By Robert Husseman • Sports Editor • 

Wildcats sink Pirates' aerial attack

Rockne Roll/News-Register
Charlie Poppen hauls in a second half touchdown catch for the Wildcats.
Rockne Roll/News-Register
Charlie Poppen hauls in a second half touchdown catch for the Wildcats.
Rockne Roll/News-Register
Linfield starting quarterback Sam Riddle (10) evades a Whitworth defender on a keeper play.
Rockne Roll/News-Register
Linfield starting quarterback Sam Riddle (10) evades a Whitworth defender on a keeper play.
Rockne Roll/News-Register
Linfield s Colin Nelson attempts to elude a defender.
Rockne Roll/News-Register
Linfield's Colin Nelson attempts to elude a defender.

Whitworth brought its best-in-the-Northwest Conference passing attack to Maxwell Field on Saturday afternoon, but the Pirates couldn't handle the pressure from the Linfield defense. 

On the other side of the ledger, the Wildcats posted the third-best mark in school history with 719 yards of offense, as Sam Riddle set new career highs with 312 passing yards and five touchdowns.

It all culminated in a 65-13 victory for Linfield over the Pirates, cementing a 59th conseuctive winning season in school history and giving a boisterous homecoming crowd as much as it deigned to cheer about.

The day began with the dedication of a monument of the man who oversaw the beginning of what would become the winning-season streak, the late Paul Durham. Durham, the former Wildcats coach and athletic director (and sports editor of the McMinnville News-Register) now stands eight feet tall in bronze between the Health, Human Performance and Athletics building and the Linfield Aquatic Center.

Durham coached a more run-oriented style of football than the modern-day Wildcats, but Linfield can rack up yards on the ground. The Wildcats (5-0, 3-0 NWC) got 352 yards of rushing on 60 plays against Whitworth; McMinnville High School graduate Spencer Payne (seven carries, 65 yards) led the way for the first time in his career. Payne also caught a 48-yard touchdown pass.

Charlie Poppen had eight catches for 127 yards and three touchdowns for Linfield, and Evan Peterson and Erick Douglas III each caught touchdown passes.

Whitworth quarterback Bryan Peterson completed 17 of 37 passes for 164 yards, with a touchdown and an interception. Peterson was sacked five times. Avega Siolo led the Pirates (4-3, 2-2 NWC) with 16 yards on eight carries.

Linfield plays at Lewis & Clark on Oct. 25 at 1 p.m.

 

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