Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Cutting Room Floor: 2009 Linfield vs Pacific Lutheran

Not everything the cameras shoot can make it into the Linfield Wildcats Highlight DVD so instead of just having those clips waste away on Wildcat11's hard drives the ADvantage will be posting up some of these left over or extended clips every Wednesday till I run out of the extras.

This week we looked around our PLU Folder and pasted together some random shots of #5 Linfield's 66-42 victory over the Lutes.

First Wave of Incoming Cats is announced

Camas All-Region DB Josh Smith (#21) will be headed to Linfield as a LB in the fall.
(Photo courtesy of

Linfield Sports and the Football Program announced the first wave of the 2010 incoming class of new Linfield Wildcats. And at first review it's a pretty dang good list of new 'Cats. 28 new Wildcats have paid their deposits and have verbally committed to coming to the Division III powerhouse and this is just another fine effort by not only the coaching staff but by the whole program and college itself (admissions, financial aid, administrators, etc). I think we should be expecting the second wave of incoming 'Cats to be announced over the new few weeks, and I'm speculating here, but I think it will push the class to around to the 45 mark if not more.

Once the entire class has been announced ADvantage Catdome will run a weekly post that will feature video footage of all the recruits I can track down. We'll do this by position and lead it off with Linebackers. I may not be able to muster every DVD but Wildcat11 will try his best. So stay tuned for that segment starting within the next month.

Monday, April 26, 2010

'Cats hit the beach...Oregon Style.

Your Linfield Wildcats wrapped up their 2nd week of spring ball with some team time in the form of a trip out to the Oregon Coast. This is the 2nd year in a row the 'Cats have made the venture out to the Ocean and Linfield Senior-to-be Travis Tocher (OL) gave us the play-by-play on the trip and sent some photos along with fellow offensive lineman Hayden Mace (thanks fellas!)
Last season the team made a trip to the beach to get our minds off football for a day and give the body a rest. I'm thinking this trip has turned into a tradition that will happen every year moving forward. We traveled to Cape Kiwanda in Pacific City which is a pretty neat place because of a point the team can hike out to as well has this huge sand dune that we run up even though none us really wanted to.

We made it to the beach and a little over 50 guys showed up which was awesome. At first, we headed over to the base of the point where stood a rock wall that everyone attempted to climb up. Even the majority of the linemen did it. We saw this as a trust thing, in a way, because we had to push some guys up from the bottom and pull others from the top to make sure that they wouldn’t fall backwards. Unfortunately you had to get a little personal with some of the guy so that process was somewhat funny. We then hiked out to the point and just relaxed out there for a little bit and took a team picture with the guys. (see above)

Cape Kiwanda is a pretty amazing place to hike out to if any readers wants to take a beach trip for the day. It's funny to see the freshman guys from Hawaiian because I don’t think they realized a good day at the Oregon Coast is one that doesn’t rain no matter what the temperature is. Once we're done at the point we headed back and it was time to climb the dune. I'm not going to lie, the next day my calf muscles were a little sore. When you get to the top there's only one way Most of the skill guys run down as fast as they can but, being an offensive linemen, I don’t mind doing a light jog. Coach Smith even went flying down the mountain and he looked pretty young headed down the dune. One offensive lineman, Bob Nix, decided to embrace our log rolls and he just rolled down the entire mountain; that was definitely a sight to see.

When all the guys made it down we started headed back to our trucks that we had parked on the beach. However, we did have to get a few rides unstuck out of the sand. The first was a car which was pretty easy as all it needed was a good group of guys to push it on out. But the next vehicle was pretty funny to see in a jam because it was a truck. When I asked the owner if they had four-wheel drive they said they didn’t. Being from Southern Oregon you don’t buy trucks that don’t have four-wheel drive but regardless of the owner's oversight we still helped them out.

Now it was time for the food. The coaches started up the fire and busted out some hotdogs. It was interesting to see how some people cooked but in the end everyone had plenty of food to eat. As the food started kicking in and the Oregon Coast weather started getting to us a few us the seniors and juniors who have been working on the 2010 team motto decided to reveal it to the rest of the boys. You will be hearing more about that at another time. Finally, camp started to break, some stayed by the fire to warm up before they went skim boarding, others left, and a few of us just sat around the fire and just talked up Coach Smith, Haze and Rombach.

Overall, it was a great trip! it was a chance for the team to just hang out together without the stress of football. But we do have one week left of spring ball and I know for the seniors we have to make the best of it and go out with a bang because it is our last one.

