Monday, October 6, 2008

'Cats win...Defense delivers the salt!

cats beat menlo

Great Photo By: Brad Thompson, Ruined with Lame Graphics by WC11

A win is a win and I’ll take a win anytime over a loss. Hey, I’ll admit from an offensive perspective it wasn’t pretty but the Wildcat defense was breathtaking in the ‘Cats 9-0 shutout of the visiting Menlo Oaks. For the second week in a row the Wildcat defenders flexed their muscle in being the more physical and faster group in stuffing the Oaks to only 185 yards of total offense (40 net yards rushing).

The Good

-Linfield’s Salty Defense. 6 sacks, forced fumbles, deflected passes, tackles for losses, interceptions…the mean machine was running on full cylinders as Linfield had standout contributions by multiple players but it was a true group effort by the Wildcat Defense. Five All-Rights. (Special props to Taylor Summers for 4 sacks and abusing returning 1st team ALL-NWC tackle, Victor Brankovich).

-Offensive Line. The big fellas did a great job up front in giving another young QB plenty of time in the pocket and help the ‘Cats gain over 180 yards on the ground against a defense then knew the ‘Cats had to run the ball all game long. Good job big boys.

-Young Bucks. I love the senior leadership on this year’s team and the talent and play of the junior class of current Wildcats but I do want to point out the young bucks on the Wildcat roster that are making an immediate impact on this year’s team. Frosh Drew Fisher stated at safety on Saturday and led the team with 10 tackles (1.5 for loss), had a pass break up, and delivered a bone jarring hit, Freshman defensive end Sparky Gonzalez chipped in with two sacks and a forced fumble and is a only going to get better, Kole Krieger is getting snaps at defensive back in Linfield’s dime/nickel packages, then you have other frosh who are getting on the field in Buddy Saxon, Ash Gibson, Taylor Skore, Aaron Williams, Jake Bruno, Kalae Parish, etc. I could also list the dozen or so sophomores who are currently starting or getting heavy reps. It’s a fun thing to watch the older players in the program mesh and help direct the young ‘Cats as the season goes on.

-Scott Birkhofer. New school record for a 54-yard field goal. Knowing Scott, he’s probably ticked he missed one (bad snap) but we won the game and his leg was a big part of the reason why. Not to mention Birkhofer lowering the boom on kickoff team.

The Bad

-Points scored. The offense, I’m sure isn’t happy with only putting up 9 points on the day. With all the missed opportunities I’m sure they felt they left MANY points on the field . However, I’m not going to rag on the play of sophomore quarterback Cole Bixenman. He did get picked twice but they were both deep balls in the Oaks territory and he didn’t do anything to put the ‘Cats in danger to lose the game. It seems the staff asked him to manage the game and that’s what he did. However, if Bixenman is going to be our guy next weekend he knows that he’s going to have to be more efficient in order for Linfield to overcome Whitworth.

The Ugly

-Injury to Ian Estrada. Again, I don’t know if it’s just a ding or if it’s more serious but my heart broke when starting defensive end, Ian Estrada when down in the 2nd quarter. It wasn’t a matter of feeling terrible of losing an excellent player but more for the fact that Ian is just a GREAT young man. He’s all heart and well respected by his teammates and coaching staff. Players getting hurt are a part of football but it’s never fun or easy to see. I do hope it’s just a minor injury and that he’ll be back soon.

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