Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Player blog: Hayden Mace: "With cancer, everything changes."

Linfield Starting Center Hayden Mace (#65)
Any longtime or even short time reader of this blog knows what we're about: Celebrating our Linfield Wildcats, talking about past, present, or future seasons/teams, and WC11's occasional poke at our opponents. However, when you come across something that a current player has and is experiencing that is so real and perspective changing it makes you come to a complete stop and just brings life back into focus on what's important and what is just distraction.

Cancer. Probably one of the scariest and most emotion inducing words one can hear. Many of you that are reading this have probably been touched in your life by Cancer in one form or another. For Linfield starting Center, Hayden Mace, Cancer is a word that he probably thinks about everyday and for good reason. In 2008, Hayden and his family lost his younger sister, Sarah, to Leukemia.

I've only recently learned about Hayden's loss and my heart sank for the passing of a young and bright life. I have to admit that I was hesitant to reach out to Hayden to ask him to write about his Sister and his subsequent involvement in Doernebecher's and the Make-A-Wish foundation. However, Hayden was more than willing to write about this as he feels it's a way to let others know to get involved with these foundations and help those that are in the midst of battling this disease.

I can't thank Hayden enough for opening up and being willing to share. It makes me feel great to know there are young people like Hayden that are part of our Linfield family.  -Wildcat11

I was in the last two weeks of my junior year in high school when my family found out that my 15-year-old sister, Sarah, had been diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML). She had been feeling sick for a few days prior so my parents took her to the doctor’s office to get looked at. At first the doctors thought she just had pneumonia, but after blood work was done, they diagnosed her with Leukemia. She was flown to Doernbecher Children’s Hospital in Portland that same day, and my world came crashing down.

My aunt had Leukemia and was fortunate enough to beat it. She helped provide the initial hope and inspiration for Sarah and our entire family. Before long though, Sarah became an inspiration to us, our friends, other children at Doernbecher and everyone we knew. She was cancer-free during one point in her journey, but it came out of remission. She fought hard for 18 long months before passing away early Christmas morning in 2008. She was only sixteen.
Sarah Mace
There are millions of people around the globe who have been affected by cancer one way or another. Some are fortunate enough to beat it. A smaller amount is able to beat it twice, and an even smaller percentage can keep cancer in remission forever. When Wildcat11 asked me to talk about my journey and involvement with cancer, Doernbecher and The Make-A-Wish Foundation, I was honored. I don’t think there is any better way to honor cancer patients, survivors and most of all, my sister.

There are a small handful of guys on the Linfield football team that have been affected, and I wanted to be the friendly voice for them and their families. My family had the opportunity to work with Doernbecher and Make-A-Wish during my sister’s 18-month battle. We have continued supporting both, and I’m currently trying to earn an internship with the Make-A-Wish office in Portland in the Wish Department because of the amazing interaction we had with the outstanding foundation.

Our family went on a “wish vacation” to New York City in the early spring of 2008. Sarah’s wish was to meet the cast of the hit TLC show, “What Not to Wear”, and watch the filming of a show. We were in New York for four incredible days and were able to visit The Empire State Building, The Statue of Liberty, Ground Zero and Grand Central Station. Make-A-Wish is able to grant thousands of wishes, like my sister’s, every year thanks to the generous donations from ordinary people. I believe it’s important to give back to your community and help out a noble cause, and both Doernbecher and Make-A-Wish are incredible and can use the help of every last minute and dollar of volunteering and donations.

Doernbecher was a tough place to go to because to me it represented illness. I know that Sarah hated having to go back for check-ups or long stays, but it’s what needed to be done. She spent most of her time at Doernbecher and got to know a few of the nurses on a really personal level. She was also a huge inspiration to many other patients. She would walk laps around the hall to try and keep her body healthy and strong. She loved spending time with the other kids in our hall and even passed out candy as a reward to kids for walking laps too.

A former teammate of mine, who is a cancer survivor, lives by the motto LTD: Live the Dream. He is one of the most happy-go-lucky guys I know. He lives each day like it’s his last because that obstacle was put in his way. He doesn’t take anything for granted, and I respect him for that. He’s an inspiration to me and many other people.

I’ve realized throughout the last few years that it isn’t important what you have in your life but rather who you have. Relationships are the number one most important thing in our lives. Just think about that. The most important thing in my life is my family and friends. I’m a fond believer in showing affection for the people you love in your life, and I think that if everyone was more in tune with their relationships, the world would be a much better place to live in.

