/seasons/2019/contrib/20191116ic7jcr

Linfield holds off feisty George Fox 24-17

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McMINNVILLE, Ore. – Linfield defensive end Tony Kraus sacked George Fox quarterbacks three times and Wyatt Smith passed for 376 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Linfield Wildcats to a 24-10 Northwest Conference victory over the George Fox Bruins in the regular-season finale for both squads.
 
Linfield (8-1, 7-0 NWC), the NWC champion, enters next week's NCAA Division III playoffs riding a seven-game win streak. The Wildcats will learn their first round opponent and destination Sunday when the NCAA announces the full 32-team playoff field at 2:30 PDT on ncaa.com.
 
George Fox (5-5, 4-3 NWC) saw its three-game win streak halted, dropping out of four-way tie for second place in the NWC.
 
Smith completed 38 of 46 passes for 376 yards, extending his streak of 300-yard passing games to seven in a row. Keegan Weiss caught 14 of Smith's passes, one short of the Linfield single-game record.
 
Artie Johnson ran for a career-high 117 yards and scored one TD. Colton Smith caught eight passes for 86 yards and one TD.
 
Fueled by Kraus' dominant play that held the Bruins to 263 total yards, the Linfield defense piled a season-high six sacks for 40 yards in losses. Kraus was credited with a team-high seven tackles while Tyler Good had six stops. Malik Campbell, starting at monsterback in place of Tyler Bergeron, came away with five tackles plus a first-half interception.
 
Linfield broke the ice at the 4:23 mark of the first quarter as Johnson plowed into the end zone from the GFU 1-yard line. The touchdown was set up by a 47-yard bomb from Wyatt Smith to Colton Smith that spotted the ball at the Bruins' 4.
 
The Wildcats made it 10-0 with just under seven minutes left in the first half on a 34-yard field goal by Andrew Starkel.
 
The Bruins answered with a 47-yard halfback pass to Evan Nelson that spotted the ball at the Linfield 10. That led to a 22-yard field goal by Ethan Hoffman with 4:27 on the clock, trimming Linfield's advantage to 10-3.
 
Weiss put Linfield back in front by two scores with a winding 31-yard TD catch from Smith with 1:31 left in the half. George Fox responded with a touchdown of its own to close the half as Kenny May hauled in a 31-yad strike from Jaden Sheffey with 11 seconds remaining.
 
Linfield owned a 258-161 advantage in yardage at the intermission. Smith completed 19 of 25 throws during the first 30 minutes, seven into the hands of Weiss.
 
A blocked punt by Caleb Dazell was recovered at the Linfield 25 by Skylar Rayburn. But a 38-yard field goal attempt by Hoffman sailed wide right, keeping the score at 17-10.
 
Linfield had the chance to make it a two-score game again when Starkel lined up for a 38-yard field goal with 11:26 remaining in the fourth quarter but the kick was off the mark.
 
The next Bruins drive produced little, and after a short, punt, the Wildcats marched six plays to the end zone to go in front 24-10. The Smith brothers hooked up for a 3-yard scoring play with 7:31 to play, putting George Fox on its heels.
 
The Bruins managed to make the game interesting in the final minute. Haiden Schann burst into the end zone from the Linfield 2. Hoffman's extra point snipped the margin to seven points, 24-17.
 
The Bruins attempted an onside kick in hopes of getting one last possession, but Jacob Calo recovered the ball at the Linfield 49.
 
Piete piled up a game-high 12 tackles, including seven solo stops.
 
Bruins quarterbacks Schaan and Sheffey combined to complete 14 fo 23 throws for 163 yards. McMinnville native Justin Trimble II caught six passes for 51 yards against his hometown team.
 
'CAT SCRATCH
Saturday's announced attendance was 2,078. . . George Fox went 1 for 13 on third-down plays while Linfield was 3 for 15. . . Johnson totaled a game-best 148 all-purpose yards, including 31 receiving yards on five catches. . . George Fox was limited to 25 yards rushing, a season-low by a Linfield opponent.

Sep. 25: All times Eastern
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