Final: Linfield 51, Pacific 17
Updates are in reverse chronological order, with the newest entry at the top. Scroll to the bottom for older entries and the preview story from the Saturday paper.
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The Linfield Wildcats defaeted Pacific 51-17 Saturday at Maxwell Field to finish the regular season 9-0 and clinch their fourth consecutive Northwest Conference championship.
Senior quarterback Mickey Inns threw for 362 yards and four touchdowns, completing passes to 10 different receivers. Deidre Wiersma caught nine passes for 128 yards and one touchdown. Charlie Poppen caught six passes for 94 yards and two touchdowns, and aivd Sigler and Colin Nelson both scored one touchdown.
The score was tied at seven points before Linfield went on a 30-3 run into the middle of the third quarter to put the game away against the Boxers (3-6).
Linfield compiled 500 yards of offense. Pacific had 150 but rushed for seven yards.
The Wildcats also earned the automatic bid to the NCAA Division III playoffs, which start Nov. 17. Linfield will most likely host a playoff game, but the official draws will be announced Sunday at 3 p.m. on NCAA.com.
FOURTH QUARTER: LINFIELD 44, PACIFIC 17
Josh Kay to attempt the 50-yard field goal. Partially tipped. Pacific takes over, but on his first pass Shaw is intercepted by Dom Forrest.
Linfield still having troubles with the field goal game. Kay attempts to a 25-yard field goal, has it blocked. Kay goes to the sidelines very upset. Slams his helmet on the bench Rightfully so, that dude has had very few clean field goal attempts this season.
Linfield takes over again. This interminable game just won't end, and Linfield is still throwing the ball with Josh Yoder in at QB. Penalties, tons of passes have contributed to an awfully slow second half. I'm heading for the sidelines. Thanks for tuning in!
THIRD QUARTER: LINFIELD 44, PACIFIC 17
Halftime jsut about over. Some quick stats. Mickey Inns has thrown from 291 yards and three touchdowns in the first half.
Pacific takes over. Warner Shaw in the game. Pacific SID says Minaya is out for the game with an undisclosed injury. Linfield forces a Pacific punt, and the Wildcats will take over at the 18. Wildcats punt, and Pacific starts to drive the ball because of some Linfield penalties. Into Wildcats territory. This quarter has been going on for 30 minutes already. Finally, Linfield gets a stop, but on third down Linfield is called for a personal foul. Fifth penalty of the drive on Linfield, 8th overall on the drive . Pacific has a first down at the 30. Mercifully, Linfield gets a stop on third down and there are NO PENALTIES! Gomez misses a 45-yard field goal. No flags on the field and Linfield takes over with 5:30 in the third quarter.
First play, Inns hits Sigler on a deep pass, and Sigler takes off and scores with 5:18 left in the third quarter. 71 yards on the play. PAT good. Linfield 44, Pacific 10.
Excellent pass by Shaw to Pumphrey down the left side and Pumphrey scores with 1:13 left in the third quarter. PAT good. 54-yard pass. Linfield 44, Pacific 17.
End of the third quarter. Finally.
SECOND QUARTER: LINFIELD 37, PACIFIC 10
Bad news for Pacific. On the first play of the second quarter, Minaya gets hit after throwing by KeAlii Poomaihealani. He gets up after a bit on the ground and walks off without a limp. No visible difference, but he could have hit his head. We shall see if he comes back in. Seth Siddle-Mitchell comes in for his snap of the season. Almost intercepted by Colin Forman and the Boxers have to punt with 14:41 lef in the half.
Some stats from the first quarter. Linfield with 151 passing yards already. Pacific has 77 total yards. Besides that, it's pretty even. Another fumble, Nasca fumbles forward at the Linfield 40. He was really close to being down, but Pacific recovers with 13:42 left in the half.
Minaya back in for the Boxers. Doesn't appear to have any issues. 'Cats force a third-and-1 from the 31. Big conversion here. he hits Michels for the first down to the Linfield 25. Linfield stops Pacific on the next third down at the Pacifc 22. The 39-yard field goal by Gomez eeks through the goal posts and is good. Linfield 14, Pacific 10, 10:21 in the first half.
