Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Machida returns to Linfield College

Photo of Linfield 1984 football team added by Wildcatville in 2009

By RODNEY S. YAP, Staff Writer
Maui News, December 18, 2004

WAILUKU–Keith Machida took a trip down memory lane last month when he returned to McMinnville, Ore.

Machida was one of more than 40 players and coaches from the 1984 Linfield College national championship football team that returned to campus on Nov. 13 to be inducted into the Linfield Athletics Hall of Fame.

For many of the team members, the reunion was a chance to see one another for the first time since the Wildcats’ season 20 years ago.

Linfield had to overcome seemingly insurmountable odds to capture the NAIA Division II national crown that year, and Machida remembers it well.

“We were trailing 22-0 in the third quarter,’’ the 1980 Maui High School graduate said Friday. “We were playing Northwestern of Iowa for the title at McMinnville High School because the field we usually play on was torn up from the rain and mud. We scored 33 points and won 33-22.’’

It was memories of that game and other highlights from that season that got plenty of the former players fired up.

“We shared a lot of stories,’’ Machida said. “We actually drove down to the field and kicked a field goal. That was the first score we made and everybody thought we were crazy to kick a field goal. Then we got a turnover and scored again and went for two and got that.’’

Machida recalls the Wildcats’ first touchdown because it was a 1-yard pass to him from quarterback David Lindley.

“We ran the same play for the two-point conversion,’’ said Ma-chida, who hauled in that pass, too.

Hall of Fame week at Linfield coincided with the Wildcats’ regular-season finale. Linfield nailed down its fifth consecutive Northwest Conference championship with a 48-14 defeat of Willamette.

Currently ranked No. 2 and in the championship game of the NCAA Division III tournament, Linfield is led by quarterback Brett Elliott, who set the school single-season yardage record with 4,313 yards, surpassing the record of 3,084 set last season by All-American Tyler Matthews.
Elliott has also thrown more touchdown passes (59) in one season than any quarterback in the history of college football.

The Wildcats will take on Mary Hardin-Baylor today in Amos Alonzo Stagg Bowl XXXII in Salem, Va.

Freshman Ryan Ishizu, a former Maui High running back, is on the team’s roster, but Machida said Ishizu will not be one of the 53 players who suits up for Linfield in today’s game.

The current Linfield team has 11 former Hawaii prep players on the roster, including four from Kamehameha Oahu and two each from Hawaii Preparatory Academy and Radford.

Machida said the 1984 team had its share of Hawaii players, including two offensive tackles and a guard. Machida was the tight end who garnered second team all-league honors.

“I always played tight end,’’ said Machida, who remembered a simpler game. “I remember when I was there, they just gave us a hook – to hang your stuff on. And if you were really special, they would give you a cardboard box to put your stuff in. Back then we didn’t play on FieldTurf, we played in the rain and the wind.’’

Machida keeps up with this team and sees some differences between this year’s squad and the teams from his day.
“I listen to the games on the Internet and this is a very good Linfield team,’’ Machida said. “We ran out of the slot formation back then and operated out of the spread formation and threw the ball much more.’’

Hawaii talent helps Linfield football

Article includes Wildcatville 2009 editing and photo addition

Fullback Puni Ellis of Kailua helped Linfield's offense outscore
opponents 650-256 this season. Photo by Kelly Bird, Linfield Sports Info

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Football players living the life at Linfield
Hawaii talent has helped the school
go 49 years without a losing season

By Dennis Anderson
Hawaii Grown Report

Football legend Bill Walsh was talking with a small group of disciples at halftime of a game in California three years ago when he offered his opinion that "Linfield has the football program that every small college should aspire to emulate."

Emulating the football program at the small Oregon college this year would include winning the NCAA Division III national championship, going 13-0 and extending college football's all-time, all-divisions record of consecutive winning seasons to 49 years.
It was the fourth national championship for a program that has extensive Hawaii threads woven through its unparalleled run of success, from the first player from Hawaii to play at Linfield -- Al Wills in 1949 -- through this season's 10 players and two coaches.

Fourteen players from Hawaii have earned All-America recognition at Linfield; 27 have been all-conference.

In the 1970s and '80s, a typical Linfield roster included more than 20 players from Hawaii.
Current offensive line coach Doug Hire (Pearl City '83) was an offensive guard on the 1984 and 1986 NAIA championship teams and was a first team NAIA All-American in 1986.

