Sunday, December 23, 2012

Remembering MVP of Linfield's 2004 bowl victory

Few if any Linfield football fans will forget that the Wildcats won the 2004 NCAA DIII national football championship.

In Salem, Va., the 'Cats defeated Mary Hardin-Baylor, 28-21, for the title in the Stagg Bowl on Dec. 18, 2004.

Who was MVP -- hint, it was a Linfield player -- in the game. Linfield QB Brett Elliott? No, 6-foot, 190-pounds Riley Jenkins (see photo).

Part of the Roanoke (Va.)  Times newspaper Dec. 19, 2004, coverage about the game included,

"A Division I-A transfer was named the Most Outstanding Player of the Stagg Bowl.

"No, not Linfield quarterback Brett Elliott, a former starter for Utah. Elliott threw for two touchdowns and ran for another in his team's 28-21 victory Saturday, but he was outshined by former Oregon State walk-on Riley Jenkins.

"Jenkins, a fifth-year senior, ran for a team-high 81 yards and one TD on 18 carries and had four catches for 64 yards. He scored the winning touchdown on Elliott's 10-yard pass with 5:51 to go.

"What's up, MVP?" teammate Mordechai Kotler said to Jenkins as they hugged on the Salem Stadium field before the award announcement."

Monday, December 17, 2012

Friday, December 07, 2012

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Linfield football 2012: Sons like fathers, they're Wildcats

Player #17 Aaron Hire (Wildcatville photo), Coach Doug Hire (Rusty Rae photo) from 11/24/2012 North Central at Linfield NCAA D3 football playoff game.

College football: Sons follow fathers to the path toward Linfield

By Nick Daschel, Special to The Oregonian,  Nov 28, 2012

Football teams often refer to themselves as family, even if most of the bonds are just friendships.

At Linfield, though, there's something to the family talk. The apple doesn't fall far from Maxwell Field, as at least nine players on the Wildcats' roster have fathers who participated in Linfield athletics.

Most sons of former Wildcat fathers say there weren't expectations to attend Linfield, which plays at noon Saturday in McMinnville in an NCAA quarterfinal playoff game against Wisconsin-Oshkosh.

The school and its football program spoke for itself.

"My dad always encouraged me to look at other places, but of course, he has nothing but good things to say about Linfield," said senior defensive tackle Tyler Steele, a 2011 all-American whose father Bill played baseball for the Wildcats.

Defensive end Jeremy Girod, whose father, Jon, played quarterback at Linfield during the early 1980s, has twice enrolled at Linfield. Girod played football as a freshman, left Linfield to play baseball at Vancouver's Clark College, but felt the Linfield pull again when he returned to McMinnville in 2011.

"I really liked the team's family-oriented atmosphere and I couldn't find it anywhere else," Girod said.

Senior receiver Aaron Hire says he was "intimidated" by his father's Linfield accomplishments. Doug Hire -- the current assistant head coach and offensive line coach -- earned two NAIA championship rings as a player, and an NCAA ring as a coach.

"Are you kidding? What was I going to do to top that?" Aaron Hire said.

At first, Hire didn't try. Aspiring to play professional football someday, Hire decided to attend the two-year Foothill College in northern California, hoping to attract interest from a Division I program. 

But following a year there, it became apparent Linfield was the place to be for Hire.

"The attraction for kids to follow their dads to Linfield is tradition. It's overwhelming. It's almost like a lineage of pride," Hire said.

Drew Wert, a starting senior offensive guard, says Chuck, a former Linfield linebacker, didn't push the school on him during the college decision process. Wert picked Linfield because it came down to winning; no college in the Northwest wins as regularly as the Wildcats.

"I wanted to be a part of something that was bigger than myself," Wert said. "My dad was just happy to watch me play football anywhere. But I think he does take a little pride that I've had a pretty successful career at Linfield."

Other Linfield players with fathers who formerly played football at the school include sophomore linebacker Nick Fairhart (George), sophomore tight end Westly Meng (J.P.), junior defensive end Michael MacClanathan (Todd), junior safety Hoku Kama (Ed, a Linfield all-American) and freshman linebacker Trey Chiu (Tony).

It's not a surprise that many sons of former Wildcats ended up at Linfield. Among the school's current 13-man coaching staff, 10 were former Linfield players, including head coach Joseph Smith.

Of all the Linfield sons of former players, the most likely to land in McMinnville was Hire, even if he first resisted with a trip to a JC. Hire's mother, Teresa, played soccer at Linfield, as does his sister, Miranda, a freshman. Hire was a ball boy for Linfield's 2004 national title team.

"When I was a kid, my mom bought me a helmet, and I made her paint the stripes purple and red for Linfield," Hire said.

Steele's father Bill didn't play football, but had plenty of contact with former Wildcats football coaching great Ad Rutschman, who also coached baseball.

"My dad would always tell us stories about the character values coach Rutschman would instill in his players," Steele said.

Someday, if the current Wildcats have sons, there's a good chance their blood will flow toward Linfield.

"The first place we're looking," said Steele, "is Linfield. There's no doubt he'll find this place is special."

