GNACSports.com
Saldana Boots Record, Wildcats Take Lead In Standings
Adrian Saldana's 55-yard field goal at Texas A&M-Kingsville broke a GNAC record that had stood since the first football game ever played in the conference.
Adrian Saldana's 55-yard field goal at Texas A&M-Kingsville broke a GNAC record that had stood since the first football game ever played in the conference.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

It’s one thing to break a record, but another to break a record that had the longevity of the one that Western Oregon’s Adrian Saldana broke on Saturday.

The Wolves’ senior kicker set a GNAC record with his 55-yard field goal that helped seal a 13-7 win at Texas A&M-Kingsville. That bettered the previous record of 54 yards that was set by Western Washington’s Justin Koenen against Central Oklahoma on Aug. 30, 2001. It was the first football game ever played by a team in the GNAC.

The kick was also the longest since Western Oregon’s Kelly Morgan booted a 53-yarder against Grand Valley State on Sept. 1, 2012.
Saldana accounted for seven of the Wolves’ 13 points in the victory, allowing WOU to improve to 3-3 on the season. After losing three straight to begin the season, WOU has now won three straight.

Western Oregon will open the second half at a Central Washington team that has moved into the driver’s seat in the conference title race. The Wildcats showcased themselves on the ESPN3 Division II Football Showcase on Saturday, knocking off Azusa Pacific, 45-31, in a matchup of two nationally-ranked teams.

The Wildcats scored six touchdowns, three of which were scored by sophomore running back Michael Roots. His 186 all-purpose yards, 152 rushing yards and three scores earned Roots selection as the GNAC Offensive Player of the Week.

Humboldt State collected the first win of its farewell season, successfully neutralizing a solid offensive effort by Simon Fraser for a 23-16 victory. The win was sealed by sophomore linebacker Demetrick Watts, who recovered a goal-line fumble for the winning touchdown. He also had eight tackles to earn GNAC Defensive Player of the Week honors.

Simon Fraser will host Azusa Pacific to open the second half of the season. Humboldt State will play the last non-conference game of its farewell season on Saturday at UT Permian Basin.

THIS WEEK'S GNAC FOOTBALL PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
OFFENSIVE
Michael Roots, Central Washington
RB • 5-11 • Sophomore • Seattle, Wash.

Roots finished with 186 all-purpose yards in the Wildcats’ 45-31 win over No. 24 Azusa Pacific in Saturday’s national-streamed game. He rushed for 152 yards and two touchdowns on 17 carries, which included a 76-yard touchdown run in the third quarter. He also caught one pass for 34 yards and a touchdown as he scored three of CWU’s five touchdowns.

Also Nominated: Tyree Manzetta (Humboldt State), Miles Richardson (Simon Fraser), Omari Land (Western Oregon).

DEFENSIVE
Demetrick Watts, Humboldt State
LB • 6-0 • Sophomore • Riverside, Calif.

Watts finished with eight tackles, one tackle for loss and one sack in the Lumberjacks’ 23-16 victory at home over Simon Fraser. He also recovered a fumble at the goal line for what proved to be the game-winning touchdown in the third quarter.

Also Nominated: Adrian Shocks (Azusa Pacific), Tevin Gray (Central Washington), Brad Lyons (Simon Fraser), Nathaniel Proctor, Jr. (Western Oregon).

SPECIAL TEAMS
Adrian Saldana, Western Oregon
K • 5-10 • Senior • West Covina, Calif.

Saldana accounted for seven of the team’s 13 points in the Wolves’ 13-7 non-conference road win at Texas A&M-Kingsville. He set a GNAC record with a 55-yard field goal in the third quarter, bettering the previous record of 54 yards kicked by Michael Koenen of Western Washington in 2001. Saldana opened the game with a 43-yard field goal and made the extra point after the Wolves’ third-quarter touchdown to go 19 for 19 on PAT attempts.

Also Nominated: Quinn Murdy (Humboldt State).

AROUND THE GNAC
AZUSA PACIFIC
LAST WEEK: Oct. 6: Lost to Central Washington, 45-31
THIS WEEK: Oct. 13: at Simon Fraser, 6 p.m.

• Hosting Central Washington and the Division II Football Showcase on ESPN3, Azusa Pacific was on the losing end of a 45-31 offensive showdown between the league’s top two teams.

• Azusa Pacific finished with 446 yards of total offense, but was limited to just 3 of 13 on third-down conversions. The Cougars were 3 of 4 on fourth-down conversions and a perfect 4 of 4 in the red zone.

• Junior quarterback Jesse Hanckel started in place of the injured Tyrone Williams, Jr., completing 15 of 37 passes for 314 yards and a pair of touchdowns.

