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More Than Just A Title On The Line In Ellensburg
Central Washington running back Cedric Cooper rushed for 203 yards Saturday in the Wildcats' 74-28 drubbing of Southwest Baptist.
Central Washington running back Cedric Cooper rushed for 203 yards Saturday in the Wildcats' 74-28 drubbing of Southwest Baptist.

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Central Washington has already assured itself a share of its second straight GNAC football championship. Azusa Pacific would love to score the upset in Ellensburg and claim part of that title for themselves.

But more than a title will be on the line when the two teams meet at Tomlinson Stadium. Both will be trying to convince the committee that they belong in the postseason.

Central Washington enters the week ranked No. 8 in the NCAA’s Super Region 4 Rankings, the metric that will ultimately decide which teams will make the postseason when the field is announced on Sunday. Azusa Pacific is No. 9.

The Wildcats enter Saturday’s contest having done nothing but get better. At 49 points per game and 538 yards of total offense, Central Washington enters with the third-ranked offense in Division II. The Wildcats have converted on 90 percent of their trips to the red zone, ranking eighth nationally, and is ranked in the Division II top-30 in both passing and rushing.

Azusa Pacific, meanwhile, has seen its share of close games over the last two weeks. The Cougars escaped Western Oregon with a last-minute touchdown on Oct. 27 and needed overtime and a Jacob Hall field goal to escape Humboldt State last Saturday with a 20-17 victory. The Cougars are averaging 28.8 points and 398.8 yards of total offense per game.

In the final weekend’s other conference game, two other teams will be looking for wins for a whole other reason as Simon Fraser hosts Humboldt State. The Clan won their first game of the season, a 54-7 victory over Division III Willamette, but have not won since.
The Lumberjacks, meanwhile, want to see it all end on a positive note. The game will be the last for Humboldt before the program is discontinued. Over 4,300 came out to the Redwood Bowl last Saturday to witness the program’s final home game.

Western Oregon will close its season on the road in non-conference play, traveling to Eastern New Mexico.

THIS WEEK'S GNAC PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
OFFENSIVE
Cedric Cooper, Central Washington
RB • 5-11 • Senior • Seattle, Wash.

Cooper was selected for the second straight week after he carried 18 times for 203 yards and four touchdowns in Central Washington’s 74-28 win at Southwest Baptist. He also caught three passes for 22 yards. Three of his touchdowns came in the first half in addition to breaking off a 57-yard run early in the fourth quarter.

Also Nominated: Gaige Allen (Azusa Pacific), Colby Stevens (Humboldt State), Omari Land (Western Oregon).

DEFENSIVE
Donte Hamilton, Central Washington
DB • 6-2 • Junior • Mukilteo, Wash.

Hamilton led the Central Washington defense with 13 tackles, which included six solo tackles and a half-tackle for loss. He also made an interception in the third quarter, running it back 64 yards for a touchdown.

Also Nominated: Josh Olave (Azusa Pacific), Moses Finau (Humboldt State), Griffin Barrett (Simon Fraser), Bo Highburger (Western Oregon).

SPECIAL TEAMS
Jacob Hall, Azusa Pacific
P/K • 6-2 • Senior • Greenville, Ill.

Hall converted on all four of his kicks, including the game-winning 13-yard field goal in overtime, to lead the Cougars to a 20-17 overtime win at Humboldt State. He connected on a 22-yard field goal in the third quarter and also went 2 for 2 on point-after conversions. In addition, Hall punted three times for an average of 42.7 yards per punt.

Also Nominated: Aidan Daily (Humboldt State), Isaiah Abraham (Western Oregon).

AROUND THE GNAC
AZUSA PACIFIC
LAST WEEK: Nov. 3: Beat Humboldt State, 20-17 (OT)
THIS WEEK: Nov. 10: at Central Washington, 1 p.m.

• After engaging in a close contest for the first 60 minutes, Azusa Pacific used a 13-yard field goal by senior Jacob Hall to escape Humboldt State’s final home game with a 20-17 victory.

• Hall was selected as the GNAC Special Teams Player of the Week for his effort to win the game for the Cougars. He also made a 22-yard field goal in the third quarter, went 2 for 2 on point-after attempts and also punted three times for an average of 42.7 yards per punt. Hall leads the GNAC and is sixth in Division II in punting, averaging 43.8 yards per punt.

• The Cougars were held well below their average of 398.8 yards per game, finishing with 345 yards of total offense. Sophomore Tyrone Williams, Jr., paced the APU passing game, completing 15 of 24 passes for 186 yards. Williams is second in the GNAC with 260.1 total offense yards per game and 226.4 passing yards per game. Williams is also 26th in Division II with a .618 completion percentage.