Wert promises if he has a son, he'll be sure to have plenty of Linfield game video for him to watch.

"If he asks, I'm sure I'll give this place a shining review," Wert said.

Monday, December 03, 2012

New looks at an old favorite

Graphics -- related to "No Shave November (2012) -- appeared in Dec. 3, 2012, Linfield Review student newspaper.

This story will (so to speak) make you sick to your stomach

From Dec. 3, 2012, Linfield Review student newspaper 

Sunday, December 02, 2012

Where to eat in McMinnville before Linfield football games?


There are many choices. Consider WildWood Cafe, 319 NE Baker St., home of the "Wildcat Special," and Alf's, 1250 SW Baker St., home of the "Elk Burger."  (Baker Street is also Oregon Route 99W.)

WildWood is dowtown. Alf's (named for it's founder/former owner-operator Albert Alfred "Pat" Alf, Jr.) is within easy walking distance of the Linfield campus.

A "Wildcat Special" is smoked ham, melted cheddar and tomato on grilled sour dough.

An "Elk Burger" is made with elk meat. It's named for Linfield Prof. Harold C. Elkinton. He chaired the college's Department of Business administration & Economics for 42 years, 1927-1969. Early in his career, students nicknamed him "Elky." Students in later years called him "The Elk."

'If you love Linfield football, you love Catdomealumni and Wildcatville. They cover the Wildcats inside and out, forward and back. If you are not a true cardinal & purple believer in the value of these sites, make one visit to each and you will become a frequent visitor to each." -- Wildcatville 11/28/2012

Larry Hermo sheds light on Maxwell Field night football games and more


Larry Hermo, Linfield Class of 1959, was a Linfield football manager/trainer during the 
1955, 1956, 1957 and  1958 seasons. 

He saw every Wildcat home and away football games, except overnight road games. During those four football seasons, there was only one day game on Maxwell Field. It was at the start of the 1956 season when Linfield and Portland State played to a 0-0 tie.  

"Saturday night was football night in the Northwest Conference. The lights at (Maxwell Field) were not very good and a few times with fog you could not see to the other side of the field. The crowds were never very big, in fact I think everyone sat" in Memorial Stadium, he said. 


Early parts of late season football games "you could see the numbers" on player jerseys for only a short time because the Maxwell Field "muck was quite deep most of the game, even though the field had a high crown for drainage," he said. 

During his student years (1955-59) at Linfield, football managers, paid 75 cents an hour for their work, were Wildcat baseball and basketball athletes. Trainers were credited four hours for each practice and game, said Larry. Jack Riley, Bill Machamer (both Linfield Hall of Famers), Kenny Davis, Jerry Martyn and Dick Duerr were among Linfield athletes who also served as managers for football. 

The college did not have an athletic trainer, said Larry, "but, there was a doctor in attendance during the games. Without a trainer, my last three years I was (the football team's) unofficial trainer even though I had) "zero training" in training. 

"I had no decision making regarding the injuries of players as that was in the hands of (football) coach (Paul) Durham or the team doctor. 

Larry "taped hundreds of ankles and knees along with bandaging many wounds of sorts," he said. Linfield Hall of Famer Ted Henry, who would become an assistant coach on Ad Rutschman's Linfield football staff for many years, was one of the players who Larry taped every practice and game. “ 

A graduate of Clatskanie, Ore., High School, Larry has a serious arm injury his senior year at Clatskanie that hampered his early athletic career at Linfield. For the Wildcats, he played two seasons (1955-56 and 1956-57) of basketball and four seasons (1956, 1957, 1958 and 1959) of baseball. His head coach for both sports was Roy Helser. 

After graduating from Linfield, Larry served in the U.S. Army in South Korea. 

While in that country, he read in Stars & Stripes (an American newspaper which reports on matters affecting the members of the U.S. Armed Forces) that tryouts for the Seoul area Army Baseball Team were going to take place. 

"I asked my office sergeant if I could get off to try out." He asked if I'd miss work if I made the team. I told him ‘I played college baseball and I would think that I might make the team,’ he said. 

There were 109 soldiers at the first tryout." With a few ground balls and three swings I was not one of the 50 cut. With three more practices I made the team. After our first three pre-season games our sergeant called a team meeting and said the coach was transferred and wondered who might coach. He asked if any team members had coached before and no one answered. I raised my hand and said I went to college to be a coach. He asked the team if it was OK for me to be the coach and low and behold I was the player-coach for our entire season. 

“My office sergeant was not happy as I only worked three hours in the morning and baseball every day from April to mid-August 1961. A three star general signed the order for me to get off of work, therefore; the sergeant had no power about me being off work. Our team was decent and we placed in the All-Korean Military Tournament. It was a good experience and training for my high school coaching days." 

The team, SAC (Strategic Area Command), represented the Seoul area of South Korea. During the season a couple of players left the team for the States when their 13-month "term" ended and new players replaced them. 