• Senior wide receiver Weston Carr carried the passing game for the Cougars as he caught five passes for 153 yards and a pair of touchdowns, including a 72-yard reception from Hankel in the first quarter. Carr leads the GNAC and is 14th in Division II with 102.3 receiving yards per game. Carr is also fifth in Division II with nine receiving touchdowns and 16th with nine total touchdowns.

• Senior running back Gavin McDaniel paced a solid return game for the Cougars, running back seven kicks for 172 yards, which included a long return of 38 yards. McDaniel is third in the GNAC with 22.9 yards per kick return and is 16th in Division II with 462 combined kick return yards.

• Senior linebacker Aaron Berry finished with 11 tackles and one tackle for loss while sophomore defensive back Quentin Frazier also had 11 tackles to go with two tackles for loss and a half-sack. Berry leads the GNAC with 9.5 tackles per game and is sixth in Division II with 2.1 tackles for loss per game.

• The loss knocked Azusa Pacific out of the AFCA Division II Coaches Poll, but the Cougars are still among teams receiving votes with 17 points.

• Azusa Pacific enters the week leading second in the GNAC in total offense with 444.7 yards per game. The Cougars lead the league and are 20th in Division II with 285.5 passing yards per game. Defensively, APU is fourth in Division II with four team sacks per game and 18th with 8.8 tackles for loss per game.

• Azusa Pacific opens the second half of its GNAC schedule on the road at Simon Fraser on Saturday.

CENTRAL WASHINGTON
LAST WEEK: Oct. 6: Won at Azusa Pacific, 45-31
THIS WEEK: Oct. 13: Hosts Western Oregon, 6 p.m.

• Central Washington finished with 496 yards of total offense, scoring six touchdowns to beat Azusa Pacific, 45-31, in Saturday’s Division II Football Showcase game. The win allowed the Wildcats to move into sole possession of first place in the GNAC.

• With the win, Central Washington jumped four spots to No. 21 in this week’s AFCA Division II Coaches Top-25 Poll.

• Sophomore Michael Roots was named the GNAC Offensive Player of the Week after he finished with 186 all-purpose yards and scored three of the Wildcats’ touchdowns. Roots carried 17 times for 152 yards and a pair of touchdowns, including a 76-yard scoring run in the third quarter. He also caught one pass for 34 yards and a touchdown. Roots leads the GNAC with 117.2 all-purpose yards per game. He also leads the league with 87.8 rushing yards per game and is 11th in Division II with 6.93 yards per carry.

• Senior quarterback Reilly Hennessey completed 18 of 27 yards for 177 yards and a touchdown, spreading out his passes between eight different receivers, and also rushed for 108 yards and two touchdowns on 14 carries. Hennessey is second in the GNAC with 237.8 passing yards per game and 28th in Division II with 282.8 total offense yards per game. He is also 28th in Division II with 1,427 total passing yards and 25th with 16 points responsible for per game.

• Junior defensive back Donte Hamilton led the CWU defense with seven tackles, including three solo efforts. Junior linebacker Tevin Gray had three tackles and ran back an interception 40 yards. Hamilton enters the week second in the GNAC with eight tackles per game.

• Central Washington enters the week leading the GNAC and ranked ninth in scoring offense with 41 points per game. The Wildcats lead the GNAC and rank 18th in Division II with 237.2 rushing yards per game and is 12th in Division II with 487.2 yards of total offense per game. Central Washington is third in Division II with a .900 fourth-down conversion percentage and second with six blocked kicks on the season.

• Central Washington opens the second half of the GNAC season at home, hosting Western Oregon under the lights at Tomlinson Stadium.

HUMBOLDT STATE
LAST WEEK: Oct. 6: Beat Simon Fraser, 23-16
THIS WEEK: Oct. 13: at UT Permian Basin, 1 pm (CDT)
 
• Humboldt State scored the first 16 points of the game and sealed the victory with an interception and Demetrick Watts’ fumble recovery at the goal line as the Lumberjacks beat Simon Fraser, 26-13.

• Humboldt won despite just 300 yards of total offense and allowing Simon Fraser 434 total yards. The Lumberjacks capitalized on turnovers, recovering two fumbles and making one interception.

• Watts was selected as the GNAC Defensive Player of the Week after he finished with eight tackles, one tackle for loss and a sack along with the fumble recovery for what would be the winning touchdown for the Lumberjacks. Watts is eighth in the GNAC with 6.6 tackles per game.

• Much of Humboldt’s offensive damage came on the ground. Senior running back Tyree Marzetta led the way with 199 yards on 18 carries. He enters the week fifth in the GNAC with 49.2 rushing yards per game.

