Friday, December 26, 2008

Wildcat11 Recommended Movie: "King Of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters"

With the Northern Willamette Valley and the Portland Metro area being covered in a brutal snow storm the past few weeks it has kept most residents of the area indoors and that means A LOT of movie watching the past few weeks. We've watched some solid mainstream hits like Iron Man, to some bland comedies like Get Smart. However, Mrs. 11 and I found a real gem this past week that is a MUST watch for any movie buff.

"King Of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters" is a documentary that was released by Picturehouse in early 2007. The story is centered around the classic arcade gaming world and the most difficult classic game, Donkey Kong. Back in the early 1980's a teenager named Billy Mitchell shattered the previous Donkey Kong high score on record and nobody has come close since. Mitchell is a character that even Hollywood could not have conceived. 20 years since his Donkey Kong record performance and he's still the top dog of this geek filled community and by the level of Mitchell's cockiness you would think he is on the level of a movie star.

But Mitchell's record and status gets threatened when a laid-off Boeing worker named Steve Wiebe starts making Kong sized waves in the gaming community. Steve Wiebe is about as likable of a guy you could ever meet. He's a father of two and trying to transition into a science teaching career. He's a talented guy but has never really carved an identity for himself or really been someone who's "made it". Steve's life has been filled with 2nd place finishes and has seemingly has never been able to measure up.

At first I thought there was no way I would be into this film but within the first 5 minutes I was sucked into the trials and tribulations of Steve's journey to respectability and overcoming Billy's constant roadblocks and passive aggressive moves to sidetrack Steve's advances on an "unbreakable" record. Besides Steve and Billy, the film is chalk full of almost unreal charters that worship Billy and support Steve.

Do yourself a favor and swing by your local video store and pick up a copy of King Of Kong. It's a underdog story in a weird and sort of pathetic world of classic arcade gaming.

Also, if you're looking for another off the beaten path flick check out Rocket Science. Nothing like a kid with a stuttering problem trying to make his high school debate team.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

‘Cats and Oxy will throw down in 2009

Huge news came out of the Linfield camp yesterday as the ‘Cats and defending SCIAC champion, Occidental, have agreed to a 1-year deal for the 2009 season. The game will be played at Oxy on September 19th. As a result, Linfield and Western Oregon have parted ways and will not be playing next season or anytime in the foreseeable future. That means that Linfield will have 8 Division III games in 2009 (Southern Oregon will remain the only non-DIII game for a total of 9 regular season games).

While this is great news for Linfield and its fan base, it also means a brutal travel schedule for the ‘Cats next season. The ‘Cats will open the year at home on September 12th vs Hardin-Simmons, and then have a brutal one-month stretch were the ‘Cats will be at Occidental, at Southern Oregon, at Menlo, and then wrap the extended roadie at Whitworth.

So the ‘Cats open up with two teams coming off playoff qualifying seasons (where they both dropped close games), an NAIA team that have battled the ‘Cats tooth and nail the past three years, visit an improving Menlo program, and then at Whitworth. That’s a hell of a way to start the season and if the ‘Cats want to get back to the playoffs, then Linfield is going to earn it.

Overall, I love this move and I’m excited we are moving closer to a pure DIII schedule. If the ‘Cats can start the season by overcoming two talented teams in HSU and Oxy then that will be a great boost in building a case for a post season bid. Of course, the ‘Cats will want to leave no doubt and capture the NWC crown but these non-conference games will be marquee match-ups in the Division III landscape.

I have to applaud the great work that AD Carnahan and Coach Joe Smith have put in with regards to getting this done and for the changes coming in 2010-2011.
2009 is shaping up to be another challenging but exciting season.


Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Scott Birkhofer named to AFCA All-American Team!

Linfield Sports is reporting that Linfield Senior Scott Birkhofer was named to the AFCA All-American team as a place kicker. What an incredible honor for Birkhofer and it is well deserved. Scott is the only NWC player on the team and the kicker is Linfield's 40th overall 1st team All-American football player (115th overall All-American honor (1st, 2nd, 3rd team, and Honorable Mention)).

As reported by Linfield Sports, Scott had the longest two kicks in Divison III this season (56 and 54 yards) and holds the longest 5 kicks in Linfield history. Congratulations to Scott and we will miss you next season!


