By Robert Husseman • Sports Editor • 

Wildcats secure NCAA playoff berth

Linfield football achieved the first of its two major goals as a program, with the second one very much in reach.

The Wildcats' offense worked surgically Saturday afternoon, racking up 316 yards and seven touchdowns on the ground. The Wildcats' defense butchered Pacific, recovering three fumbles and limiting the Boxers to 144 total yards.

A large contingent of Pacific football fans were among the 3,197 denizens at Mawell Field in McMinnville, coming from Forest Grove and parts unknown to cheer their team to a possible outright Northwest Conference championship. Instead, Linfield knocked Pacific down repeatedly, forced a shared NWC championship and claimed the conference's automatic playoff berth in a 59-0 shellacking of the Boxers.

Mac High graduate Spencer Payne rushed for 114 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries in his first career start. Sam Riddle rushed for 99 yards and two touchdowns while throwing for 85 yards and a score. Even senior safety Jordan Giza got in on the act, rushing for two touchdowns in a, well, Wildcat formation.

From the opening kickoff, however, it was the Linfield defense that set the tone. Pacific went 3-and-out six times, lost two fumbles and snapped the ball in Wildcats territory on 15 of its 55 plays. The Boxers had converted over 50 percent of theit third downs entering the game; on Saturday, they converted four of 15 opportunities. Linfield racked up six sacks and 10 tackles for loss.

The NCAA Division III playoff bracket will be released Sunday at 3 p.m.

Pacific Lutheran 49, George Fox 7

TACOMA, Washington -- John Shaffer rushed for 100 yards and a touchdown, but the Bruins' offense was outgained 440-129 by the Lutes in Northwest Conference play Saturday afternoon.

George Fox ends its inaugural season of football with a 1-8 overall record and a 1-6 NWC record.

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