Coach Doug Hire. Wildcatville photo

Hire noted that former coach Ad Rutschman, who was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame after 24 winning seasons and three national championships at Linfield, said that "evaluating position by position, the best players he coached were from Hawaii."

Hire's explanation is that, "It's part of the upbringing, the way we play in Hawaii, being very physical players."

The most physical of the Hawaii players at Linfield this season was junior defensive end Brandon Tom (Kamehameha '02 of Kailua).

Tom is a two-time All-Northwest Conference selection and got a lot of attention on ESPN2 last Saturday for his big plays in Linfield's 28-21 victory over Mary Hardin-Baylor of Texas for the NCAA III championship in the Amos Alonzo Stagg Bowl in Salem, Va.

Tom made eight tackles, including sharing a quarterback sack that ended the Texas team's last bid for a game-turning score at the Linfield 19 late in the fourth quarter.

"He has it all," Hire says. "He's explosive, a dangerous pass rusher with power moves and quick moves. He's tall (6-2) and physical (225 pounds).

Tom led Linfield's defensive linemen in tackles for the season with 53 in 13 games, including 4 sacks and 5.5 others for losses.

The other Hawaii players who got into the national championship game were senior fullback Puni Ellis (Kamehameha '00 of Kailua), sophomore defensive end Nik Soo (Kamehameha '03 of Kamuela), and redshirt freshman special teams stalwart Keone Tawata (Radford '03)

In the coaching box with Hire was graduate assistant Daryl Agpalsa (Kamehameha '98 of Waikele), who made a small-college grand slam -- first-team offensive guard on four All-America teams -- in his senior season of 2002.

Ellis was the starting fullback in a passing offense that seldom used a fullback. He only carried the ball 14 times the last two years, but he scored five touchdowns and blocked for many others.
"He was our MVP Diamond-in-the-Rough utility player," Hire said. Ellis also played wide receiver, linebacker and special teams during his five-year Linfield career.

Soo often started as the opposite defensive end from Tom. "He's got a motor, he does not stop,"

Hire said. "Nik made huge gains from his freshman year and will be a phenomenal player."

Soo was in on 45 tackles, including 5.5 for losses.

Tawata blocked three kicks during the season. "He is fast, physical and crazy -- an impact player on all special teams," Hire said.

Also on the postseason roster was redshirt freshman wide receiver Josh Vierra (Kamehameha '03 of Kahalu'u).

The other players from Hawaii on Linfield's regular-season roster were:

Freshman cornerback Chris Thorpe (Radford '03); redshirt freshman, second-team linebacker Kevin Kauweloa (Waianae '03), redshirt freshman, scout-team wide receiver Brad Lau (Hawaii Prep '03 of Kamuela); physical freshman fullback Ryan Ishizu (Maui '04 of Pukalani), and redshirt freshman back-up punter/kicker Stan Fisher (Punahou '03 of Kailua).

"If you want to experience our winning tradition and get a great education, this is the place to come," pitched Hire, who is in Hawaii to visit his parents and recruit.

Ellis, the only senior among the current Hawaii ohana, said Linfield has been a perfect fit for him.
"I always wanted to go to a small college," he said. "You don't feel that ohana-ness at a big school.

"I grew to be a better person here."

Linfield's Hawaii connection blossomed under 13-year coach Paul Durham.

When Durham brought his Linfield team to Honolulu in 1967 and beat University of Hawaii 15-13, UH was so impressed that they hired him as athletic director. He served seven years. (Durham, 91, currently resides in Waikiki and still attends every UH football, volleyball and basketball game, and plays golf once a week.)

One of Durham's first Hawaii recruits and Linfield's first All-American from Hawaii (in 1961) was Hugh Yoshida, who served as athletic director at UH from 1993 to 2002.

Former UH football coach Fred vonAppen also was an all-star at Linfield ... but that is another story.

