Monday, October 27, 2014

‘Cats Win!!! Linfield lights a victory cigar in a 59-7 win over Lewis & Clark.

After the 1st quarter, the L&C Coaching staff didn't want to watch anymore.
Photo Courtesy of Brad Thompson: Purchase Brad's photos here.
The ‘Cats blew into Portland and rained down a massive early beating on the winless Lewis & Clark Pioneers to move to 6-0 overall and 4-0 in Northwest Conference play.  Linfield extends their winning streak over the Pios to 38 games as the class of 1973 is the last one from L&C that can brag about knocking off the ‘Cats.

Lewis and Clark wanted no part in standing back in the pocket as the Pios tried to pop some quick hitting dives, options, fly sweeps, and quick fades, but Linfield was having none of that in constantly forcing Pioneers punts (at least that’s what they looked like) and setting up short fields for the ‘Cats offense to race down before popping another TD. Mix in a defensive touchdown in with the quick scores and next thing you knew you saw a 42 posted up on the scoreboard and both sidelines looking for ways to shorten up the game.

(Not 100% accurate. Linfield beat GFU 59-0. My bad.)

For the ‘Cats, it wasn’t much of an exercise for the starting units but it was great that so many players on the roster that were able to get out on the field and pull down some extended reps.  That time is well earned and it’s always great to see young guys and reserve vets getting a chance to line up and hit someone.  One item that stood out for me is that the ‘Cats have developed a nice group of running backs this season. The depth and ability of the Linfield running backs was a big question mark coming into 2014 with only Tavon Willis back as a proven RB and Spencer Payne questionable with an injury. However, Samuel Robinson’s move from the slot has been seamless (Sam was an RB in high school), Bryan Cassil has turned in three consecutive quality performances, and once Spencer Payne is back healthy you have a big time home run hitter. Kudos to those four ‘Cats and the Linfield offensive line in creating a dynamic rushing attack for the Wildcats. We’re going to need you guys as this season moves forward.

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

The Good

Starting out strong: Well, I asked the ‘Cats to put L&C out in a hurry and 42 points in the 1st quarter is an effective way to that. That has to be some sort of program record but Linfield has dished out so much punishment over the years it would take some time to figure that out.

1st half defensive lock down:  The ‘Cats first couple of defensive units handled their business in forcing five 3 and outs in the Pioneers first 8 offensive possessions and only 72 yards of total offense in the 1st half.  L&C didn’t even cross the 50 yard line until sometime in the 3rd quarter against the young pups.

Bag of tricks: It’s pretty close to Halloween so the ‘Cats reached into their bag of goodies and ran some gadget plays to perfection. Loved the throwback on the punt return to combat L&C’s rugby punt style and it’s always a good time to see a QB catch a pass from one of his receivers.

Special Teams:  At the beginning of the year our kickoff team wasn’t too sharp but over the weeks this group has tightened it up and Saturday was another example of their improvement.  Linfield kicked off 10 times on Saturday and pinned L&C with average starting position on their own 22 yard line.
Dylan Lewis, #2, added to the early fireworks with his 24 yard pick six.
Photo Courtesy of Brad Thompson: Purchase Brad's photos here.

Pick Sixing: The Wildcats picked off their 10th pass on the year and returned two more interceptions for touchdowns to bring the year total up to 4 interceptions returned for touchdown.  That’s pretty good considering the ‘Cats didn’t force a turnover in their 1st two games of the year.

Penalties: 4 flags for 27 yards.  That’s an improvement and a solid effort considering how many different guys played for Linfield. Sometimes you’ll see an increase in penalties when you have a lot of new faces getting reps in those blowout games.  That has to continue to be a focus against more competitive programs.

The Bad

Hard to pick on something: I could riff on the fact that the play turned a little lethargic in the 2nd quarter after the ‘Cats posted up that 42. Some of that is only natural and also due to both sides of the ball looking to burn more clock, get more conservative play calling, and not firing off so many plays. I would have loved to see the young guys preserve the shutout in the 2nd half, but at the same time, I’m not going to get too upset. The last thing I want to do is turn into the fan that used to get ticked off at the Coaches for not scoring “fast enough” when the ‘Cats laid at 62-7 scrubbing on Puget Sound in 2005.

A photo posted by catdomealumni (@catdomealumni) on

(Sometimes you just gotta adjust, where you gotta adjust.)

The Ugly

765 in attendance: Out of that I would say about 715 of those folks where Linfield fans. Seriously, L&C is a program that has zero support….nada, zip, none. Yeah, the weather was bad, the team is bad, but you would think there was some sort of school spirit up on the hill.  Apparently not, and that’s too bad for those young people in black and orange. Brutal.

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