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Lutes hope for better luck second time around

Jordan Patterson led Pacific Lutheran with seven solo tackles in the Lutes' first meeting with Linfield.
PLU athletics photo by Tim Morgan

The Pacific Lutheran football team suffered a shutout loss to Linfield when the Northwest Conference rivals met way back in Week 4.

The Lutes have not lost since that game, and are hoping for better results when they square off with second-ranked Linfield in the first round the NCAA Division III playoffs Saturday.

“We’re very, very excited to be in the playoffs No. 1, and very, very excited to go down and play Linfield again,” said PLU head coach Scott Westering, who has led the No. 13 Lutes to an 8-1 overall record.

“It’s a great opportunity to challenge you to be the best that you can be,” he added. “We know they’re a great team and they’re playing very well and they’re going to be well coach.”

Senior linebacker Jordan Patterson and the Pacific Lutheran defense are looking to contain Josh Yoder and the Linfield offense for four quarters.

“We’re definitely excited to get another shot,” said Patterson, who leads the team with 72 total tackles, including 15.5 for a loss. “Each game we play, we have an opportunity to get better. And we’re going to be a better PLU team than the first time that we played them this year. So it should be a really great game.”

He said the Lutes have to focus on finishing the game strong. Last time the teams met, Linfield held a 7-0 lead after three quarters, but extended that to a 29-0 victory.

Pacific Lutheran will have to slow down Josh Yoder, who is dangerous passing the ball as well as running. The Lutes hope while they slow down Yoder, their own dual-threat quarterback Dalton Ritchey can make plays with the ball.

“When you have a quarterback that can do what Josh Yoder does or what Dalton Ritchey does with their legs, that changes the whole dynamic of how you play defense and how you have to play defense,” Westering said.

The senior linebacker, who has an interception and a fumble recovery to go with four quarterback sacks, will be a key component to slowing down the Wildcats.

“He’s kind of a smiling assassin kind of guy. On the sidelines, he’s a soft-spoken, smiling kind of guy. Then when he crosses the chalk, he goes and plays the game,” Westering said. “He loves to play the game of football. He’s a physical train wreck, and loves that aspect of football. And yet does a great job of leading and playing the style of football we play at PLU.”

The Lutes are coming off a bye in the final week of the regular season. Westering said the week off has given his players an opportunity to heal up and get ready for the second season.

“To have a bye as the season ended was great for us to take a breath and...

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Columnist

Josh Smith photo

Josh Smith covers high school and Division III athletics for the Daily Jefferson County Union in Fort Atkinson, Wis. He has won multiple awards for reporting and photography and contributes to multiple publications in addition to his duties at the Daily Union, including D3football.com beginning in 2012. He graduated from UW-Whitewater with a degree in print journalism.

2011-12 columns: Jason Galleske
2010: Tim Walsh
2003-09: Adam Johnson
1999-2000: Don Stoner 

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