Tuesday, January 27, 2009

3 Legged Failure

I’m still not sure how this happened but Linfield offensive tackle, Ian Ballantyne and 2008 NWC 400 meter champion Mat Strum got absolutely destroyed in a 3 legged race by three teams of ladies that were pulled out of the stands during halftime of a Linfield women’s hoops game earlier this season. Ian was obviously upset by the domination so don’t be surprised if you see him during spring ball tethered to a wide receiver practice the “3 legged cone turn” in hopes of redeeming himself next hoops season.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Player Blog: Cole Franklin "Looking back on 2008"

Ask Linfield fans about soph. Quarterback Cole Franklin and the response back are ‘Cat fans raving about his ability to make plays with his both his arm and his legs. Cole was injected as the starting quarterback for the ‘Cats after junior starter Aaron Boehme went down in the first game of the year vs Hardin Simmons with a broken collar bone. Even if Boehme was to stay healthy, Franklin was still going to play a big role in the Wildcat offense this past season due to his game breaking ability.

What most Linfield fans didn’t know is that they were watching a quarterback, in Franklin, that was severely hampered most of 2009 with a bad ankle injury that limited Cole’s legs and ability to scramble. You may not believe that after watching him pick up huge chunks of yards and scrambling for TDs this season but yes…he wasn’t nearly 100% in 2008.
Looking back on this years season, yes the end result was not what we all hoped for but, from my point of view we gained experience, and because of this as a team we developed tremendous depth. This quality will help us in the upcoming 2009 season. I too have saw consistant game time as a sophmore, and in turn I believe I have matured as a person and a player. Taking over the starting job as Quaterback for the Linfield Wilcats after Aaron Bohme's shoulder injury against Hardin Simmons was an eye opener for sure. However, at the same time I was excited to take up this new challenge and opportunity. My teammates, offense and defense were more than encouraging in making sure I knew they believed in my abilities to lead the team and I love them for that. In my first collegiate start against Southern Oregon University, my left ankle was crushed resulting in a third degree high ankle sprain. Even though I was able to endure through the rest of the game, It would cause serious upheavel in my performance to come. It was only until our last game against PLU was my ankle coming around. This was and still is very difficult for me to deal with mentally.

Making weekly trips to Vancouver for electrical treatment, I was able to limp through the rest of the season only starting in six games. Following my ankle injury I incured a contusion on my right forearm against Willamete. This would haunt me the rest of the season inhibiting my throwing motion. Overall my injury record was unfortunate, preventing me from going 100 percent. However, I was not the only one who was prone to injuries throughout the season. An accumulation of injuries on both sides of the ball denied us the opportunity to play at our fullest potential. The only benefit one can garner from this is we were given the opportunity to develope depth within the team which may not have been possible had our season been injury free myself included. I matured alot this year and by the end of the season I was making much better on the field decisions. I will come into the 09 season smarter, faster and stronger, ready to lead the Wildcats to a National Title.

-Cole Franklin
Class of 2011

*Photos are courtsey of Linfield S.I.D. Kelly Bird

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Worst. Break. Ever.

Believe it or not leading the break can sometimes lead to an uncomfortable moment. The player that "breaks us down" sometimes just has a brain-fart and picks some odd ball slogan or screws up the cadence of the break. Something that seems so simple can sometimes be so hard.

Linfield Senior Dean Kongslie had an epic flub breaking down the defensive group right before the last game of the year vs PLU. Dean's was a three-part’er with the "play" gaff and then changes the slogan mid-sentence and then hits the group with a surprise cadence. Dean recovered quickly but too bad for him the camera was rolling and captured this fantastically bad break.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Player Blog: Drew Fisher "From a recruit to a Wildcat"

Freshman Safety Drew Fisher is our latest player blogger for Catdomealumni.com. Just one year ago Drew was a Senior at Gresham's Centennial High School and trying to figure out where he wanted to go and continue to play football. Drew's decision has turned out to be great for himself and for Linfield. This past season Drew was name Linfield's Rookie of the year. Drew was nice enough to share his experience of being a high school senior and trying to decide just where he wanted to make his mark.
Choosing where to go to school isn’t the easiest thing to do. There were a lot of different voices all hitting me at one time it seemed and it really made things confusing. I didn’t stress it too much though because I knew it would all fall in place sooner or later.

