Bearcat Football Comes to a Close as Linfield Clinches NWC Championship, 34-21

SALEM: On a cold and rainy Saturday, two teams, as yet unbeaten in their conference, met to battle for the NWC Championship Title. Linfield clinched its forth consecutive NWC Championship with a 34-21 victory over Willamette.

The unranked Bearcats (7-3, 4-1 NWC), whose only loss at home coming into this game was to Mary Hardin-Baylor, lost a shot at the NCAA Division III playoffs. After a 5 game winning streak, the Bearcats end their season with a disappointing loss. The Bearcats were within two touchdowns in the final quarter but were unable to convert and turn the tables on their number 3 ranked archrivals.

The Wildcats (9-0, 5-0 NWC) have continued their winning streak, making it their 24th regular-season win over three seasons. They will find out on Sunday who their first NCAA Division III playoff opponent will be.

For Willamette, Greg Reed carried 20 times for 171 yards and a touchdown. Takeshi (TK) Matthews carried 11 times for 109 yards. Cameron Waltonhad 8 carries for 79 yards and 2 touchdowns. Cameron Walton was 9 for 3 in passing for 32 yards. Tyler Gaspard was 7 for 3 in passing for 52 yards. Tim Speckman had 3 receptions for 49 yards. Willamette gained 359 rushing yards to Linfield's 167; Linfield beat out Willamette for total net yards, garnering 485 to Willamette's 443.

RUSHING: Linfield-Ford, Thomas 20-84; Jenkins, Riley 16-72; Matthews,
Tyler 4-10; Ellis, Puni 1-1. Willamette University-Reed 20-171; Matthews
11-109; Walton 8-79; Keyser-Allen 3-15; Brock 4-10; Gaspard 5-minus 25.

PASSING: Linfield-Matthews, Tyler 19-36-0-318. Willamette
University-Walton 3-9-0-32; Gaspard 3-7-2-52.

RECEIVING: Lindield-Carter, George 7-83; Allen, Casey 3-84; Jenkins,
Riley 3-72; Hazenberg, Bran 3-35; Armstrong, Josh 2-28; Ward, Marcus 1-16.
Willamette University-Speckman 3-49; Meyer 2-23; Hernandez 1-12.

INTERCEPTIONS: Linfield-Gulley, O.J. 2-22. Willamette Universiyt-None.

FUMBLES: Linfield-Gulley, O.J. 1-1; Matthews, Tyler 1-1. Willamette
University-Matthews 1-0; Gaspard 1-0.