Rockne Roll/News-Register##
Linfield s Aiden Wilder, in his first start as a  Cat quarterback, leaps a Pioneer defender for the first score of the game. Linfield won the game 49-14.
Rockne Roll/News-Register## Linfield's Aiden Wilder, in his first start as a 'Cat quarterback, leaps a Pioneer defender for the first score of the game. Linfield won the game 49-14.
By Rusty Rae • Of the News-Register • 

Linfield downs Pioneers, 49-14

PORTLAND – Linfield, behind a new starting quarterback and a couple of new linemen, sputtered early, but put away the Lewis and Clark Pioneers, 49-14 Saturday at Griswold Stadium. The win sets up a showdown with cross county rival George Fox at Maxwell Field next Saturday.

Transfer Aiden Wilder took over the starter’s role for Troy Fowler, who head coach Joe Smith said was unavailable for the Pioneer game. The ‘Cats also saw a new center and guard, consequently the offense stumbled early, but with the defense playing its usual strong game, rebounded with a solid performance, netting seven scores.

So stout was the Linfield defense, Lewis & Clark did not record a first down until the 8:65 mark of the second period. By that time Linfield led 14-0 and with a late second quarter score, 21-7 at the half.

Wilder got things started for the offense about halfway through the first period with a six-yard sprint into the endzone after the defense had set the ‘Cats up with a fumble recovery at the 14.

It took Linfield almost another quarter before the Wildcats found pay dirt again. This time Chidubem Nnoli found the glory lane from 13-yards out. The PAT was good for the 14-0 lead.

Lewis & Clark scored at the 4:42 mark of the second quarter as the ‘Cats misfired, including a major roughing the kicker penalty on a missed field goal. That penalty kept the Pioneers’ drive alive, while blown coverage by the secondary allowed them to score on a 18-yard pass from Sawyer May to Dalla Garreaud.

The ‘Cats took the ensuing kickoff, driving to the Pioneers’ 32-yard line with 23 seconds left in the half. After calling a timeout, Wilder hit Linfield wide receiver Tyler Torgeson with a near-perfect pass for the score, running the lead to 21-7.

Linfield went to the air again, Wilder hitting  Torgerson on a 40-yard rainbow for the score and a 28-7 lead at the 5:51 mark of the third period.

The ‘Cats scored at the 13:44 mark of the fourth period when Nnoli got loose on a 14-yard scamper, pushing the lead to 35-7.

With the ‘Cats giving experience to subs, the Pioneers were able to score on a 25-yard pass from Sawyer to Gage Bumgardner .

The ‘Cats rang up a pair of scores with its second and third team in the game. With Mac alum Wyatt Smith at the controls, Linfield drove 85 yards in 13 plays. The last eight yards for the score was a pass from Smith to freshman Kyle Kimball.

Kimball, and running back Blake Burnnett, were key on the drive. Burnett, a senior, who has battled injuries from training camp, had runs of 10, 11, and nine yards in the drive.

After Linfield’s Niles Tuihalangingie intercepted a Pioneer pass, returning it 56-yards to the Pioneer 20, the ‘Cats struck for their final score of the day. Kela Marshall doing the honors with a 14-yard run 13 seconds left in the game.

Wilder was a solid 13-18 for 168 yards and a pair of scores. Nnoli once again turned the century mark in rushing, gaining 122 yards on 23 carries. Linfield out gained L&C 435-230.

Linfield, 3-0 in conference play, will meet George Fox, also 3-0 in conference play, next Saturday at Maxwell field.



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