Linfield's Hawaii All-Americans

Football players from Hawaii who have been selected All-American while playing for Linfield College (with their high schools in parentheses):

1961: Hugh Yoshida (Iolani), linebacker
1964: Tony Ah Yat (Kamehameha), end
1972-73: Bernie Peterson (Kalani), tight end
1977: Pat Silva (McKinley), quarterback
1978: Paul Dombroski (Leilehua), defensive back
1980: Ed Kama (McKinley), offensive tackle
1984-85: Keith Machida (Maui), tight end
1986: Doug Hire (Pearl City), offensive guard
1986: Jody Tyrell (Moanalua), linebacker
1988: Chris Kelly (Moanalua), defensive end
1991: Shaun Aguano (Kapaa), running back
1992-93: Julian Tyrell (Moanalua), linebacker
1993: Kahale Huddleston (Baldwin), defensive end
2002: Daryl Agpalsa* (Kamehameha), offensive guard
* First team on four All-America teams

Players from Hawaii who have earned all-conference honors:

Al Wills (Saint Louis), tackle, 1950, '52
Rogers Ishizu (Maui), halfback, 1967
Marco Min (Waipahu), quarterback, 1974
Billy Yamamoto (Kalani), safety, 1977
Jose Guevara (Moanalua), offensive tackle, 1985
Aundre Pace (Radford), tailback, 1987
Tony Pang-Kee (Castle), defensive back, 1987-88
Peter Ranta (Kalaheo), safety, 1988
John Santiago (Damien), punt returner, 1991

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

When was the last tie in Linfield varsity football history?

The NCAA football rules committee, meeting February 1996 in Kansas City, Mo., voted to require a tiebreaker in all college football games. Instead of a game ending in a tie, an overtime tiebreaker system was adopted.

What was the last tie football game in Linfield varsity football history?

The score was 20-20 on Sept. 18, 1993, in Tacoma: Linfield vs. Pacific Lutheran.

It was Linfield’s first game of the season, not counting the Wildcats’ season-opening 34-14 win over its alumni. Both Linfield, coached by Ed Langsdorf, and PLU, coached by Frosty Westering, were in the NAIA.

A story in the Sept. 19, 1993, Seattle Times said, “A 1-yard touchdown run and 2-point conversion with 1 second remaining lifted fifth-ranked Pacific Lutheran to a miraculous 20-20 tie with second-ranked Linfield at the Tacoma Dome last night.”

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Linfield will play 802nd game to start 2010 football season

Since Linfield College began playing football in 1896, the Linfield Wildcats have played 801 games.

When the Wildcats open the 2010 season on Sept. 11 at California Lutheran, it will be their 802nd game during what will be Linfield’s 96th season playing football. During those seasons -- the years 1896-2009 -- Linfield has won 524 games, lost 246 and tied 31 for a .674 winning percentage.

Linfield’s 2010 regular season football schedule:

September - 11 at Cal Luth, 25 at La Verne.

October -
2 vs. Willamette, 9 at UPS, 16 vs. Pacific (Homecoming), 23 at PLU, 30 vs. Menlo.

November - 6 vs. Whitworth (Hall of Fame Game), 13 at L&C.

Linfield 1
Linfield 2

For your information:
Penn football makes NCAA history with 1,300th game

When the University of Pennsylvania football team beat the BrownUniversity Bears 14-7 in overtime on Oct. 31, 2009, in Providence,R.I., it marked the Penn Quakers' 1,300th game, the most in NCAA history at any level. Penn began playing football in 1876. The 2009 season was Penn's 133rd playing football. Penn is located in Philadelphia.


Saturday, December 12, 2009

Webcast: Linfield @ UW Whitewater 12/12/09

Posted on Sat, Dec. 12, 2009
Wis-Whitewater tops Linfield 27-17 in Div III semi

The Associated Press

Jeff Donovan completed 17 of 26 passes for 276 yards and a touchdown to lead Wisconsin-Whitewater to a 27-17 victory over Linfield in the Division III semifinals. The Warhawks (14-0) advanced to their fifth consecutive Stagg Bowl appearance, where they'll face undefeated Mount Union in the final next Saturday in Salem, Va. The Warhawks went up 20-17 on Jordan Wells' 68-yard reception and a one-yard run by Antwan Anderson. Levell Coppage added a 40-yard touchdown run for Wisconsin-Whitewater with 1:05 to play. Linfield fell to 12-1.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Wildcats thrive on a tradition of winning


Little Oregon college thrives on winning tradition

McMINNVILLE, Ore. (AP) --- There's a hand-painted sign above the entrance to the Linfield Wildcats' locker room at Maxwell Field that reads: "Are you a better football player today than you were yesterday?''