• Senior wide receiver Gaige Allen caught seven passes for 103 yards, leading a total of five APU players to catch passes. Allen enters the week third in the GNAC with 55.4 receiving yards per game.

• Senior running back Aaron Baltazar led three Azusa Pacific rushing threats as he carried 18 times for 93 yards and both of the Cougars’ touchdowns. Senior running back Bryce Grandison carried 16 times for 63 yards. He is sixth in the GNAC with 46 rushing yards per game.

• Sophomore linebacker Ben Sukut led the APU defense with 13 tackles while junior linebacker Willie Fair added 11 tackles, a half-sack and a half tackle for loss. Fair enters the week tied for seventh in the GNAC with 6.8 tackles per game and leads the league with 0.55 sacks per game (5.5 total).

• Azusa Pacific is still among teams receiving votes in this week’s AFCA Division II Coaches Poll, receiving nine points, and remained No. 9 in this week’s NCAA Super Region 4 rankings.

• Azusa Pacific enters the week second in the GNAC with 398.8 total offense yards, 151.8 rushing yards and 28.8 points per game. The Cougars are third in Division II with 3.60 team sacks per game, fourth with 39.55 net punting yards per game and ninth with 3.80 tackles for loss allowed per game.

• Azusa Pacific will play at Central Washington to close the regular season on Saturday. A win over the Wildcats would give the Cougars a share of their first GNAC championship since 2016.

CENTRAL WASHINGTON
LAST WEEK: Nov. 3: Beat Southwest Baptist, 74-28
THIS WEEK: Nov. 10: Hosts Azusa Pacific, 1 p.m.

• In its final non-conference game of the year, Central Washington set a GNAC single-game record with nine rushing touchdowns and tied records for total touchdowns in a game as the Wildcats rolled past Southwest Baptist, 74-28.

• The nine rushing touchdowns surpassed the previous record of seven set by Azusa Pacific against Dixie State in 2014 and matched by Humboldt State at South Dakota Mines in 2015. The 11 touchdowns in a game tied the mark set by  Western Washington in 2001 and tied two times last season. The Wildcats’ 10 offensive touchdowns tied the record also set by WWU in 2001.

• The Wildcats also moved up one spot to No. 18 in this week’s AFCA Division II Coaches Top-25 Poll. The Wildcats are No. 8 in the NCAA Super Region 4 rankings for the second straight week.

• Senior running back Cedric Cooper was named the GNAC Offensive Player of the Week for the second straight week after he carried 18 times for 203 yards and four touchdowns, which included a long run of 57 yards in the second half. He paced a CWU effort that saw the offense roll of 514 rushing yards and 667 yards of total offense. Cooper enters the week second in the GNAC with 90.4 rushing yards per game and 18th in Division II with 14 total touchdowns.

• Sophomore running back Michael Roots also had a 100-plus yard rushing day, finishing with 140 yards and two touchdowns on 19 carries. Roots leads the GNAC with 100.4 rushing yards per game and is third in Division II with 7.84 yards per carry.

• Senior quarterback Reilly Hennessey completed 10 of 16 passes for 153 yards and a touchdown and also rushed 10 times for 82 yards and two scores. Hennessey leads the GNAC and is 19th in Division II with 280.4 total offense yards per game. He also leads the league and is 28th in Division II with 239 passing yards per game.

• Junior defensive back Donte Hamilton was selected as the GNAC Defensive Player of the Week after he led the Wildcats with 13 tackles, including six solo tackles and a half tackle for loss. Hamilton also came up with one of the Wildcats’ three interceptions, returning it 64 yards for a touchdown in the third quarter. Hamilton is fourth in the GNAC with 7.8 tackles per game.

• Central Washington leads the GNAC and is third in Division II with 538 yards of total offense per game. The Wildcats lead the league and are 10th in Division II with 274.4 rushing yards per game and rank second in the GNAC and 30th in Division II with 263.6 passing yards per game.

• Central Washington has assured itself at least a share of its second straight GNAC championship. The Wildcats can claim the title outright with a home win over Azusa Pacific in the regular season finale on Saturday.

HUMBOLDT STATE
LAST WEEK: Nov. 3: Lost to Azusa Pacific, 20-17 (OT)
THIS WEEK: Nov. 10: at Simon Fraser, 1 p.m.
 
• In the final home game at the Redwood Bowl, Humboldt State gave fans a thriller of a game with Azusa Pacific, but could not convert in overtime in a 20-17 loss to the Cougars.

• The Lumberjacks finished with a total of 361 yards in total offense and held onto the ball for over 32 minutes. The Humboldt defense succeeded in holding APU to 345 yards of total offense. The Cougars entered the game averaging 404 yards per game.