Linfield driving. Inns his Wiersma for a 16-yard gain to the Pacific 44. Boxers coaches going crazy in the box. Inns sacked for the 16-yard loss. Fourth and forever. 'Cats punt and then an illegal block tacked on, and Pacific takes over at the 7. Pacific not going away at all.
Bad snap, Minaya fumbles in the end zone on the first play, and Minaya can't get out of the end zone. Safety with 7:48 to go in the half. Linfield 16, Pacific 10.
Linfield takes over at the 49. Inns almost sacked on first play again. Yikes, Pacific really bringing it, but the Wildcats now doing quick hitting passes to counter. Moving the ball into Pacific territory. Inns' favorite receiver today is Wiersma. Hits him again for 14 yards. Wiersma now has 96 yards receiving and a touchdown on seven catches. Inns has 198 yards passing.
Cat's first and goal, Shaffer goes up the middle for the 8-yard touchdown. Pacific defender holds on to him for a bit in the end zone, Shaffer and him exchange words. PAT good by Kay, Linfield leads 23-10 with 4:36 left in the half.
Minaya did come back in earlier, but now it's Siddle-Mitchell back in there. Minaya must be still feeling the effects of the hit. He's having a rough go of it. Bad snap with a fumble that he recovers, then he's thrown like a rag doll by the Linfield defense for a loss to the Pacific 6. Third and 24 upcoming for Pacific. Screen pass alos sniffed out. That was a negative-12 yard drive for the Boxers. 2:59 left in the second quarter, Linfield going to get the ball bac at their own 48.
Willis now in at RB. Wildcats into overdrive mode. Inns makes a dangerous throw to the flats, but the Brinkworth just misses the interception, Wiersma catches it and it's a first down. Inns then hits Priester. Linfield has first-and-goal from the 10, and Inns hits Poppen for the 10-yard touchdown with 1:21 left in the half. Pacific has spirit, they just can't hang offensively with Linfield. PAT by Kay is good. Linfield 30, Pacific 10.
Inns is now 20-for-29 for 249 yards and two touchdowns.He's completed passes to nine different receivers so far.
Don't look now, but Pacific goes three and out and the Wildcats are going to get the ball back. Again with :58.8 left in the quarter. Coach Joseph Smith doesn't want to waste any time. He wants to put Pacific away right now. Inns hits Poppen to the Pacific 23 with :37 left in the quarter. Inns' pass on first down is incomplete with :23. Second and 10. Inns steps up in the pocket and hits — who else? — Wiersma at the 9. There are 16 seconds left in the half. First and goal. Five wideouts.Another fade route to Poppen. Touchdown with :11.5 to go in the half. Way too easy. PAT by Kay is good. Linfield leads 37-10.
FIRST QUARTER: LINFIELD 14, PACIFIC 7
Linfield to start with the ball ontheir own 32, and on the very first play of the game, Inns hits Charlie Poppen for a gain of 42 yard gain to the Pacific 24. Interesting to note that running back Stephen Nasca is starting today's game instead of John Shaffer.
Linfield drives down the field, and Nasca gets hit and scores on a 4-yard run with 13:01 left in the first quarter. PAT good by Kay. Linfield 7-0.
Pacific take sover at their own 21. P.J. Minaya's first pass of the game is dropped, and Kawai drops the screen pass. He earns a nice flatback hit for his efforts. Minaya comes back with a first down pass on the very next pass. I know it's early, but Pacific already has shown that it can move the ball a bit against this defense. Just as I say that, Minaya's pass on third down is a little short of the marker, it's fourth-and-1 and they have to punt.
Linfield tries a screen pass and receiver Sam Robinson gets blown up and Josh Brinkworth not only delivers the big hit and forces a fumble, but he also recovers the loose ball. Pacific first down at the Linfield 29, 11:17 in the first. Minaya hits Brian Taylor for the 10-yard touchdown pass, Gomez's PAT is good with 9:37 to go, and the game is tied at seven.
