Wildcats overcome Azusa; improve to 9-0

Reilly+Hennessey+jumps+over+teammates+and+defenders+during+the+Oct.+28+game+against+Azusa.
Reilly Hennessey jumps over teammates and defenders during the Oct. 28 game against Azusa.

Reilly Hennessey jumps over teammates and defenders during the Oct. 28 game against Azusa.

CWU Athletics

CWU Athletics

Reilly Hennessey jumps over teammates and defenders during the Oct. 28 game against Azusa.

Anna Eyears, Staff Reporter

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CWU Athletics
Reilly Hennessey jumps over teammates and defenders during the Oct. 28 game against Azusa.

The CWU football team defeated Azusa Pacific University 34-23 in their ninth win this season. The Wildcats remain the only undefeated team in the GNAC, with a current standing of 9-0, 6-0 (GNAC) and rank second in the region.

Azusa got off to an early lead in the first quarter, clinching the first touchdown. The Wildcats were quick to catch up though, scoring their own touchdown by senior wide receiver, Justin Peterson.

Defensively, the Wildcats played well, holding the Cougars to 291 yards of offense. Junior linebacker, Kevin Haynes, managed to take out a GNAC record to become the all-time leader in solo tackles.

The teams fought it out in the second quarter, scoring a field goal each to end on a 10-10 halftime score. Much of the third quarter followed suit, with both teams scoring touchdowns to even out the score once more to 17-17.

The Wildcats managed to pull away with a solid lead in the fourth quarter. Freshman tight end, Samuel Sanchez scored at the five minute mark of the fourth quarter off of a 5-yard pass from junior quarterback, Reilly Hennessey.

Head coach Ian Shoemaker said he thought today’s game was one of the Wildcat’s best performances of the year.

“Azusa is a really good football team and to have a couple score lead at the end of the game is a pretty big deal,” Shoemaker said. “The special teams played well. Gavin Todd hit some field goals. We still had a couple of turnovers and put the ball in harm’s way a couple of times, but for the most part, I think it was a pretty well rounded game.”

The game also marked Senior Day for the Wildcats. The day is an opportunity for the team to commemorate its senior football players and wish them the best as they embark on their journeys after college. Shoemaker said he hoped the seniors were really happy with the way the team has played this season so far.

“It’s great to be able to send those guys out on the right note,” Shoemaker said. “The hope is to win two more games and see where that puts us in the regional and national rankings for the playoffs. Two more weeks of 1-0 and we’ll be sitting in a pretty good spot.”

Senior wide receiver, Justin Peterson, said he was thankful for the opportunity to play in such a well rounded and competitive team in his final year.

“It’s amazing,” Peterson said. “This is the best senior year we possibly could have had. I hope we can keep it going. We take it one week at a time so hopefully next week we can get another win and take it forward from there. We have big goals as a team and a lot of potential.”

The fourth quarter saw an interception from senior defensive back, Max McIntosh. McIntosh said he was proud of the way the team played today.

“I think we played really well… we knew that Azusa was going to play us tough. We only beat them by one the last time we were down there in L.A., so I’m extremely happy,” McIntosh said. “I was actually thinking about potentially not returning this season, so I feel super blessed and grateful to be in this position.”

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Wildcats overcome Azusa; improve to 9-0