Deciding on a college fell down the list on my priorities because of my senior year of school, sports, and of course good old video games. However recruiters from schools from all around continued to drop in every week which was a constant wake up call to me to start narrowing down my college choices. Schools like Southern Cal and the Florida Gators were pretty impressed I must say, but they had nothing on what is now 53 consecutive winning seasons here at Linfield so it was an easy decision. But really, schools such as Willamette, Whitworth, Puget Sound, and Western Oregon were the schools that had been talking to me the most to come play some ball for them.

Leading up to my decision on choosing Linfield some key connections played an important influence. First and foremost there are three coaches back home in Gresham at Centennial high that are some of the greatest people I have ever known that went to none other than Linfield. Of course, I always had to listen to all of their stories about the glory days at the Catdome but it always made for a good laugh so it wasn’t that bad.

I had the great opportunity to spend the first week of my summer vacation every year at Linfield for the Wildcat team football camp where I not only received an early taste of hitting some opposing players, but it was nice to get a good look at a college campus and talk to some coaches about playing football. I talked to former players, Coach Smith, and this guy who thinks he’s pretty big time that goes by Coach Fendall. I talked to Coach Fendall in person at camp a few times about coming here to play for the ‘Cats, but Coach’s real game is his cell phone. Once you’re a recruit here they really know how to reel you in. I remember Coach calling me many times and listening to lots of voice mails basically telling me good night and sweet dreams. I got calls at lunch, during practice, heck I even talked to Coach Smith while he was skiing down the mountain with his kids. It just goes to show you how dedicated and determined these guys are out here to get what they want in order to bring the ‘Cats back to Salem Virginia and reclaim that title.

After all the recruiting and a lot of thought I came to the conclusion to give Linfield a go and experience what exactly it feels like to be a Wildcat.

This first year being a part of the Catdome has been a time to remember for sure. From the grinding practices and daily doubles to finding out I’m going to Texas an hour before the bus left for PDX, there has been quite the number of memories already. Making friends with the flying Hawaiians and playing next to some future Catdome greats has been a sweet deal. It’s been a wild trip getting to play on Saturdays with guys that love to play the game and have fun as much as I do and it’s only going to get better as the years go on. The ’09 season is more than promising for the ‘Cats and it can’t come soon enough.

-Drew Fisher
Class of 2012

(photo courtsey of Linfield SID Kelly Bird)

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Player Blog: Bryce Comfort "Jan-Term Happenings"

Greetings to the ‘Catdome family. We’re going to be kicking off the player blog series again now that 2008 has been put the rest. I asked sophomore defensive back, Bryce Comfort, to kick off 2009 with a blog entry about what he’s been up to during January Term. For those of you that don’t know Linfield operates on a 4-1-4 schedule. That means the fall semester is four months long and the spring semester is four months long and sandwich in-between is January term. This is a one-month long optional term where students may go abroad to study or stay on campus to take a couple of intensive classes during the month. I loved Jan term when I was a student and it sounds like Bryce is having a good time too.

What’s up Catdomealumni.com! I hope you all had a great New Years and have started ’09 out with a bang like the ‘Cats have! I’m currently sitting in my room on a lovely Sunday afternoon, writing out a little blog for you guys to see what’s going on in the life and times of a Wildcat during Jan-Term.

