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Yates, Raiders romp at Linfield

Yates, Raiders romp at Linfield


-- The last time Southern Oregon University defeated Linfield College at Maxwell Field, Raider coach Jeff Olson was a player for the Ashland school.

That was 1981.

The Raiders erased many years of past failures Saturday by pounding the Wildcats 40-10. It was Linfield's worst loss since 1995.

In my four years as head coach this is one of two schools we haven't beaten, said Olson, who still hasn't won against Central Washington. We've come close in past years. This was time to change that.

Raiders All-American running back Griff Yates seemed to turn the game's momentum with an electrifying 81-yard touchdown run on Southern Oregon's first play from scrimmage after the Wildcats took a 10-6 lead on Scott Cannon's 20-yard field goal with 6:39 left in the first half.

Then former Crater High player Nick Danikan delivered a crushing blow when he scooped up a 23-yard field goal attempt that was blocked by Kodiak Malmstrom and returned the loose ball 85 yards for another score.

This sent Southern Oregon into the locker room at intermission with a 20-10 lead and the Raiders completely shut down the Wildcats in the second half. Linfield accounted for just 64 of its 292 yards in total offense in the second half.

We took advantage of our opportunities on both sides of the ball, said Olson. When our backs were against the wall we didn't fold up. We played harder.

The Raiders' defense set the tone early when Eagle Point product R.J. Josephson returned a first-quarter fumble by Linfield quarterback Curt Musser 16 yards for a quick 6-0 lead.

Musser had a frustrating day before being replaced by Brian Lamarche in the second half. The former South Medford High quarterback completed only 12-of-28 passes, was sacked twice and never found the end zone.

Olson pointed out another defensive gem in the second-half by free safety Jenner Yriate, who made a shoestring tackle on a long pass play that would have otherwise went for a TD.

They were within shouting distance but ended up not scoring, said Olson. Then we took it down and scored That was a 14 point swing. That was a hustle play indicative of how we played all day.

Yates had another big game, rushing 28 times for 202 yards and three touchdowns. The 6-foot, 195-pound senior moved to with 342 yards of becoming the Northwest small-college rushing leader. Lewis and Clark's Don Ruhl (1988-91) holds the current record of 4,141 yards.

Everything was clicking today on all three sides, said Olson. We complimented ourselves very well.