When someone is diagnosed with cancer everything changes. People’s eyes can really be opened. We really get to see just how fragile life is and just how potentially small we can be in this big world. We hear a lot of inspirational people say that we need to live each day like it’s our last, cherish each moment and enjoy every second. I think that’s absolutely true. Any moment we waste while we’re here is an insult to those who were taken too soon. I challenge you to really do what you want to do with your life. Before you know it the whole thing has passed you by and you’re asking, “Where’d all the time go?” Take value in the things you enjoy, your relationships and making the world a better place. Tell the ones you love how much they mean to you, give back to your community or help someone in need. Do the things that make you happy, and don’t settle for anything less than your best.

I’m thankful to have made the decision to come to Linfield, and I’m proud to be a part of the Wildcat family. I’ve made great friends and they’ve all been like a second family to me. Catdome!

-Hayden Mace
Class of 2011
Hayden and teammates with Sarah at Mt. View High School (Bend, Or.)

Monday, March 28, 2011 Video of the Week: Linfield vs Willamette

Don't forget to check out's video of the week: 2010 Linfield vs Willamette as the 'Cats go on to thump the Bearcats 35-7 in this NWC showdown at the 'Catdome.  2010 Linfield vs Willamette Highlights

Friday, March 25, 2011

Cheap shot 101 presented by La Verne's Donald Mull

While shooting the action of the 'Cats 30-3 win down in L.A. vs the University of La Verne, Wildcat11 captured the most perfect example of an away from the play cheap shot that one could conceive. During the early portions of the 3rd quarter the 'Cats ran a toss play for a minimal gain but the real action was 15 yards away from the player where La Verne safety Donald Mull (#4) decided to pick off our unsuspecting Wildcat WR, Josh Hill.

I have to admit that WC11 might have taken a few liberties with offensive linemen or quarterbacks away from the play back in the day so I can't hate on Donny too much or I'd be a hypocrite. However, what made me shake my head and chuckle so much about this no look job was how when Josh Hill confronted Donny about the dirty play was that Mull just babyfaced it like a true pro. Obviously, this isn't Mull's first Rodeo in the dirty play department.

Obviously, Wildcat11 doesn't encourage plays like this but this does serve as a reminder to Wildcat WR's keep your head on a swivel when the Leos make their first trip up the 'Catdome on September 24th.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Cutting Room Floor: 2010 vs La Verne

Not everything makes the Linfileld College Football highlight DVD so each week the ADvantage will bring you what was left on the cutting room floor. This week we bring you those moments from the 'Cats 30-3 win vs The University of La Verne in 2010. You can watch the full game highlights here on

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

From Football to Softball, Coach Jackson Vaughan just keeps winning.

It’s spring time in Oregon which means three things on Linfield’s campus: Spring Football, Linfield baseball chasing down another NWC title, and Linfield Softball once again demolishing pitcher’s ERA and leaving in their wake teams in the NWC that think this could be their year. Linfield Defensive Coordinator Jackson Vaughn is not only one of the best D.C.’s in Divison III football but for the past 10 seasons he has transformed Linfield softball from a solid NWC program into a National Powerhouse.

In the past ten seasons Vaughan’s teams has amassed a glossy 317-83-1 record while ripping off 7 straight NWC titles, 3 Regional titles, finishing as National Runner Up at last year’s D3 College World Series, and winning it all in 2007 as the D3 National Champions. This season the ‘Cats are off to a great 8-1 start and currently ranked #1 in the country. Along the way Coach Vaughan has been named NWC coach of the year the past seven years and the west region coach of the year 5 different times. Dang Impressive for someone that was first exposed to the game in the late 90’s.

As you would imagine it could be a rather hectic transition from coordinating the Wildcat defense where he primarily works with the defensive line and then goes to coaching on the diamond but as Coach Vaughan expressed to Wildcat11 it’s not as hard as it would seem “The transition from coaching football and coordinating the defense in the fall to coaching softball in the spring is not as tough as some would think (aside from the lack of time off). Particularly with my work with the defensive line and then to our hitters in softball. Both aspects are very detail oriented where any little flaw can lead to a lack of success on a certain play/swing. With the defensive line we are constantly drilling first step, strike, hand placement, pad level, etc. and with hitting it is our load, timing of the swing, balance, angle of the hands/elbows/bat/core, extension, etc. They are unique to their individual sports but demand the same attention to detail.”