Right now I’m trying to juggle the heavy load of my one class that meets three days a week, training for next season, and spending some quality time with my friends. I must say it’s a rough life, but someone’s gotta do it. In all seriousness this blog is probably the most writing I have had to do since we started school back up (sorry pops if you’re reading this). But even when there is not a lot going on, hanging out at the Catdome with all the guys who are around is a great time to start to mesh together as a team. This weekend we had another one of our top recruit visits, and there were a lot of quality guys who came to see what we were all about. I got to host a kid who I went to high school with during my glory days in the beautiful Tacoma, WA. Hopefully we can continue to get more western Washington guys, seeing as that’s where the best athletes tend to come from. Just kidding all you Oregon boys I love you too! We’ve only been back for a week now but I’m having a blast with all the guys on the team. The other night I taught Jaymin Jackson (Jr. Linebacker) how to play the drums on rock band like a champ, but my performance was overshadowed by the dazzling vocals of Gunnar Cederberg (Jr. WR). He can really hit those high notes!

Winter workouts are going well and it has been great to see a lot of the guys get going on training for next fall. I can attest to the fact that the report date in August creeps up on you much faster than you think, and it is vital as an athlete to begin preparing now. Last spring we really got after it and the senior class did a great job of setting the bar for future teams. I expect even more improvement from last year as we all know what we are capable of and that we can push it much further. We are actually a step ahead this winter and all the credit goes to the amazing Coach Neil Fendall aka “the Weight Room Warrior” aka “the Prince of Plyometrics.” But seriously, Coach Fendall has helped to reshape our training philosophy and has instilled an attitude within the players that has already translated to our performance on Saturdays. This spring will be another chance to put some work in and see where it takes us in the fall!

Like I said before, I hope you all have had a wonderful start to 2009, and I can’t wait to see everyone at the Catdome next fall! We all have extremely high expectations for 2009 and it will be exciting to see them begin to unfold as the year goes on. Take care and God bless.

-Bryce Comfort
Class of 2011
(Photo courtesy of Kelly Bird, Linfield SID)

Monday, January 12, 2009

SOU Football is on FIRE (well at least their bus is)

Just came across this gem on YouTube. Now I'm not sure when this happened during this season but the Southern Oregon Raiders where on the road to play somebody and one of their charter buses caught fire. Now this is a dangerous situation and I don't want to rip on any institution of higher learning but why would YOU RUN TOWARDS A BURNING VEHICLE LET ALONE A BUS!? I understand they were trying to get their equipment out of harm’s way but forget that. I’m ok with my shoulder pads going up in flames rather than having a bus blow up in my face. Call me crazy.

(Warning: A few curse words are uttered in this clip so skip this one if you're easily offended by a few “S” words)

***edit note: This actually happened in 2007 when SOU was headed up to play Willamette (thanks LoonyLarry from the O-live board)

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Linfield Football Holiday Family Adoption program was a great success!

I wanted to make sure I let the Linfield family know about how their Catdomealumni.com T-Shirt money was put to work this holiday season and Senior Defensive Lineman Joe Seifert, took the time to provide a great account of how the money was put together and just how big of an impact this program had on local McMinnville Families.

This is really a tremendous deal that is put on by the football program and I'm so very proud of this senior group and their efforts on and off the field! Go 'Cats!
From Linfield Senior Defensive Lineman Joe Seifert

This year Linfield Football’s holiday family adoption program expanded from our normal Thanksgiving Feed to this year’s special Christmas edition. We decided not to do our traditional Thanksgiving feed because of the way the academic schedule worked out this fall. Students were not on campus or around town during Thanksgiving because we had the entire week off this year instead of just a few days. We also decided we needed to do a Christmas program that could involve not only large amounts of food but Christmas gifts as well.

