most of Utah football team reinstated, just in time for the Cougars’ homecoming game. The coach is praised, not only by the community, but by the nation as a role-model teaching his players that there is more to football than getting wins.

Union High School head coach’s philosophy reminded me of Linfield’s head football coach, Joe Smith’s philosophy. In one of my earlier articles this year, I wrote about what makes a successful team. Coach Smith explained to me about the four pillars that helps make a team successful: team, excellence, attitude and class. Coach Smith also emphasizes that “If the team fails, it is always a combined product of every member of that team.”

So in retrospect, the suspension of the football team at Union High school was an example of a coach’s tough love towards his players in order to teach them a life lesson which can be implemented not only on the field but throughout their adult lives.

Camille Weber/ Sports columnist


Wildcats crush Spartans, 45-0

The football team had a blow out game against the Case Western University Spartans with a final score of 45-0.

This was the first time the team had ever played a school in that conference.

The team had to trust their skills and be ready at any moment to change their plays.

“We just keep to the same system,” head coach Joe Smith said. “We take account for what the team is doing and make changes from there. [We] make adjustments on the fly and at half time. We are really good at that.”

The first half ended with the team 24 points ahead of Case Western, but that wasn’t enough.

The defense showed what they were made of by not letting the Spartans get a first down the entire first half.

However, the offense let Case Western intercept the ball two times, and despite the defense constantly giving them the ball, they didn’t score nearly as much as they would have liked.

“For us, all of our motivation came from being frustrated that we were only up by 24 points and knowing that we should be playing much better,” senior quarterback Josh Yoder said in an email. “I think that says a lot about our team; it doesn’t really matter the score of the game, if we win by seven points or 45 points, we have such high expectations for ourselves that if we aren’t playing as well as we know we should, then it is still a bit of a let down even if the margin of the victory is high.”

The team isn’t letting these wins get into their heads as they move on into the season. They know what they must do to get better and are ready to put in the effort to get there.

“I think there is a ton to improve on,” sophomore Brain Balsiger said in an email. “To reach the heights we expect to we need to clean up the mistakes with penalties and our execution. If we continue to focus on the little things the potential is great for this team.”

The football team will be facing Pacific Lutheran University in next weeks homecoming game witch will be a big game for both teams.

After beating them two times last year, the Lutes will be looking for revenge this weekend.

“It’s great to honor those that have come before us at Linfield College,” Balsiger said. “Our program is based so much around tradition that it’s cool to see all the alumni back and to honor them. This is a huge being a key rivalry game and our conference opener so we are anticipating a battle on Saturday. Should be a fun one and I know the team is ready for the match up.”

The Wildcats are at Maxwell Field for their homecoming game against the Pacific Lutheran Oct. 5 at 1:30 p.m.

“We’ve played these games and know how to be successful,” Smith said. “Our guys know that aren’t at the level that they are going to have to be at yet. Our goal is not just to get to playoffs or win this game.”


By Stephanie Hofmann/ Sports editor



The Wildcat defense goes in for a tackle during a game against Case Western University on Sept. 28. The defense shined during the game by not letting the Spartans get a first down the entire first half and not letting them score a single point the entire game. Linfield is playing Pacific Lutheran University for the homecoming game on Oct. 5 at 1:30 p.m.

Photo courtesy of Kelly Bird


Sophomore Brian Balsiger (5) catches the ball during the Case Western game in
Cleveland, Ohio. Balsiger caught eight passes and ran 99 total yards, the most catches and total yardage of anyone during the game.

Photo courtesy of Kelly Bird