WC11 can testify to the amount of detail that Linfield football puts into the position work and as someone who was a terrible hitter in high school for my baseball team I can appreciate the fact that Coach Vaughan puts that much effort in the details with his softball’ers. But what about the difference between coaching big tough football players and women? WC11 is not trying to get all sexist here but I’m sure that is a question the people have for Coach Vaughan that maybe hesitant to ask him.

However, Coach Vaughan had zero issues in letting me know just what his thoughts are between coaching the two sexes “As for the transition from coaching men to coaching women there are certainly some differences but not as drastic as many think. Some people quickly come to the conclusion that the football guys must be tougher and work harder. In all of my experiences I have found this to be far from the truth. We have several players on our softball team who would work many of our football guys into the ground and last year one of my softball players broke her jaw, had it wired shut, sat out for a week, and then started the rest of season while losing 18 pounds because she could not hardly eat anything and there are football guys who will sit out with a sprain or jammed finger at times.

So in my mind is not about guys and girls – it is just about people. In both sports you are going to a variety of athletes: those are highly motivated and driven players, athletes with a lot of talent but average work ethic, and some of those “glue” players that may not play a lot or have big stats but bind the team together with their commitment and team first attitude. So I really don’t look at a player in either sport and see a man or a woman – I just see a person and then from there I really want to know is what kind of character do you have, what kind of work ethic do you have, what is your commitment to excellence, and can I trust you both on and off the field.”

Amen to that line of thought. I know just firsthand about the stereotype of dismissing a female athlete as not being as tough as their male counterparts. Mrs11 was tougher and outworked any athlete I knew while I was attending Linfield so I can appreciate what Coach Vaughan is saying.
In knowing Coach for a number of years I know that he loves coaching the ‘Cats defensive line and the preparation aspect of the game of football. Coach has a very bright mind and is perfect to head up the ‘Cats complicated defense. “I would say that the one thing that really stands out for me about football is the strategy part. Football has so many different variables involved that the strategy part of the game has always really appealed to me. Having to scout and analyze an opponent – find their strengths, weaknesses, and try and identify the thought processes of the offensive coordinator and QB - then coming up with a plan that will put your players in the best position to succeed within the structure of the scheme. Then starting this whole process over the next week is a mental challenge that I really enjoy and I don’t think you can really find in any other sport.

The other thing that I enjoy about football is specifically coaching the defensive line because of the technique and toughness required at the position. There are not a lot of sports where you are going to line up across from another man and physically attack each other every play for a whole game – but that is O-line vs. D-line in the game of football. It is a constant battle for 60 minutes and the winner of that match-up usually determines the game. The development of that mental toughness in my defensive lineman is something I enjoy as well as the general comrade, jokes, and film sessions with my guys.”

Comrade, hard work, and of course jokes; essentially building relationships and trust with his players. That is what Coach is doing on the gridiron and what stands out to him during the spring. “With softball the one thing that stands out is probably relationships. With only 20-24 players on the team, the slightly slower pace of the practice, and all of the road trips you really get a chance to know the athletes and their families pretty well during their four year career. 

Also, with a new daughter in my family we have been able to bring in three or four softball players to help baby-sit and this adds a whole new level of trust with some of my returning players. It is the relationships and the development that you get to see over a four year career that make softball special for me to coach. Then similar to defensive line play it is the one-on-one confrontation between pitcher and hitter that goes on during the game. This battle is on display for the entire crowd to see and there is no place to hide when you fail – it is on you. So helping players deal with with the strategy, psychology, and physical skills required to be succeed and overcome failure in this arena is also something that has always appealed to me.”

With Softball being such a different sport that football you would think you would have to tear down your coaching approach in order to be successful but Coach Vaughan has been able to draw parallels between the two sports that have helped him lead one of the best defenses in DIII and a force on the softball diamond. Best of luck to Coach Vaughan and his team in 2011. ‘Catdome!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The 'Cats Aaron Boehme: Quarterback, Musician, and now a Blogger

Former Linfield stand out football players and now graduates, Aaron Boehme and Paul Nishizaki, just landed in Germany yesterday as the Wildcat duo are the newest members of the Schwabisch Hall Unicorns of the German Football League.  UNICORNS!!!!!