Linfield takes over at its own 25. 'Cats look off early. Nasca stuffed for a loss on first down and then Inns misses badly across the middle. Big third down with 8:57 to go. Inns hits Poppen for 11 yards. First down. Then Inns almost throws an interception on first down. Yikes. And then he throws another bad pass that's tipped twice by Pacific players on third down. Wildcats forced to punt with 7:38 left in the first.
Pacific gets a first down to the Pacific 44, then Minaya almost connects with Jack Michels, but he drops the pass. Forced to punt, and Linfield takes over at their own 35 with 5:04 to go in the first quarter. Teams trade penalites though. Pacific called for targeting a receiver, then the next play Linfield is called for a personal foul after Inns hits Jepson for a 30-yard pass. Called back. Then Nasca gains 20 on a screen play, but Jacob Priester called for another personal foul. Gain called back and it's second-and-20 at their own 39. Cats forced to punt with 3:53 to go in the quarter. Pacific takes over at the 17.
Finally Linfield forces Pacific to punt again. Takes over at their own 45. First sighting of Shaffer. He carries the ball for seven yards on his first play. A couple of plays later, Inns hits Deidre Wiersma for the 42-yard touchdown pass on a post route over the middle of the field. 'Cats have been going deep all day and it finally bites Pacific in the butt. PAT good, 14-7 Linfield with :25.9 in the quarter.
Welcome to Maxwell Field for the regular season finale between Pacific (3-5) and Linfield (8-0). Sorry this won't be as long of a pregame note, I had a nice, long one about the 16 Linfield seniors playing on Senior Day, but the Internet cut out and I lost all of that great prose.
Quick hits: 16 seniors, including the likes of Mickey Inns, Lucas Jepson and Josh Kay. Remember, seniors Josh Hill and Tyler Steele are hurt and the news I hear is that both have secured medical redshirts to play next season.
OK. Here we go. Linfield in their purple tops and white bottoms. Pacific all white.
The Linfield Wildcats have won three straight Northwest Conference championships and can clinch a fourth outright conference title Saturday when it hosts Pacific at 1 p.m. at Maxwell Field.
The Boxers (3-5, 2-3) most likely won’t stop Linfield’s streak, but it doesn’t stop Wildcats coach Joseph Smith from respecting what Pacific has done since bringing back its program three seasons ago.
“Pacific is getting better and better,” Smith said. “I like everything (Pacific coach) Keith (Buckley) does.”
Pacific was 1-8 last season and 0-9 in 2010. That was the first season the Boxers had played football since cutting the program in the early ’90s.
“They’ve been modeling everything they do after us,” Smith said. “It’s a nice honor so to speak. They’re doing pretty much everything right, and they’ll be a force to reckon with almost every year, I think.”
The Boxers don’t have a senior on the roster, which would lead some to believe they are a young and inexperienced football team. Smith said that’s definitely not the case. Most of the team has played for three seasons and all the starters are experienced.
“There aren’t any seniors, but they’re very experienced players,” Smith said. “Lots of starts under their belts.”
Even with the experience, it will be a few years before Pacific’s promising rise will result in a winning season. Saturday it will be pitted against the No.3-ranked Wildcats and their defense, which has outscored NWC opponents 240-55 this season.
Despite the dominance, Smith isn’t ready to proclaim his defense the best.
“The offenses we have faced have gotten progressively worse in some regards,” he said.
The Wildcats already clinched the conference’s automatic-bid to the NCAA Division III playoffs because they have beaten Pacific Lutheran, which is 5-1 in the conference. A win Saturday would give the Wildcats a home playoff game and a potential No. 1 seed in their region.
The playoffs begin Nov. 17, and the NCAA selection show is at 3 p.m. Sunday.
“Players are working exceptionally hard and they’re hungry,” Smith said. “They think they have a realistic shot at a national championship, and I think we do as well. I really do.”
Notes: Linfield had nine penalties for 95 yards Saturday at Puget Sound, continuing a trend that has frustrated Smith all season. The Wildcats are last in the conference this season in both the number of penalties committed (77) and total penalty yards (742).