• Freshman quarterback Andrew Tingstad completed 8 of 23 passes for 121 yards and a touchdown while also carrying 13 times for 49 yards and a touchdown. Tingstad is fifth in the GNAC with 126.8 total offense yards per game and sixth with 103.8 passing yards per game.

• Freshman punter Quinn Murdy kept busy, kicking nine times for 350 yards, averaging 38.9 yards per punt. He had a long punt of 60 yards and landed three inside the 20-yard line.

• Humboldt State enters the week averaging 267.8 yards of total offense per game. The Lumberjacks have excelled in taking care of the ball on offense, ranking seventh in Division II with two passes intercepted and eighth with five turnovers lost.

• Humboldt State plays its final non-conference game this week, traveling to Odessa, Texas, to face UT Permian Basin.

SIMON FRASER
LAST WEEK: Oct. 6: Lost at Humboldt State, 23-16
THIS WEEK: Oct. 13: Hosts Azusa Pacific, 6 p.m.

• Simon Fraser finished with 434 yards of total offense, but found the end zone just twice in a 23-16 loss at Humboldt State on Saturday.

• Climbing back into the starting role for the first time in three games, senior quarterback Miles Richardson completed 24 of 44 passes for 321 yards and two touchdowns. He also carried nine times for 30 yards. He spread his passes out between six different receivers. Richardson is fourth in the GNAC with 175.5 total offense yards per game and 158.2 passing yards per game.

• Freshman wide receiver Robert Meadors led the SFU receiving corps with 98 yards on six catches. Junior wide receiver Rysen John had 46 yards and a four-yard touchdown reception while sophomore tight end Christian Phillips had 47 yards and a 17-yard touchdown reception in the fourth quarter. Meadors is currently fifth in the GNAC with 46.5 receiving yards per game and tied for first with 4.83 receptions per game.

• Freshman cornerback Joshua Phillips Verdugo and senior defensive back Ben Minaker each had seven tackles to lead the SFU defense with Verdugo finishing with three solo tackles and a fumble recovery. Sophomore linebacker Shane Ward had five tackles, one tackle for loss and a sack. Ward is seventh in the GNAC with 6.8 tackles per game.

• Simon Fraser enters the week second in the GNAC in passing offense with 264.7 yards per game and is third in total offense with 342.8 yards per game. The Clan leads Division II with 10 recovered fumbles and is tied for seventh with 16 turnovers gained.

• Simon Fraser opens the second half of the GNAC season at home, hosting Azusa Pacific on Saturday night.

WESTERN OREGON
LAST WEEK: Oct. 6: Beat Texas A&M-Kingsville, 13-6
THIS WEEK: Oct. 13: at Central Washington, 6 p.m.
 
• Senior kicker Adrian Saldana was the hero for Western Oregon on Saturday, accounting for seven of the Wolves’ points in a 13-6 road win at Texas A&M-Kingsville on Saturday.

• Saldana was named the GNAC Special Teams Player of the Week for his performance. He kicked a 43-yard field goal to open scoring and ended with a GNAC-record 55-yard field goal with 11:03 left in the game. The kick bettered the former record of 54 yards by Western Washington’s Justin Koenen on Aug. 30, 2001, toppling one of the conference’s oldest records. Saldana enters the week leading the GNAC and 23rd in Division II with 1.17 field goals per game.

• Western Oregon won the possession battle, holding onto the ball for almost 34 minutes, but finished with just 210 yards of total offense and entered the red zone just once.

• Freshman running back Omari Land led the WOU ground attack as he carried 25 times for 76 yards. Land enters the week fourth in the GNAC with 67.7 rushing yards per game and sixth with 72.3 all-purpose yards per game.

• Junior quarterback Ty Currie completed 7 of 23 passes for 71 yards and a touchdown while also rushing 15 times for 53 yards. His one scoring pass was a six-yard reception to freshman wide receiver Anthony Bradley in the third quarter. Currie enters the week ranked third in the GNAC with 229.5 total offense yards per game and 200 passing yards per game.

• On defense, senior linebacker Bo Highburger led the Wolves with seven tackles, one tackle for loss and a sack. Junior linebacker Andrew Weber also had seven tackles, which included four solo tackles. Highburger is fifth in the GNAC with 7.2 tackles per game and third with 1.33 tackles for loss per game.

• Western Oregon enters the week ranked third in the GNAC with 26 points per game and fourth with 341.3 total offense yards per game. The Wolves are ranked third in Division II in defensive touchdowns (3), seventh in red zone defense (.583) and turnovers gained (16) and 22nd in time of possession (32:29).

• Western Oregon opens the second half of the GNAC season on the road at GNAC leader Central Washington on Saturday.

Copyright ©2019 Great Northwest Athletic Conference. All Rights Reserved. GNACSports.com