Monday, October 3, 2016

‘Cats Win!!! Linfield rolls over the Pioneers in a 59-7 homecoming victory.

#21 Bryan Cassill rushed for 109 in one half of action this past Saturday.
Photo Courtesy from Brad Thompson: View Brad's Photos here.
What can you say? A 52 point victory, out-gained the opposition by over 500 yards, and a lot of ‘Cats getting to see extensive action is a great way to celebrate homecoming as Linfield once again laid a beating on Lewis & Clark. There was no question that Linfield was going to be the victor headed into this weekend but it was a matter of how Linfield performed. Would it be a sluggish start like last season when it took Linfield four offensive possessions to get in the end zone vs L&C or would the ‘Cats come out like a possible title contender and put the game to bed early? Linfield’s answer was the latter as the ‘Cats wiped out any chance the Pios might have had with an explosive offensive attack and swarming defense. Linfield’s offense racked up 42 first half points and had two additional spectacular TD’s that were negated due to a penalty and a drop.

Where the ‘Cats perfect? Nope. I thought while the ‘Cats defense played a very strong football game, I did feel that the ‘Cats let L&C gash them a few times in the run game, had a punt blocked due to a bad snap, and had an awful fumble sequence in that 1st quarter.  Linfield did win by 52 points so that’s being pretty knit picky but this is a team that wants to make a run to Salem, VA. so I think it’s fair to pick at some of the fray of what was a strong Linfield performance.

Next up for the Wildcats is a tough road trip to Forest Grove this weekend as the ‘Cats will battle the Pacific Boxers in what is an another critical contest for Linfield. Don’t let Pacific’s record fool you. This is a solid football team that has the players and scheme that could push Linfield to the edge if the ‘Cats don’t come out with their “A” game.

Linfield has made two trips to Forest Grove since Pacific rebooted their program and Linfield is still looking to log a full 60 minutes of top level Linfield football.  In 2011 the ‘Cats played a very sloppy 1st half before putting the hammer down on the second year Boxers and we all know that the ‘Cats came pretty darn close to dropping that 2013 contest to the Boxers.  The 2016 edition has some early trappings of what could be a sloppy Linfield team if the ‘Cats are not focused on the task at hand. The ‘Cats do not have that luxury of dropping another game and expect to reach the lofty aspirations of 2016.  It’s another “all hands on deck” week for the ‘Cats

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly 

The Good

Great Mindset: Really enjoyed the mindset of the team before the game.  It was a long two weeks for them and instead of focusing on trying to take out their frustrations on a lesser opponent, the ‘Cats were all about being sharp and trying to play the best ball they could as a unit.  The locker room felt right before this game.

Balanced Offensive Attack: 717 total offensive yards (4th most in program history), 334 yards rushing, 383 yards passing.  That is a great day in the office for the Linfield Wildcat offense and when teams have to respect the Linfield rushing attack this offense becomes lethal.

The Wildcat Defense dropped the hammer on the Pios this past Saturday in the 'Catdome.
Photo Courtesy of Brad Thompson: View Brad's Photos Here.
3rd Down Defense: The Wildcat defense only allowed the Pioneer offense to convert on 3 of 14 attempts and was critical in getting the Pios off the field so the Wildcat offense could get back on it and build that huge first half lead.

Passing Attack: Sam Riddle and the Wildcat receivers put on a clinic in that 1st half of action as Riddle blistered the Pios to the tune of 14 of 16 for 272 yards and 6 touchdowns.  That’s almost 20 yards per completion for Riddle and his fleet of crafty receivers. In total, the ‘Cats tossed 7 touchdowns on the day.

DB lockdown: The Linfield secondary was nearly prefect against L&C as the defensive backfield only allowed 48 passing yards all day and picked off two L&C passes.  That was pretty impressive with both starting corners, Kennedy Johnson and Dylan Lewis, both on the bench nursing injuries.

The roster getting after it: It was fantastic to see Linfield be able to go deeper into the roster and so many ‘Cats get to see extended minutes against the Pioneers.  Guys that jumped out at me where Blake Burnett, Andrew Laney, Marquis Perrilliat, Tyler Torgerson, Kaleo Yanai, Clark Hazlett, and Duke Mackle.

The Linfield faithful stuck it out (at least for a half) in soaking conditions.
The Bad

Blocked Punt: I thought Linfield’s special teams had a very good day in the office.  Good on PAT’s and Field Goals, good coverage, couldn’t get the punt return game going due to L&C’s punting style, but I hated seeing that punt get blocked due to a bad snap.  Second game in a row with a costly snap in the punt game and Linfield has to get that ironed out or it’s going to cost the ‘Cats in a big one down the road.

The Ugly

Nothing comes to mind.  Yeah, it would have been great for homecoming if it was 72 degrees but I didn’t really mind the off and on downpours but it was a sharp performance for Linfield.  Yeah, it was only Lewis & Clark but I was happy to see the ‘Cats come out sharp and left no doubt early on.  Big one next weekend!

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