This year we were fortunate enough to come up with a few thousand dollars to spend instead of our traditional few hundred. I will explain how that worked out… Last summer I was an intern at Delap LLP (an accounting firm) in Lake Oswego, Oregon. 2008 happened to be the firm’s 75th anniversary and it was decided that it would be more beneficial to donate time and treasure to local communities instead of holding one big event for firm staff and clients to celebrate. Beginning in July of 2008, Delap had a monthly community service event scheduled to donate their time and treasure to in the Portland Metro area. Back in June I saw a list of the events and I noticed that December was designated as “the people’s choice event.” Immediately I thought of what the CATS had done for families at Thanksgiving in years past and knew that we could expand to a much larger Christmas event if given the opportunity. I did some calling around during the summer and knew finding families would not be a problem come the holidays, so I put a plan together and submitted it for review by the partners. I thought my suggestion had a good chance of being selected because Dave DeLap, the firms managing partner, is a 1980 graduate of Linfield College, and two more of Delap’s partners had grown up in McMinnville. I knew that they all could connect with the idea and then it would just be up to them to decide if it was something they wanted to do. In September, I received a phone call saying that funding had been approved for Linfield’s Holiday family adoption program.

Thanks to Delap LLP for that sponsorship as it got the ball rolling and somewhat determined how many families we would be able to sponsor and if we were in fact going to be able to do gifts. With a sizeable donation already in place, we took what we had across the street to Roth’s and asked their manager to stretch our funds. The manager remembered our program from years past and without much discussion threw in an additional few hundred dollars in groceries. Additional finding came from the Linfield Football players themselves. Every year we ask team members to throw in a dollar or two if they can. Traditionally this is our primary source of funding and with such a large team, it makes raising a few hundred dollars very easy. To top it off and add to our abnormally large total this year, THANKS TO ALL OF YOU who purchased catdomealumni shirts, an additional $1,000 was raised for this cause as well! We appreciate your support and also want to say thanks to Wildcat11 for his time creating and selling those shirts.

Having well over $4,000 to work with, we were able to adopt 9 families that range in size from two to eight people in the McMinnville area. For each of these families, we wanted to provide them with a turkey and plenty of food for a holiday meal as well as additional groceries to get them through the holidays. In addition to groceries we felt it would be nice to give each family member 2 gifts. With so much support all around us, this was actually made very easy.

The shopping started on Sunday, December 7th. A group of us seniors, and Coach Kemper, went to Target in Sherwood to shop for all of the gifts we wanted to purchase for the families. In about 2 hours we piled 5 shopping carts full of gifts and spent nearly $1,500!

On Wednesday, December 10th, Linfield players teamed up with Delap employees (including former wildcat Ryan Boatsman) to shop for food and wrap all of the gifts that had been purchased. Half of the group went food shopping while the other half remained on campus and wrapped all of the gifts. Food shopping took place across the street at Roth’s. Each shopping team was given a budget for food of a few hundred dollars. Surprisingly at the register, teams were within just a few dollars of where they were supposed to be! Even more impressive, the entire food bill rang up within $1.52 of our budgeted amount of over $2,000!!! Thanks again to Roth’s for helping stretch our money and really stock these families up. Along with the food we purchased, Roth’s also had gift cards made for each family so that perishable foods could be purchased on a return trip to the store.

Once the food was purchased it was taken back to campus for sorting by family. Upon arrival to campus, players found that 10 pizzas had been delivered for lunch courtesy of Delap, again! After lunch, the food sorting and boxing had been completed as well as all of the wrapping. Then all of the goods were loaded up and ready for delivery. In all, there were over 75 man hours used to complete the wrapping as well as food shopping and sorting that morning. Around 1:00 PM the Delap team headed back to the office.

Wednesday evening, 10 of us went to deliver food and gifts to the families around town. We were able to meet the families 1 by 1, explain our project, and then tell them that we had something for them. We then stepped aside and showed them the 4-5 large boxes of food and the huge box of gifts that would be given to them. By their reactions, most of these families were not expecting anything at all. If they were expecting something, I think they expected just 1 box of food. It was easy to tell that the mothers of the families were the most touched and the words “thank you” were a struggle for most to say. The kids had huge similes on their faces and began to dig through the boxes. The Although none of the presents were opened while we were there, we all know the kids just could not wait to tear them open. For some, we were certain those gifts may very well be all they receive over the holidays. We couldn’t have done this without all of our supporters! Thanks to everyone both on and off the field!

-Your 2008 Senior Class.