Saturday, December 13, 2008

2008 Highlight DVD is officially in the books!

The main cog of is the game highlight videos and I’m thankful to say the complete 2008 Highlight DVD is officially finished! I tell Mrs. 11 whenever a new highlight DVD is finished that “I think this might be my best yet” but really….I think the 2008 Highlight DVD might be my best work yet.

The team banquet was a few weeks ago and I pushed in wrapping up the main highlight reel (all the game clips and senior salute) but there was still work to do after the fact. There were some minor tweaks I made to the highlight DVD that 99% of folks wouldn’t notice but I wouldn’t feel right without fixing them.

***Video Nerd Alert*** I kept the format pretty much the same of past years (because it works) but instead of using Adobe Premiere Pro to capture, compose, and edit the highlight clips I moved the whole process to Adobe After Effects and that created a whole list of different issues. However, I made the move because of the power and flexibility of After Effects. It did take much longer to render the finish product and to cut each game but I think it gave the clips a higher quality finish. ***End of Video Nerd Alert***

I really don’t want to bore you with all the painful details of putting a football highlight DVD together but here is a little dirt; I work on each game after it’s played and try to have it close to finished before the following week. It’s a tedious and long process and it can’t be done with out someone like Mrs. 11 having my back and giving me great feedback on music, edits, clips, etc. She would be my executive producer and has always been supportive of these projects. The football part is pretty easy but the hardest part is the music. I’m 32 going on 33 and my first instinct is to reach for the AC/DC and Guns N Roses but I want the DVD to reflect 2008 and so I spend drives to work with my Sirius Radio tuned to channel 28 “Faction” and 20 “Octane” in hopes that my ear will pick out music that works and I’ll ask for input from some of the players. The end result is a good mix of hard rock, hip hop, top 40, and movie scores.

For the players, they’re getting close to 1 ½ hours of original clips that go beyond just the season highlights. Here is what will make up the 2008 Highlight DVD:

-2008 Season Highlights

-2008 Senior Salute

-Coaches Salute

-2008 Scoreboard Team Intro Video

-2008 Gameday

-2008 Bloopers

-Linfield Trivia (as shown during season on video board)

-Senior Moments (as shown during season on video board)

For the rest of you, I’m sorry but you’re going to have to wait till March before I start rolling out the clips on but it will be worth the wait to have entertainment during the dreaded off season.

I’d also like to thank Brad Hazenberg who shot the opposite sideline during every home game, Kelly Bird for providing great still photos, David Cunningham and his student workers for all their great work in shooting the home games, Linfield Linebacker Calvin Park who was injured during the UPS game and stepped up and shot that game for an absent WC11 (great work!), Coach Hire for all the help with tapes and equipment, and of course Mrs. 11 for being the brains of the operation.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

3 'Cats land on All-Region Team but was Taylor Summers robbed?

The Division III football bible,, posted up their annual all-region teams yesterday and three Wildcats were honored in being named to the West Region team. It’s a great honor and something the players should be very proud of and the fans should recognize as well.

Senior Scott Birkhofer was named to the 1st team West Region as a place kicker. This is huge considering the kicker he beat out (Wisconsin-Whitewater’s Jeff Schebler) was the returning 1st team All-American and holds the division’s career record for most field goals converted. In the end, Scott’s tremendous distance in his kicks of 52, 54, and 56 yards on the year put him over the top. Scott also avg 63.6 yards in kickoffs with 9 touchbacks. No doubt the ‘Cats are going to miss Scott next season and is the best kicker in school history.

Senior Offensive Tackle, Jared Hinkle, was named to the regions 3rd team. Hinkle was a dominate force in the NWC for the past few seasons. I have to figure identifying offensive linemen is tough because there is no direct published stats attached to offensive linemen but coaches in the conference, coaches in the Wildcat program, and his fellow players all knew that #55 wasn’t giving up sacks and was constantly moving bodies off the line. Just a great talent that is as respected of a player that you will find.

Now here is where I had an initial gripe with the all-region teams. Taylor Summers being named to the 3rd team as a defensive end. At first I couldn’t believe my eyes. Summers had just as dominate of a season of Wildcat greats of recent memory (Lions, Rix, Ort, Olsen, etc). Teams feared him, sent extra bodies at him, and at times it seemed that #92 couldn’t be blocked on passing downs. Taylor was a force and I have to say that my initial reaction was that I was ticked.

