Wildcats axe the Jacks; clinch GNAC title

Dillon+Sugg+runs+for+a+touchdown+at+during+a+home+game+while+his+teammates+celebrate+behind+him.
Dillon Sugg runs for a touchdown at during a home game while his teammates celebrate behind him.

Dillon Sugg runs for a touchdown at during a home game while his teammates celebrate behind him.

Jack Lambert

Jack Lambert

Dillon Sugg runs for a touchdown at during a home game while his teammates celebrate behind him.

Natalie Hyland, Sports Editor

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Jack Lambert
Dillon Sugg runs for a touchdown at during a home game while his teammates celebrate behind him.

Wildcats axe the Jacks; win GNAC

Natalie Hyland, Sports Editor

 

CWU football ended the regular season 11-0 with a 42-28 win over Humboldt State University in Arcata, California. The win also secured the GNAC title for the Wildcats and a ticket to the postseason with a  first round bye. The Wildcats have also earned home field advantage with the No. 1 seed.

“I think it’s great that we’re able to take advantage of our fans… our field,” head coach Ian Shoemaker said. “We don’t have to worry about travel and things like that.

2017 marks the first time in eight years that CWU grabbed the GNAC title, with the last one coming in 2009.

 

CWU 42, Humboldt 28

 

The Wildcats opened the scoring with three touchdowns in the first quarter by three different players.  

Justin Peterson caught a pass from Reilly Hennessey and found the end zone for CWU with 7:59 left in the first quarter. After a successful kick by Gavin Todd, CWU took the lead 7-0.

Less than three minutes later, Austin Pernell ran for 22 yards to score again with 5:23 left in the quarter to bring the score to 14-0.

Twenty seconds later, Kyle Self found himself in the end zone on another Hennessey pass with 5:03 remaining in the quarter bring the score to 21-0.

With 14 seconds remaining, Humboldt made it onto the scoreboard with a touchdown by running back Ja’Quan Gardner.

Austin Pernell struck twice for the Wildcats in the second quarter to bring the score to 35-7. With three touchdowns during the contest, Pernell was also named Player of the Game.

The Wildcats led the Lumberjacks 35-7 after the first half.

“In the first half we really established ourselves and had a dominate performance,” Shoemaker said. “It was a good show. Our guys travelled well and we were prepared to go out there and play.”

When play resumed, the Lumberjacks began to show life, scoring twice in the third quarter. Davaeon Johnson found the end zone after an interception. Then, wide receiver Jamere Austin caught a pass from Chase Krivashei to bring the score to 35-21 with CWU holding a two-touchdown lead.

Reilly Hennessey extended that lead to 42-21 on a one-yard run to the end zone to end the third quarter.

The Lumberjacks’ Ja’Quan Gardner scored the lone touchdown in the fourth quarter to bring the final score to 42-28.

 

The No. 1 seed

 

After arriving back in Ellensburg at 6 a.m. Sunday morning, the football players got some much-needed rest as they eagerly awaited the selection show.

At 1 p.m., CWU received the news they had excitedly awaited: the Wildcats were named the No. 1 seed, claiming the spot from Minnesota State Mankato. The team has also earned an extra week to prepare.

“This bye week is huge as far as getting ourselves healthy and ready to go and having more time to prepare.” Shoemaker said.

CWU will play their first postseason game on Nov. 25 at home where they will face the winner of No. 4 Winona State and No. 5 Texas A&M Commerce.

Since CWU still doesn’t know their opponent, they’re focused on getting themselves ready first.

“Every week gets more difficult… it’s just going to get more intense,” Shoemaker said. “Schools out of the [Mid-American Intercollegiate Athletic Association] and the [Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference] are all very competitive.”

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Wildcats axe the Jacks; clinch GNAC title