Travis Tocher
Class of 2011

Friday, April 23, 2010

Linfield wraps up week 2 of spring ball

Your Linfield Wildcats just wrapped up their 2nd of 3 weeks of the 2010 Spring Football season and Wildcat11 likes what he's seeing. While there is not pads and full tempo live scrimmaging during spring ball at the division III level there is plenty of work that can be accomplished in terms of returning players starting to work together on getting on the same page and the coaching staff tweaking technique and schemes that will be used during the 2010 season.

So far there have been no major developments during camp. The 'Cats WR has to find that home run hitter to replace Trevor Patterson and the reliability of Gunner Cederberg but that vacuum is looking like is being filled by our hard working returning vets in Ryan Henderson, Chris Slezak, Buddy Saxon, and Deidre Wiersma. It also looks like some of the younger WR's are starting to come around nicely and I saw a couple of new faces that have some potential to develop.

The offensive line is losing some outstanding starters in Scott Millenbach, Kyle Otineru, Chris Buck, and tight end Russell Sells. However, the cupboard is far from bare as guard Jordan Barnes and offensive tackle Aaron Heston are returning along with Tight End Chris Saunders. There is a gaggle of other young and vets that are battling to fill those vacated starting spots and the reports WC11 is getting is there is some strong talent looking to make their mark.

I'm not too worried about the quarterbacking position for next season as Linfield returns Aaron Boehme behind center. The interesting battle is happening behind Aaron has a number of young arms are trying to move up the ranks. While backup QB, Cole Bixenmann, is tearing up the diamond for the 'Cats baseball team, a number of young arms in Micky Inns, Aaron Hire, Zach Cuaresma, and Ryan Cook (Andy Hunthausen is recovering from injury) have been taking reps in trying to establish themselves as the heir apparent to Boehme. I'll be keeping a close eye on the backup position headed into next fall.

Running backs...I don't even know if we should talk about this group as we're returning the entire group that saw time last year. They are going to be a fun group to watch.

Next week I'll give some quick thoughts on what's happening over on the defensive side of the ball.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Cutting Room Floor: 2005 Concordia Playoff Game

Welcome back to this week's ADvantage Catdome's Cutting Room Floor. We didn't have enough extra behind the scenes footage from the 2009 Puget Sound home game so Wildcat11 decided to back into the archives to bring you some stripped down moments from a FANTASTIC 28-14 home playoff win in 2005 over the Concordia Cobbers out of the MIAC.

The Cobbers really came out and surprised the 'Cats with a 14-7 halftime lead and then Linfield adjusted to shut down the Cobber offense in the 2nd half and the 'Cats offense did the rest. The clip above I think does a good job in capturing the great environment you get at the 'Catdome during these types of games. It brought me right back to that Saturday. We'll be back on schedule next Wednesday with the cutting room floor clips from the 2009 PLU game.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Player Blog: Aaron Williams "Being A Cat"

Linfield Sophomore Running Back Aaron Williams is one of many Wildcats to come up North from the great state of California. AWill hails from the City of Aptos that is just East from the Santa Cruz area in Northern California. Like the players from Hawaii coming to the Pacific Northwest and McMinnville can seem like another planet when you're from a great distance from your hometown but the players soon find out that where they are coming to is in fact a home away from home.

Aaron had a fantastic Sophomore campaign in being named a 1st team All-Northwest conference running back and led the 'Cats with 852 rushing yards and 10 TDs. In fact, 3 out of the 4 Linfield RB's that saw significant time this past season hail from California (Simon Lamson - Gridley, Kevin Abbott - Morgan Hill). It just goes to show that players coming from a great distance can thrive and contribute to the great tradition that is Linfield football.


If you asked me as a freshman in high school where I wanted to go to college Linfield College in McMinnville Oregon would not have been on my list. I had never heard of Linfield or been to Oregon. I always envisioned myself staying in California and hadn’t known of Linfield until senior year when I was getting serious about making a decision of where to go to school and play football.

I heard about Linfield from my JV football coach at Aptos, Tom Vinson, who played as an offensive lineman at Linfield from 1980 to 84 when we won two of our national championships. He convinced me to send up my game film and get a hold of the coaches. Coach Vinson and I went up to Menlo for the 2007 game to see what the team was like and to meet the coach I was talking to about playing linebacker, Phil Rombach. The game wasn’t much of a contest. I was impressed with the team so I decided to take the next step and visit the campus and meet some people who were in the same situation as me and some people who had gone through it already and have been in the program for a few years. I came for my visit on a Friday and stayed the night with Jaymin Jackson. What sold me on coming to Linfield was that visit. I really liked the look and feel of the campus, but it mostly was the people that I met while I was here that made me want to come. The coaches and players made me feel welcomed and wanted. I specifically remember meeting and hanging out with Hendy (Ryan Henderson). I had the same sort of trip planned to visit Willamette the next day, but decided after my Linfield visit that I didn’t need to see Willamette and that I was gonna be a Cat.