• Sophomore quarterback Joey Sweeney led three HSU quarterbacks who combined for 237 passing yards, completing 11 of 14 passes for 111 yards. Senior Brenden Davis completed 6 of 10 passes for 68 yards and freshman Andrew Tingstad completed 7 of 9 for 58 yards. Sweeney enters the week fifth in the GNAC with 142.7 passing yards per game.

• All of Humboldt’s scoring came from the ground game. Senior running back Tyree Marzetta carried 24 times for 80 yards and scored the Lumberjacks’ first touchdown in the second quarter. Tingstad rushed three times for 27 yards and a touchdown as well. Marzetta is third in the GNAC with 82.9 rushing yards per game.

• Sophomore linebacker Demetrick Watts led the Humboldt State defense with 13 tackles while freshman linebacker Moses Finau finished with 11 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss and a sack. Watts is third in the GNAC with 8.2 tackles per game while Finau is sixth with 7.7 tackles per game.

• Humboldt State enters the week averaging 313.6 total offense yards per game and is fourth in the GNAC with 128.9 rushing yards per contest. The Lumberjacks are second in the GNAC in punting, averaging 34.2 yards per punt.

• The final game in the history of Humboldt State football takes place north of the border as the Lumberjacks close the season, and the program, at Simon Fraser on Saturday.

SIMON FRASER
LAST WEEK: Nov. 3: Lost to Western Oregon, 39-0
THIS WEEK: Nov. 10: vs. Humboldt State, 1 p.m.

• Simon Fraser was limited to just 70 yards of total offense and advanced the ball past midfield just once in a 39-0 loss to Western Oregon on Saturday.

• Offense was hard to come by all day as the Clan finished with minus 44 yards rushing and 114 yards passing. Senior quarterback Miles Richardson completed 9 of 28 passes for 111 yards and was intercepted twice. Richardson currently ranks third in the GNAC with 192.1 passing yards per game and 204.8 yards of total offense per game.

• Freshman wide receiver Robert Meadors led five Simon Fraser receivers, making five catches for 50 yards. Meadors enters the week seventh in the GNAC with 44.4 receiving yards per game.

• Freshman kicker Kees Metselaar kept busy much of the day, punting 11 times for an average of 35.5 yards per punt. Metselaar is third in the GNAC with an average of 37.1 yards per punt.

• Sophomore linebacker Griffin Barrett had a monster day on defense for Simon Fraser, finishing with 19 tackles, eight solo tackles and one tackle for loss. In all, the Clan had 10 tackles for loss for a total of 30 yards. Barrett enters the week fifth in the GNAC with 7.8 tackles per game.

• Simon Fraser leads the GNAC and is 24th in Division II with 277.6 passing yards per game and rank third in the GNAC with 326.3 total offense yards per game. The Clan is 17th in Division II with 11 fumble recoveries and 24th in fewest penalty yards with 481.

• The Clan will close the 2018 season with a historic game, hosting Humboldt State for its final game at Terry Fox Field.

WESTERN OREGON
LAST WEEK: Nov. 3: beat Simon Fraser, 39-0
THIS WEEK: Nov. 10: at Eastern New Mexico, 1 pm (MST)
 
• Western Oregon rolled up 376 yards of total offense, including 257 rushing yards, while the defense allowed Simon Fraser just 70 yards of total offense in a 39-0 shutout of the Clan in the Wolves’ final conference game of the season.

• Freshman running back Omari Land did the most damage for the Wolves in the ground game, carrying 20 times for 174 yards and the Wolves’ first offensive touchdown of the game. Land is currently fourth in the GNAC with 71.7 rushing yards per game. Junior running back Niko Jackson added 58 yards on 25 carries. He enters the week seventh in the GNAC with 44.9 rushing yards per game.

• Junior quarterback Ty Currie completed 13 of his 23 passes for 119 yards and two interceptions while spreading the passing offense between nine different receivers. Freshman wide receiver Tyler Sweet caught two of those passes for 26 yards and a touchdown while freshman wide receiver Marquis Sampson caught one pass for 26 yards and a touchdown. Currie enters the week fourth in the GNAC with 173 passing yards per game.

• Senior linebacker Bo Highburger led the Western Oregon defense with six tackles, five of which were solo efforts, and 1.5 tackles for loss for nine yards. Highburger also had a role on offense, running two yards for a touchdown in the fourth quarter. Highburger leads the GNAC with 8.5 tackles per game, is tied for 22nd in Division II with 0.30 forced fumbles per game and 28th with 5.5 solo tackles per game.

• Western Oregon enters the week ranked fourth in the GNAC with 322.4 total offense yards per game and third with 25.6 points per game. The Wolves are tied for 10th in Division II with 24 turnovers gained, tied for fifth with four defensive touchdowns and 27th in time of possession (32:14 per game).

• The Wolves close out the 2018 season on the road at Eastern New Mexico.

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