It's a reminder of a message players there have been taking to heart for decades, since the Division III team embarked on its streak of winning seasons in 1956.

That 54-season streak is the longest in the nation among NCAA schools of all divisions - far surpassing Florida State's current run of 33straight winning seasons. However, the Seminoles are cutting it close at 6-6 this season, facing West Virginia in the Gator Bowl on Jan. 1.

Linfield is a private university of some 2,100 students in the heart of McMinnville, located about 35 miles southwest of Portland, in Oregon's Willamette Valley wine country. The town is known as the birthplace of children's author Beverly Cleary, and for a famous UFO sighting in the 1950s that spawned a yearly festival there.

In many ways Linfield looks like a small East Coast college plunked down in the West, complete with red-brick colonial dormitories and a bell tower that chimes on the hour.

Football Saturdays during the fall are all about the Wildcats.Purple-clad fans dot the town's main streets before games and cars proudly display their Wildcat flags. The atmosphere harkens back to a simpler time.

"Linfield is Linfield, I think, because of that winning tradition,''said former quarterback and current assistant coach Brett Elliott."Every year we continue that tradition, the streak that we're on, it fuels the fire, so to speak.''

The Wildcat mystique was born under Paul Durham, who coached the team from 1948-67, and then continued by coach Ad Rutschman, head coach from 1967-91.

Rutschman also served as the baseball coach for 13 seasons and the school's athletic director for 25 years, and currently works as an assistant to coach Joseph Smith. Rutschman is the only college coach at any level to have won national titles in both football and baseball.

He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1998.

"Much of the success I think stems from Ad Rutschman. Ad was a great coach. I would liken him to a John Wooden-type of coach, he was such a great teacher,'' said Oregon State assistant coach Jay Locey, who coached the Wildcats from 1996 to 2006 and led the team to its last national championship in 2004.

"It is about the development of people first,'' Locey said. "The winning is the byproduct.''

This season the Wildcats are in the postseason for the 21st time in school history. They won three NAIA Div. II national championships, in1982, 1984 and 1986, before joining Div. III 12 years ago.

The current Wildcats were unranked going into the season, and for the first time in nearly a decade, they weren't even expected to finish atop the Northwest Conference.

But Linfield, 6-3 last season, has kept winning all the way through last weekend's Div. III quarterfinals against St. Thomas of Minnesota.

The Wildcats (12-0) visit Wisconsin-Whitewater (13-0) in the semifinals on Saturday. Wesley (13-0) is at Mount Union (13-0) in the other semifinal.

The winners will go to the Amos Alonzo Stagg Bowl, the division's championship, in Salem, Va., the following weekend.

Elliott led the Wildcats to the championship in 2004. The Utah transfer was known for throwing an NCAA all-division record 61 TD passes his junior year.

"It sounds like a cliche, but this really is a family,'' Elliott said."Every time I come back here, from the NFL, from the Arena League, it feels like home. It feels comfortable. It feels right.''
Locey said the streak has taken on a life of its own at Linfield.

"The neat thing is that you do have a sense of duty,'' Locey said."You didn't want to be a player or coach on the team that was there when the streak ended.''

This season's quarterback, Aaron Boehme, said his team wanted to put an individual stamp on the Wildcats' legacy. So far they have,surpassing expectations and going undefeated.

"Because we had those really good runs before my freshman year ... we tried to get away from that,'' Boehme said. "Not get away from the tradition, but to focus on ourselves and not rest on those laurels.''

Associated Press story. Wildcatville photo.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Vote for Linfield Coach Joe Smith as Liberty Mutual ‘Coach of the Year’

Thanks to Debbie Harmon (, Linfield alumni director, the following information as of 12/1/09

Liberty Mutual has a contest for football 'Coach of the Year' at each NCAA division level.

The top 15 coaches will be considered in the evaluation phase.

One football coach from each NCAA division will be honored with the Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year Trophy, $50,000 for the charity of his choice, and a $20,000 scholarship endowment for his school’s alumni association.

Joe Smith, Linfield head football coach, is currently ranked #15. Please help keep him in the top 15.

Contest ends Dec. 6, 2009. You can vote once per day at

Wildcatville photo info: Coach Joe Smith (left) leaves Wildcat huddle during Nov. 28, 2009, UMHB game on Maxwell Field.