My first year as a Cat was challenging. I found out quickly that I needed to learn how to manage my time with school and football. Football was tough enough on its own. It was difficult to adjust to the defense that we run. I played for a few games on special teams and as Jaymin’s back-up at linebacker, but I was missing playing offense and running the ball so midway through the season I switched to running back.

I fought for a chance to get some touches and got to run the ball towards the end of the season. The offseason was challenging for me mentally. I had to get surgery on my hip from an injury that I got mid football season. It was the first significant injury I’ve had. I missed spring football and workouts and was on crutches all of spring term. I wasn’t sure if I was going to come back from the injury and be able to do the same things I once could but tried to stay optimistic.

I learned a lot about myself from the injury. I rehabbed for the rest of the spring and throughout summer with hope to play this past season. The rehab went well and I’m glad that I was able to be a part of the awesome season we had.

#30 Aaron Williams
Class of 2012

Monday, April 19, 2010

Linfield's Elliott is indoors dropping dimes if you need him.

Linfield's 2x 1st team All-American Quarterback and current Linfield quarterback coach, Brett Elliott is back indoors this spring playing for the re-activated Arena Football League's Utah Blaze (Salt Lake City).

The Blaze dropped a close game on Saturday night to the Alabama Vipers by a count of 63-54 to drop to 0-2 on the young season but not by no fault of Elliott. The Butcher has started off the season going 31-55 (56%) for 353 total yards, 6 TD's to only 1 pic.

You'll get a chance to watch Elliott and his Blaze on the NFL Network on Saturday, May 15th (5pm PST) as Utah visits the Milwaukee Iron. We'll keep tabs on Brett throughout his season but you can follow the Blaze here.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Linfield Spring Football Wraps up Week 1

Our Linfield Wildcats wrapped up the 1st of 3 weeks of their 2010 spring football season and the 'Cats couldn't have been out on a better spring evening in the Pacific Northwest. It was a picture perfect April evening has a large number of Wildcats were working on the fundamentals of their game that is the base of the Linfield program.

Wildcat11 was only out at practice for a little over an hour but I like what I was observing in regards to effort, enthusiasm, and I witnessed a number of older players coaching up and passing along their knowledge to the younger players in the program. Overall, it was a great team atmosphere.

Over the next two weeks, we'll try to pull some players off to the side for some short video interviews but I just pasted together a clip of practice above to give you a taste of Spring Football, Division III/Linfield style.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Have a question? Send it into the ADvantage Mailbag!

Don't Forget that if you have a questions for Wildcat11 and the I-Team (just made that up) send in your questions to the ADvantage Mailbag. Ask anything you want about Linfield football, the NWC, DIII football, or just about any thing that pops into you head.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Cutting Room Floor: Linfield at Willamette

Not everything the cameras shoot can make it into the Linfield Wildcats Highlight DVD so instead of just having those clips waste away on Wildcat11's hard drives the ADvantage will be posting up some of the extras every Wednesday till I run out of the extras.

This week we looked around our Willamette Folder and pasted together some random shots of #7 Linfield's 30-27 victory over the #17 Willamette Bearcats

Monday, April 12, 2010

Is Menlo staying, going, or gone?

So Menlo’s situation and current status continues to confuse Wildcat11. We’ve discussed on the Advantage before on what we think might happen with the NWC’s football only member in terms of their relationship with the conference and division III. For years, Menlo was an NCAA Division III independent before the NWC agreed to take them on as a football only member to the conference in 2005.

We all know the conference only wanted Menlo to bring up the total number of conference members to 7 and after a 2-year probation period the NWC gained an auto-bid for the NCAA playoffs. It wasn’t just the NWC using Menlo but the relationship was also beneficial for the Oaks as the NWC gave Menlo a conference to call home, and 6 teams that would be on the schedule year-in and year-out.

The relationship has been working out well for both sides but when Pacific announced that they would be bringing back football in 2010 speculation started to float around that Menlo might have started to look for somewhere else to call home. Obviously, with Pacific back in the fold that brings the NWC football membership to 7 and without Menlo the NWC would have an Auto-Bid. If an original member of a conference brings back a sport there is no 2-year wait period that only applies when a conference brings in a new outside member (i.e. Menlo)

I’ve heard various unconfirmed reasons what the NWC/Menlo relationship wasn’t meant to be with the biggest sticking point being the NWC Presidents not being too big on Menlo’s admission standards but the Presidents allowed Menlo in because of the auto-bid but with Pacific back and Fox coming back in 2013, could it be that makes Menlo expendable?