Aaron Boehme is going to keep tabs of his time in Europe via a blog he just started called "Dude's Day in Deutschland".  Boehme will be blogging not only about football but mainly about his experiences in a different culture.  The ADvantage has added Boehme's blog to our "Catdome Connection" links on the sidebar to the right so be sure to either bookmark his blog or you can get to it via our links.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Linfield's Brett Elliott: Still Ballin'

Linfield Quarterback Coach and Two-Time 1st team All-American quarterback Brett Elliott put up astronomical numbers from in 2004 and 2005 but 6 years later Coach Elliott hasn't stopped dropping dimes or stepped away from prusuing his passing of playing football.

Coach Elliott is currently in Duluth, Georgia getting ready for the start of the 2011 Arena Football League season as the quarterback for Georgia Force.  The Force will open up against the Tulsa Talons this Saturday at home.  Last year, Elliott was the quarterback for the AFL's Utah Blaze where he put up 59 touchdown passes to 17 picks in 13 games.

We'll be keeping tabs on Coach Elliott  Though out the season and give you updates via's Twitter Feed and Facebook page (so I suggest you follow/like those *plug*).  The Force did a nice little player profile story on Coach Elliott and Wildcat11 will track down Coach later this AFL season to see how he's enjoying living in the South and how the season is progressing.

Here's a news story in 2005 from Linfield's 2nd round playoff win over Concordia where Coach Elliott gets busy.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Linfield Defensive Backs bust out some moves

Football is a serious and emotion filled game that is played with controlled recklessness and passion.....but that doesn't mean you can't have fun too. Linfield defensive backs Drew Fisher (#4), Kalae Parish (#33) and Eric Biege (#11) show off some of their wedding reception dance moves before the 'Cats rolled up Lewis & Clark this past season. WC11 has less moves that a swinging gate so colored me impressed.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Two Sport 'Cats are in high gear this spring.

Cole Bixenman has spent four years pulling double duty for the 'Cats.
Spring sports in the air which means two things...lots of winning by Linfield Wildcat teams and that a group of your Linfield football players are getting it done on the Diamond as well as the Track. A great aspect of small college athletics, and especially at a college like Linfield, is the opportunity to compete and play for a top level football program and excellent spring sport teams as well.

In today’s world you see more and more of young athletes choosing to “specialize” in a single sport and dedicate all of their time towards one craft but there are still a number of multiple sport athletes that are looking for that opportunity to compete in two sports in their post-high school careers. For many Linfield Wildcats in the past and present not only is that opportunity a reality but is fully supported by Linfield Football Head Coach Joe Smith and the spring sports staff.

When asked about his football players playing two sports Coach Smith more than willing to share his thoughts: “Being able to play multiple sports is one reason athletes that excel in more than one sport choose to come to Linfield. We have had a long tradition of guys doing football and baseball, as well as guys doing football and track. A few have even done both football and basketball. I enjoy watching our football guys compete in the spring in other sports. Having coached baseball here for Coach Carnahan was a great experience for me, one that I look fondly back upon. Linfield Baseball will always be special to me.”

In 2011 we have three ‘Catdom’ers on the Wildcat baseball team

#8 Gunnar Cederberg, Outfield (Senior, Tigard Or. - #8 Wide Receiver)

#10 Cole Bixenman, Catcher/Outfield (Senior, Federal Way, Wash. - #10 Quarterback)

#15 Eric Biege, Outfield (Junior, Sammamish, Wash. - #11 Rover)

On the Track & Field Roster we have 4 ‘Cats representing

Michael Chopp, Sprints (Junior, Gig Harbor, Wash. - #16 Wide Receiver)

Michael Madden, Hurdles/Decathlon (Frosh, Buckley, Wash. - #29 Wide Receiver)

Drew Wert, Throws (Soph, Grants Pass, Ore. - #60 Guard)

Bryan Takano, Jumps (Frosh, Canby, Ore. - #38 Running Back)

Track & Field Head Coach Travis Olsen is a former Punter for the ‘Cats, and he has two other former football players on his staff (Tramaine Payne and current football assistant coach Gabe Haberly).

Wildcat11 also needs to give a shout out to Linfield’s defensive coordinator Jackson Vaughan who is also Linfield’s Head Softball coach. Coach Vaughan has turned a competitive softball program into a juggernaut in Division III. Coach Vaughan’s and his ‘Cats have won 7 NWC titles in a row, won the 2007 National Title, and the 2011 ‘Cats are current #1 in the country at 8-0 and have outscored their opponents 104-12 on the young season. Yikes.

So if you make it out to the ‘Catdome this spring be on the lookout for the players and coaches who help lead the ‘Cats on the gridiron during the fall. Go ‘Cats!