In 1954, the year after the Korean War ended, U.S. Major League players went to South Korea to teach Koreans baseball fundamentals. "The Koreans became familiar with a number of major leaguers" and some of them were identified with Major League stars or coaches. For example, there was the Casey Stengel of Korea, top manager; the Stan Musial of Korea, best hitter; Babe Ruth of Korea, top home run hitter. 

In addition to playing baseball, Larry also played basketball while serving in Korea. One of the South Korean players against whom he played was called the Bob Cousy of Korea, because he was the best player in the country. On the court, he played three or four members of the 1960 South Korean Olympic men's basketball team which played in Rome. 

After discharge from the Army, Larry returned to Maxwell Field starting in 1962, as a fan, to watch the football Wildcats play. He remembers:

  •  the 1962 Lewis & Clark at Linfield game. During it, an L&C running back "broke out of the fog from the left and went down the sideline near the stands with a Wildcat in hot pursuit." That 'Cat "made the tackle on the 10 yard line" and L&C subsequently failed to score. Linfield won, 12-6.
  • Willamette playing at Linfield at the end of the 1965 season. Both teams were undefeated. It was a "mud bath." Linfield won 26-6 for the Northwest Conference title. That night, Larry said, Linfield running backs LeRoy Fails and Odis Avritt were not slowed by the mud or Willamette. Each rushed for more than 100 yards.  

Larry’s coaching career started at Yamhill-Carlton High School after attending and graduating from Linfield and serving in the Army. He was there, 1961-1967. One of his Y-C players was Tom Jernstedt, a “very good baseball player for me, in fact he pitched five no-hitters my first year of coaching,” Larry said. Jernstedt went on to become the “number #2 in the NCAA, in charge of all championships for NCAA member schools with emphasis on the basketball playoffs. He changed the basketball playoffs from 32 teams to 64 teams and also negotiated a TV contract with CBS for $6 Billion dollars for 11 years. When I was at the Final Four in Indianapolis in 2010, Tom was inducted into the NCAA Hall of Fame.” 

From Y-C, he moved to Rex Putnam High School in Milwaukie, coaching 1967-1991. He coached Linfield Hall of Famer Scott Brosius at Putnam and encouraged Brosius to attend Linfield. Brosius is now Linfield head baseball coach and, before that, went on to fame in Major League Baseball with the Oakland Athletics and New York Yankees. “It is so neat to guide a guy to Linfield and see what he did in professional baseball and end up to coach the Wildcats,” said Larry. 

"Guess I did an adequate job coaching during my career as I was inducted into the Oregon High School Baseball Coaches Hall of Fame in 1998," Larry said. "It was great during my induction as there were three other Linfield guys inducted the same time. In 1990 I was inducted into my High School Clatskanie Hall of Fame as I earned 12 varsity letters for my career.” 

Proud to be a Wildcat, Larry (Class of 1959) said he is “more proud that my grandson, Troy (Class of 2016), started at Linfield in 2012. Troy is a third generation Wildcat. Larry, his late wife, Claire, and his wife Sharon both graduated from Linfield (Class of 1964) as did his older son, Brad (Class of 1986), who played baseball for Linfield, two seasons with Brosius as a teammate. 

“We are a Linfield Wildcat family and I bleed purple and cardinal,” Larry said. 

Photos from: 

  • 1959 Oak Leaves, the Linfield 1958 football team. In close-up, Larry Hermo is second from the right in top right, standing next to assistant coach Roy Helser. Larry is wearing a hat for a Portland summer baseball on which he played. The hat has “GT” for Granning & Treece loan company. 
  • 1959 Oak Leaves, Larry as a member of the 1959 Linfield baseball team. 
  • 1961 as player-coach of the U.S. Army’s SAC (Strategic Area Command) baseball team 
  • Linfield 2012 Homecoming, Larry visits with Linfield grad Rob Saxton, State of Oregon public instruction deputy superintendent. Saxton, a former Linfield quarterback, is the son of Cliff and LaRene Saxton, both of whom attended Linfield. Cliff, who played football for Linfield, is a member of the Linfield Athletics Hall of Fame. 

Note: While Wildcatville wrote this story, the reality is that it “wrote itself.” Larry Hermo has an amazing memory and he’s also a very good writer, as “evidenced” by writing sports stories for his hometown Clatskanie Chief weekly newspaper while attending Clastskanie High School.

Larry Hermo got a foul ball at the Hillsboro, Ore., Hops 8/13/2013 game. Honored during it was the 2013 NCAA DIII national champ Linfield baseball team, coached by Scott Brosius, whom Hermo coached in high school. Wildcatville photo

Saturday, December 01, 2012

UW-Oshkosh at Linfield NCAA D3 football 12/1/2012

During the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh at Linfield NCAAD3 quarterfinal football playoff game on Linfield's Maxwell Field in McMinnville on Saturday, Dec. 1, 2012, a Wildcat fan watching from her seat at Memorial Stadium sent game updates by text to her not-at-the-game son. WUO recovered a Linfield fumble to end the game with the Titans winning, 31-24. To describe the fumble, she sent her son a one word text:: "Dagger."

Read McMinnville N-R 12/3/2012 (online) 12/4/2012 (print) story, "Linfield fumbles away season in quarterfinals."