Team loses championship game

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The football team finished its season on what Head Coach Keith Buckley deemed a bittersweet end, losing to Linfield College 59-0 and holding on to a share of the Northwest Conference title for the first time in 52 years.

After trudging its way to the championship game, the football team was shut down early on in the game and held to just 144 yards of total offense.

Buckley said the teams slow start put it in a tough position. He said the team has been slow to start before but against a team at the caliber Linfield is at, those mistakes aren’t recoverable.

After pulling ahead early, repeated turnovers ensured that Linfield would advance for their sixth trip to the NCAA Division III playoffs.

“I will spend the next seven months trying to figure out what went wrong,” Buckley said. “Right now I really don’t know why.”

Since there was such a dim ending to the season, Buckley said moral was low but that he thinks over time the men will really appreciate what happened in the 2014 season.

While the loss was hard to swallow for coaches and players, the teams success in its short five years of existence is nothing to be overlooked.

Buckley said when the team began, they set out to be in the championship discussion but did not expect for it to happen so soon.

Fans flocked in support of the team as they turned their play around, recovering from a 0-2 preseason to an undefeated season up until the Linfield championship.

After close losses in both preseason games, the team stepped up to a new level of play, winning five straight games in the season including a fourth quarter comeback against Pacific Lutheran University, which is ranked 18th in the nation.

The success of the program can be attributed the shared dedication and team-oriented ideals between the coaches and the team.

*DSC_0043Junior quarterback Warner Shaw said the extreme desire to win and dedication to the team was something he saw as early as training camp.

Shaw finished the season with a 68.4 completion percentage, surpassing the 64.7 completion percentage set by assistant coach P.J. Minaya.

“At the end of the day this is still the first football team in a long time to have this much success,” Buckley said.

Buckley said he plans to continue the success next year with a whole new identity and football team.

“The great thing about college sports is that you start over every year,” he said.


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