|Below are the top ten moments of Wildcat football from 1995-2005. These
moments are a collection of game/season changing plays or moments that either
had a huge impact on a season or the Wildcat overall program. A panel of former
Linfield players, staff members, and fans voted on these great Linfield moments.
Riding the most prolific offense ever assmbled in Linfield history, the 'Cats (12-0) rolled during the
2004 season and into the DIII championship game vs running machine, The University of Mary
Hardin-Baylor (13-1). However, both defenses would slow down the scoreboard and the game came down to
a timely punt block, a one handed catch on a swing pass, and a National Title Clinching sack to help delivere
Linfield's first NCAA III title (4th overall championship) with a 28-21 victory
In a classic battle at Maxwell field, Linfield (4-0) would need to drive the length of the field with 5:00
minutes remaining to overcome a 19-14 Willamette (4-1) lead and puch the 'Cats that much closer to owning
College Football's consecutive winning streak at 43 years. With under one minute to play Linfield QB Brian
Higgins would find WR Nick Forsey from 3 yards out for the game clinching TD.
In an eruption of celebration, Linfield fans tore down the South End Zone goal post to mark the record
breaking moment as Linfield would move pst Notre Dame and Harvard as the owner of the longest
consecutive winning season streak in college football history.
With Linfield's winning streak at 40 years, the 'Cats stood at 3-4 with two games remaining as the Wildcats
entered the ultimate "must win" game vs (4-4) Lewis and Clark Pioneers.
Holding onto a late 26-20 lead, the Pios would drive down to the 4 yard line with :20 seconds left in the
game. Then on 4th and goal, Pioneer QB Jimmy Blanchard would force Linfield CB Matt Crave to come up
with the play to keep the streak alive.
When the 2001 season started off a 1-2 and whispers about a possible end of the "streak" things didn't look
good for the 'Cats as they were behind at #9 Menlo 27-9 in the 3rd quarter. Coach Jay Locey instered Soph
QB Tyler Matthews into the game in hope of capturing some momentum. Matthews threw two quick TD
passes and brought the 'Cats within reach at 22-27 early in the 4th quarter.
However, it looked like Menlo would ice the game on a mid-4th quarter TD, but Linfield DB Ike Ellis
would strip the ball at the one-year line. Five plays later Matthews found TD Marcus Ward for a 74-yard
game winning strike and Linfield wouldn't lose a regular season for 41 straight contests (50-3 overall).
In an epic battle with NAIA #2 Southern Oregon, Linfield rallied from four different deficits to puch the
Raiders into two overtime periods. In those overtime frames, the 'Cats flexed their collective muscle by
using the combination of a brusing offensive line and the running of Marty Williams and David Russll to
carry the ball nine straight times in scoring the game tying and then game winning TD. (42-35). Thus
cementing the 2002 motto of "Leave No Doubt" and launching a season that many consider one of the
Wildcat's greatest teams.
The truly epic but hearbreaking 44-41 defeat matched #1 vs #2 at the 'Catdome. Both teams went
toe-to-toe, Whitewater (13-0) using an outstanding balanced offense while Linfield (10-1) lit up the sky with
their aerial attack. The Warhawks would punch in the game winning score with 42 seconds remaining and
Linfield's last gasp fell short.
In the 2000 second round NCAA DIII playoff match-up (9-0) Linfield paired off with a Central Dutch
(11-0) team at a muddy Maxwell Field. The game was marred with a slippery surface and numerous
turnovers by each team.
The game moved into Overtime where Linfield booted a field goal by Scott Cannon to take a 17-14 lead.
With Central not gaining a first down in their OT possession, the Dutch lined up for a game tying field goal
attempt. Then, the most hearbreaking, bizarre play occurred that ended the season of a Wildcat team that
many thought was a National Title contender with a 20-17 controversial defeat.
On a picture perfect December day, Linfield (12-0) picked a great time to play a perfect game in the pasting
(52-0) of the Rowan Profs (10-3) in the 2004 National Semifinals. In front of a packed and super charged
crowd, the eventual national champions gave their home fans the ultimate display of team play in handing
the "Beast of the East" their first shutout loss since 1995.
In a heart stopping second round playoff game, a 31-yard field goal by Garrett Wales as time expired lifted
#3 Linfield (11-0) past #5 Wartburg (11-1) in a 23-20 victory at Willamette's McCulloch Stadium (Catdome
South). The Knights came back from a 20-6 4th quarter deficit to tie the game with 1:21 remaining.
However, the 'Cats drove 59-yards with the final possession to set up the Wales game winning kick.
In another epic shootout against SOU, #7 Linfield stopped the NAIA's #5 Raiders title hopes before the
season gained traction with a thrilling 47-42 victory. Linfield minues their defensive captain and team leader,
Ray Lions, would comebsack and stop an SOU squad that featured 3 future NFL prospects. The game
would launch another perfect regular season for the 'Cats and send SOU's season into a tailspin.
|Top Ten Over The Past Ten's
Linfield was locked up in a tight battle with the NWC leading Whitworth Pirates (6-0) at Linfield's Maxwell
field. Notted up at 16-16 with little over 2:00 left in the 4th quarter Whitworth booted a punt deep in
Linfield territory. 'Cats returner Mike Cooney zigged and zagged until he broke free and hit paydirt to give
Linfield the 23-16 game winning score nad a share of the NWC title.
Linfield would make their statement that the 'Cats were back as the top NWC team as Linfield would upset
then NCAA DIII #1 PLU. The victory would launch the 'Cats to their first conference title in 5 years and
jump start Linfield's string of 6 consecutive NWC crowns.