So instead of just waiting for the NWC to lower a potential boom I’ve been hearing various rumors about what Menlo might be going to do; from going back to a NCAA III independent to even make a jump to NCAA Division II. However, the one thing I didn’t think would happen appears to be the way the Oaks are headed.

Over this weekend NAIA Independent, Southern Oregon University, released their 2010 schedule an a press release. In the presser the Raiders are saying they are playing 5 other NAIA schools and that included Menlo.

“Southern Oregon, an NAIA Independent program, has struggled to field home games and NAIA games over the recent years and will play a large number of both of those in 2010, including all four home games when school is in session.

Southern Oregon will play NAIA programs Eastern Oregon, Simon Fraser, Menlo, Azusa Pacific and Northwestern Oklahoma.”

Now that was jaw dropping when I read that but SOU did list Simon Fraser on that list and the Canadian school just gained entry into NCAA Division II and not the NAIA. So if anything the press release just confused the heck out of Wildcat11.

Being the nosey fan that WC11 is I dropped the folks at SOU an email saying that last I heard Menlo was in the NWC and Division III. This was the reply that came back to me from SOU:

“info we have is that they are back to NAIA, but still have to play NWC schedule this year. Who knows with West Coast football anymore.”

Couldn’t have agreed more with that last part. So either SOU is just flat out wrong, partially wrong (Menlo could be headed towards the NAIA in 2011?), or they were nice enough to break Menlo’s division change news for the upcoming season for them.

But a move to the NAIA? I’m just stumped on why Menlo might go to the NAIA for football. Now, you have to remember that Menlo is duel-affiliated with the NAIA and NCAA with their athletic programs. Menlo has a long standing NAIA conference they are in but none of those members have football and in fact there is only one other NAIA football program in California (Azusa Pacific).

The only thing that I can speculate on is Menlo is betting or has been getting word that there is a possibility of other California NAIA schools looking into reviving their football program in hopes of creating a NAIA west coast conference. That sounds pretty farfetched but why else go to a division that’s even other a further islands than Division III?

At this point everything has just been he said/she said but that SOU press release throws a gas tank onto this camp fire and I’ll be curious is this forces Menlo’s hand to make an announcement on what their future plans for football will be.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Wildcat11 and Mrs.11 are going to be parents!

(The first photo of our little bean!)

I know that over the past three plus years on this blog that I’ll give occasional glimpses about Mrs11 and Widcat11’s life. I try to keep it somewhat vague and brief because you come here to read about our Linfield Wildcats and not about our personal lives, or what kind of coffee I like, or my theories on why “The Wire” is the greatest TV show ever made. However, Mrs11 and I have received news in our lives that is so incredible to us that I can’t keep this in and I have to share with my Catdome Family.

Mrs11 and I are going to be parents!!!!! To us…this feels like a Miracle. I know that any baby is a miracle but for us this feels ever so true. I’ll just share our whole story with you because we’ve traveled a long road filled with disappointments, adversity, sadness, and now incredible joy.

I’ll remember the moment clearly. Mrs11 and I were driving to the Oregon coast in the late summer of 2005. We’ve been married since August of 2002 and felt like we’ve done a decent job of getting our feet on the ground and on that drive we came to the decision to try to expand our family. It was so exciting and nerve-racking to know that within the next few months we’ll have started our journey towards parenthood. But months passed and nothing was happening. At that point we were disappointed but we knew that with some couples it might just take a little time for it to happen. The months tuned into a year and then a year turned into two years with no success. At that point we made the decision to go to OHSU and start working with their excellent fertility clinic. The people at OHSU women’s health were so incredibly helpful and knowledgeable but not matter what we tired the pregnancies just were not taking.

When you’re working with such a good group of doctors the hope you feel is incredible. You say to yourself “these are the best people to help us and I know they will get us to our goal” so when it doesn’t happen after numerous and expensive treatments it just levels you to the ground.

At this time Mrs11 and myself were just turning 30 and so many of our friends were having babies, throwing baby showers, birthday parties, etc and every time you go to one of these parties you experience such a wide range of emotion. You love your friends and their young ones so much but at the same time it’s such a painful reminder that this is something to you that seems unattainable. Then you have the friends of your friends that don’t know you very well and they ask the innocent questions of “Do you have any kids?” or “Which one of these are yours?” I was never mad when someone asked that questions but it always felt awkward and sad. All of these moments are so draining and frustrating when you just feel like “this is never going to happen for us”.