However, instead of just bitching on, like so many posters who feel their player/coach, were robbed of an honor, I sat down and tried to look at this as objective as possible. In the west region alone there are seven conferences and 59 teams in the entire west region so it’s pretty much impossible for the people to see all of these teams play and really see just how a defensive end could impact the game plan of another team.

This is a very tough duty and I know the reputation of the conference and teams do carry weight, as well as the overall record of the teams in question. So when all things are equal I believe it gets down to the stat sheet and where you measure up. So, I took a look at the stats for the 4 defensive ends in front of Taylor and my initial anger was settled down….for the most part.

Taylor had a great stat line in 2008. In 9 games Summers had 36 tackles (20 solo), 16.5 tackles for loss, 12 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, and 8 quarterback hurries.

1st team Marcus Ball from UW-Stout had 68 total tackles (43 solo), 24.5 tackles for loss, 13 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, quarterback hurries were not listed. Ball did this in ten games. That’s a hell of a stat line and Ball did do this in the WIAC so I sure that carries some extra weight.

The other 1st teamer was Brock Arndt from Redlands and in 9 games put up 57 tackles (27 solo), 22.5 tackles for loss, 12 sacks, 3 forced fumbles, and 15 quarter back hurries. Again, that’s a really impressive stat line.

When you compare Taylor’s line with Ball and Arndt you can see why they were pick in front of Taylor. Even though Ball played in one more game the area that I think probably landed them their 1st team spots were solo and total tackles. I really don’t have room to argue this point and will concede that those two are very deserving of the 1st team honor.

However, I think where I might have more footing in my argument is the 2nd team selection of Aaron Mills from Bethel (MIAC). Mills had a great season but I don’t think his stat line is more impressive that Taylor’s. In 10 games Mills had 48 tackles (35 solo), 15 tackles for loss, 10.5 sacks, 0 forced fumbles, and 0 quarterback hurries.

The other 2nd team pick was Jacob Calderon from Cal Lutheran. Calderon’s line in 9 games is 67 tackles (39 solo), 19.0 tackles for loss, 12 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, and 2 quarterback hurries.

Calderon did have a significant number of solo tackles but Summers did have 6 more hurries that Calderon. On the surface, it appears that both Summers and Calderon had really similar season but both look like they had better lines that Aaron Mills, in my opinion. Yes, Mills did have more tackles that Summers but Summers played in one less game had had more TFL’s, sacks, forced fumbles, and crushes Mills in the hurry category. Shouldn’t sacks, TFL’s, hurries carry more weight that just tackles? Um…yes.

Ultimately, what I think held back Summers a bit beside the total tackles numbers is the fact the NWC coaches put the dreaded “CO-“ defensive player of the year tag on Taylor. I’ve stated this before but Summers was hands down the best defensive player in the conference and it wasn’t even close. However, the coaches traditionally like to give the conference winner the spoils and they split the award to Willamette linebacker Tommy Grove.

Well, was live and in-person at the UWW/Willamette game and needless to say the NWC Co-Defensive player of the year got ran on for 254 yards by the Hawks 2nd string RB who was starting his 1st game of his career. I can see how might have thought, “if this is the co-best defensive player of the year then I’m not sure if the other guys the coaches picked is on that 1st team level?” You think that line of thinking is crazy? Well, where is Tommy Grove on the all-region defense team? He’s not, but his teammate and the other linebacker "non co-defensive player of the year" Jack Bevins is. I rest my case on that line of thinking.

Regardless, I have great respect for and the way they pick their teams. They don’t put 15 running backs on the 1st team, no, they make the hard choice and say “here are the players who we deem the best” and go with it. Congratulations to all the players who made all-region. It’s a great honor and you all should be very proud of it.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Linfield's Brett Elliott Feature on Fox News

Linfield’s Brett Elliott was featured on Portland’s Fox 12 last night (Thanks for the head’s up Kelly Bird). The story catches up with the former all everything Quarterback as Brett spent this past season on the Linfield sideline as the ‘Cats quarterback coach. It’s a nice 3 minute feature and you can view it here on the Fox Video page.