Marcus Larson/News-Register##
Chidubem Nnoli was leading the rusher on the day with 120 yards on 27 carries in the  Cats 12-6 win over George Fox.
Marcus Larson/News-Register## Chidubem Nnoli was leading the rusher on the day with 120 yards on 27 carries in the 'Cats 12-6 win over George Fox.
By Rusty Rae • Sport Editor • 

Linfield kicks Bruins, 12-6

Linfield College's seventh-ranked Wildcat football team (5-1, 4-0 NWC)  used the strong right leg of Willy Warne and a punishing defense to fell cross-county rival George Fox (5-2, 3-1 NWC), 12-6 at Maxwell Field Saturday.

At times, played in a driving rainstorm with a swirling wind, neither team could manage much of an offense, but Linfield, fed by it voracious defense, did just enough to allow Warne to bag four field goals, two in the second quarter and two in the fourth. 

Linfield's defense held George Fox's senior-laden offense scoreless for all but the last four seconds of the game. But the Bruin score was too little, too late. Since the point after touchdonw did not make a difference in the game, as time had run out, it was not kicked.

The first three-pointer was set up the 'Cat defense when the Bruins' Jason Santoni's punt was blocked by Duke Mackle. The 'Cats took over the GFU 18 yard line. After Chidubem Nnoli scampered for eight yards on the first down play, the GFU defense clamped down. Warne made a 32-yarder at the 8:12 mark of the second quarter.

McMinnville High School alum Colton Ramos, who had a terrific day punting for the 'Cats, pinned the Bruins deep in their territory at the 11-yard line. After a Bruin false start penalty moved the ball to the five-yard line, Bruin QB Grant Schroeder took off on a run, but Mackie brought Schroeder down - and at the same time separated him from the football.

Andrew Sweiterman recovered the ball on the Bruin 10 with 2:13 left in the half. Linfield got as close as the GFU three-yard line. On a fourth and two from the three, with 33 seconds in the clock, Linfield head coach Joseph Smith decided to take the sure three points, and Warne booted in a chip-shot from 20-yards out.

At the end of the first half, Linfield held a 6-0 lead.

Late in the third quarter, Linfield put together its best drive of the day. Starting from its 11-yard line, due to an unsportsmanlike penalty, Linfield's offensive line finally started to pound the Bruins' defense. After a two-yard loss, Wilder hit Keegan Weiss for six yards, after being chased out of the pocket.

From that point on, the Wildcats ground out a time-consuming drive. Wilder danced for six yards and a first down. Nnoli was sprung for runs of nine, eight and 10 yards. After the Bruins stopped Nnoli for a two-yard loss, senior Blake Burnett churned eight yards to the GFU 46, and Wilder ripped off runs for five and nine-yards.

Burnett plowed for another 11 yards and a first down at the GFU 21. Burnett lost three on the next play and as Nnoli rushed for a single yard to the Bruin 24, the third period ended.

When Wilder was stopped for a loss on a third and 12 play, Warne came in for a 43-yard field goal, making it a two-score game, at 9-0 at the 14:13 mark of the fourth stanza. 

The fourth quarter was another masterpiece by the Linfield defense. The defense pinned the Bruins deep in their territory on a pair of sacks of Schroeder and Santoni's 27-yard punt out of bounds gave the 'Cats the ball on GFU 40-yard line.

As the offensive line continued to find holes for running backs against the Bruins' defense, Linfield decided to keep the ball on the ground and run as much clock as it could.  Nnoli carried the ball for 35 yards on five carries. However, when Wilder lost five yards on a play at the Bruin 13, Warne came in for a 35-yard field goal at the 3:45 mark of the fourth. His fourth three-pointer made it 12-0 with 3:45 left in the game.

The Bruins got the ball back for the final time at the 1:37 mark of the fourth. Though the Bruins earned a score on a 32-yard pass, it really didn't matter.

Not only was Warne clutch in making four field goals, but  he also had a great day with kick-offs, averaging 60-yards with three touchbacks.

Also having a great day kicking was Ramos, the Mac alum. Ramos averaged 38 yards on punts, with three longer than 50, one for 63 yards, aided by a GFU muff on the fair catch, and two for touchbacks. 

Though Nnoli did not find the end zone, he once again broke 100 yards, running for 120 net yards on 27 carriers.

Linfield held Schroeder to 69 yards of passing, with 32 of that coming on the last play of the game. The 'Cats sacked Schroeder three times. Linfield's defense held GFU to 144 yards of total offense. Linfield's was not much better with a 151 yards of total offense.

The win earned for Linfield its 62nd consecutive winning season and was the 'Cats 600th victory since they started playing football in 1896.

The 'Cats travel to Puyallup, Washington, next week to meet NWC rival Pacific Lutheran.

 

 

 

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