Another major piece of this puzzle is what most people that knows Mrs.11 but don’t really know is what she has had to battle for years and I’m just going to talk about. Mrs.11 has battled some very difficult health issues that first appeared during her senior year of high school that could have ended her life if not treated. Mrs11 found out that she suffers from a rare blood disease called Acute Porphyria which causes the body to overproduce porphyrins in her blood. There is no cure for Porphyria and it manifests itself on occasion with what is called a “Porphyria attack”. For Mrs.11 it causes her skin to feel ice cold and causes incredibly painful abdominal pain. I’m not just talking about a little ache but like the feeling of a knife in your belly for hours upon hours and pain if I even touch her skin. There is nothing I can write to describe the desperation you feel when the person you love is in such agony and all you can do is just talk to them and help them ride out the pain. However, that’s just the short of it. The Porphyria is just a symptom of a bigger issue in that Mrs11 has in a life threatening disease called Autoimmune Hepatitis. This is a disease that causes inflammation of one’s liver and if untreated it will cause scarring of the liver and eventually liver failure. The problem is you have to manage this with a horrible but life saving drug called prednisone. While prednisone keeps the inflammation in check it pretty much deteriorates your immune system and has a gaggle of other bad side effects but it keeps your liver from dying which is good (needless to say).

So pretty much Mrs11 is the toughest and strongest person I’ve ever met in my whole life. She’s never let these horrible issues stop her from being a hardworking professional or an awesome wife but these issues where compounding the fact that we were three + years into the struggle of getting pregnant. The stress and frustration she was feeling just made the Porphyria that much worse. Everything just seemed out of control to the point that we had to make a change.

At this point it’s late 2009 and we had some very hard conversations about maybe it’s just not meant to be for us. Maybe we’re just supposed to be the cool Aunt and Uncle and awesome Dog Parents (we do love our Mack and Maddy). So we stopped “trying” in the sense of fertility, tracking temperatures, etc, and we just started trying to let go of the thought that we were going to be parents. It was time to get healthy both physically and mentally and just enjoy life. We looked at our lives and were thankful that we had each other; both have solid careers, supportive friends, and have made a good life together. It was time for us to move on.

Then about two weeks ago, Mrs11 was ill. She was feeling flu-like, she couldn’t really eat much, and some foods really were grossing her out (the smell of coffee). Finally I asked the questions of “should we get a pregnancy test?” Now for those that have struggled to get pregnant there is nothing worse than getting crushed by a negative test. It’s happen a number of times to us so it was a hard question to ask. But Mrs11 thought it would be good to cross pregnancy off the list of why she may feel so off so I hit a Walgreens and picked up a test.

Made it home and Mrs11 went into the bathroom to do her thing and I just stood in the kitchen preparing myself for the disappointment and pain of another negative when I hear Mrs.11 screaming from the bathroom. Now these where screams of joy and it just froze me up. “This can’t really be happening?” I raced down the hall and Mrs11 came out of the bathroom with tears of joy pouring down as she holds up the positive test. I was just stunned and my immediate thought was, “TAKE THE OTHER TEST”. She did and it came back “pregnant”. This had to be a mistake because we’ve been trying for 5 years that this couldn’t really be happening. So the next day Mrs.11 took a blood test and bam…baby on the way. Just incredible but I’ve built us such armor that it really didn’t feel real to me yet and I was still guarded. Well that was until we visited the doctor this past Friday.

After our initial Q&A with the registered Nurse we went up for an ultrasound. This is the moment that that armor broke and it all of that uncertainty fell away for good. With the television feed of the ultrasound turned on and while holding Mrs.11’s hand we were able to see our baby for the first time. It was so incredible and next thing I see is our little bean wiggling. It had to be the most inspirational thing I’ve ever seen in my life and I knew we were going to be OK. We found out that we’re actually at 10 weeks and now about 11 weeks along and everything seems to be going really well.

I know there is always some hesitation in sharing this information publicly because of issues that could come up, but at 11 weeks we just feel like this is meant to be and we’re just going to leave the negative thoughts to the side. We want to share this story with you because we know that we are not the only couple that have had this struggle or are having it right now. We feel so fortunate and blessed to have Baby14 in our lives (Mrs.11 wore 44 for the ‘Cats during her Basketball days so we’ll combine the 11 and 44). We still have a huge part of this journey in front of us but we’re excited to jump in with both feet and head forward.

I just want to thank everyone in our lives that have been so supportive of us during these times and know we’ll try to honor that by just doing the best we can to be supportive and loving parents. Thank you Catdome Family for allowing me to share this news and I hope you’ll excuse me for being a proud papa. Go ‘Cats and Go Baby14!