Linfield Holds Off Bearcats for 30-27 Win

By Robert McKinney, Athletics Communications Director, (503) 370-6110

SALEM, ORE. -- Linfield College built a 13-0 lead in the first quarter and held off Willamette University in the second half, as the Wildcats defeated the Bearcats, 30-27, in a Northwest Conference game at McCulloch Stadium on Saturday, Oct. 24. Linfield, ranked #6 in the D3Football.com Top 25, remained undefeated at 7-0 and improved to 4-0 in the NWC. Willamette, ranked #17, fell to 6-2 overall, 3-1 in the NWC.

Linfield led 13-6 at halftime and built a 10-point lead on three occasions in the second half, but the Bearcats rallied to get within three points each time.

Scott Schoettgen (Jr., WR, Columbia, CA/Sonora HS) scored two touchdowns for Willamette. His first touchdown was earned on a 27-yard catch in tight coverage in the end zone with 2:29 left in the third quarter, pulling WU within 16-13. Brian Widing (Fr., QB, Oregon city, OR/ Canby HS) threw the touchdown pass on 4th-and-17, one play after he was sacked for an eight-yard loss.

After Linfield added a 5-yard touchdown run by Aaron Williams for a 23-13 lead, Jamiere Abney (So., TB, Bremerton, WA/Bremerton HS) scored for Willamette on an 18-yard run with 9:29 remaining in the game.

The Wildcats responded by driving 73 yards on 11 plays to take a 30-20 advantage. Chris Saunders caught a 7-yard touchdown pass from Aaron Boehme with 3:19 left.

Willamette countered by moving the ball 69 yards on 16 plays to cut the lead to 30-27. Schoettgen scored the touchdown on a 1-yard pass from Kevin Ramay (Fr., QB, Simi Valley, CA/Grace Brethren HS) with 21.2 seconds left. Mitchell Rowan (So., PK/P, Cotati, CA/Rancho Cotate HS), who kicked field goals of 28 yards and 22 yards in the first half, added the extra point.

Rowan's ensuing onside kick took a high bounce as planned, but the ball sailed just over the outstretched arm of a Willamette player and went out of bounds. Linfield snapped the ball once to run the remaining time off the clock.

Boehme completed 17 of 31 passes for 195 yards and two touchdowns. Several of his passes were nearly intercepted by the Bearcats, including the first pass of the game. The ball was deflected by WU's Jeff Kahler (Jr., CB, Honolulu, HI/Saint Louis School/Whitworth Univ.) about 15 yards upfield. The ball went another 10 yards after the deflection and was caught by Chris Slezak of Linfield, who scampered the remaining yards for a 50-yard touchdown. The extra point kick failed.

Linfield's second touchdown was scored by Boehme on a 1-yard run with 16 seconds left in the first quarter. Maika Kunioka kicked the PAT.

For the game, Boehme ran 12 times for 100-yards and a touchdown. Most of his carries were delayed runs outside the tackles after setting up to pass. Williams ran 32 times for 126 yards for the Wildcats.

Abney led Willamette's running attack with 90 yards on 10 carries. Ramay ran eight times for 45 yards. Willamette rushed 37 times for 227 yards. Linfield carried the ball 45 times for 227 yards.

Widing completed 7 of 14 passes for 104 yards and one touchdown for the Bearcats. Ramay finished 7 of 15 for 80 yards, one touchdown and one interception. Schoettgen hauled in eight receptions for 122 yards.

Ralph Pineda (Jr., ILB, Los Angeles, CA/Cathedral HS/San Jose State Univ.) led Willamette's defense with 14 total tackles, including 1.5 tackles for losses. Harmon Bruno (So., OLB, Danville, CA/San Ramon Valley HS) and Andrew Ross (Sr., ILB, Petaluma, CA/Petaluma HS) registered 11 tackles each. Matt Banta (Sr., OLB, Baker City, OR/Baker HS) provided the Bearcats with 10 tackles.

The WU defense stopped Linfield on two 4th-and-short plays in the second quarter. The stops occurred on consecutive possessions for the Wildcats with Linfield leading 13-3.

With 11:00 left in the half, the first of the two plays was on 4th-and-2 at the Willamette 36. Boehme threw an incomplete pass intended for Kevin Abbott.

The second play was on 4th-and-1 at the WU 33 with 3:57 on the clock. Pineda and Banta stopped Williams for no gain. Willamette took over and drove 62 yards on 11 plays to set-up Rowan's second field goal and pull WU within seven points at the break.

Kole Krieger was Linfield's top tackler. He finished the game with 10 total tackles on five solo stops and five assists. He made 1.5 tackles for losses and broke up two passes. Taylor Skore provided seven total tackles.

The Bearcats are off next week. They will return to action on Saturday, Nov. 7 at the University of Puget Sound. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m. (PST).

BOX SCORE
Linfield College 30
Willamette University 27
Scott Schoettgen caught eight passes for 122 yards, including a pair of touchdowns in the second half.

Scott Schoettgen caught eight passes for 122 yards, including a pair of touchdowns in the second half.

Mitchell Rowan scored nine points. He was 3 for 3 on PATs and hit field goals of 28 yards and 22 yards.

Mitchell Rowan scored nine points. He was 3 for 3 on PATs and hit field goals of 28 yards and 22 yards.

Ralph Pineda of Willamette led all players with 14 total tackles.

Ralph Pineda of Willamette led all players with 14 total tackles.