Wednesday, November 5, 2003
MONMOUTH -- For two minutes it was all Western Oregon. Then Central Washington's offense got a chance to get rolling, and the end result was a 55-44 win for the Wildcats in a wild Great Northwest Athletic Conference contest Nov. 1 at McArthur Field.
Western Oregon's Chad Boyd picked off a pass on the third play of the game and returned it 41 yards for a touchdown. After Central Washington fumbled on the ensuing kickoff return, the Wolves converted that turnover into a 36-yard field goal by Andrew Keippela. With just 1:54 elapsed, the Wolves led 10-0.
Then the Wildcats got into gear.
Led by quarterback Zak Hill's hot hand and a corps of receivers with great hands, the Wildcats rolled up 329 yards and five touchdowns through the air. End Jake Roberts (12 catches, 157 yards, 2 TDs) and wideouts Moses Lewis (seven for 83, 2 TDs) and Nate Brookreson (three for 82 and a TD) combined to do the bulk of the damage for Central Washington. The Wildcats scored two touchdowns in each quarter of the game.
WOU fought back after relinquishing their early lead, cutting a 35-17 Wildcats margin to 49-38 late in the fourth quarter. But an interception deep in their own territory set up Central Washington's last touchdown and sealed the Wolves' fate.
Both teams had standout offensive performances. Hill finished 23 of 31 for 329 yards and a career-high five touchdown passes, while the Wolves Ryan Thorson was 19 of 32 for 168 yards and a pair of scores. WOU's Brad Satran had 11 catches for 114 yards.
Central's Emilio Iniguez rushed for 129 yards on 26 carries, and Western's Michael Ramirez finished with 96 yards on 165 carries.
But in the end Central's offense was too much for the Wolves to overcome.
"Their quarterback really got the hot hand today, and their receivers went up over our DBs for some good catches," said WOU head coach Duke Iverson. "I didn't expect that much offensive production out of them. We have to hand it to them 0-- they went out and made the plays. Anytime we score 44 points I think we ought to be pretty happy, but it wasn't enough today."
The Wolves were also hurt by a spate of penalties, finishing with 12 for 105 yards.
"Several of those penalties came at crucial times that really hurt us," said Iverson, "and those are the kind of mistakes we can't make against a good team like Central."
The win moved Central Washington's record to 5-3 overall and 2-1 in GNAC play, while Western Oregon fell to 3-5 and 0-1 in the GNAC. The Wolves host Humboldt State next Saturday, Nov. 8 with a 2 p.m. Homecoming start.