Ranked Road Win Carries CWU To GNAC Team Of The Week
Quarterback Reilly Hennessey enjoyed a highlight-packed performance on Saturday to lead his team to a big road victory.
Quarterback Reilly Hennessey enjoyed a highlight-packed performance on Saturday to lead his team to a big road victory.

Monday, October 8, 2018

PORTLAND, Ore. – A top-25 meeting in an NCAA Division II Football Showcase matchup set the stage for plenty of drama on Saturday night in Glendora, California.

It was ultimately Central Washington who prevailed in the showdown with Azusa Pacific, using five rushing touchdowns and a late interception to secure the impressive road victory. The 45-31 win earned the Wildcats the selection as GNAC Team of the Week.

Head coach Ian Shoemaker’s team was led by a prolific offensive attack, featuring multiple-touchdown performances from quarterback Reilly Hennessey and running back Michael Roots. Hennessey ran for two touchdowns and threw for one more while amassing 285 total yards.

Roots had a standout showing as well, compiling 186 all-purpose yards and three total scores. His productive outing earned the sophomore recognition as the GNAC Football Offensive Player of the Week.

For Shoemaker, a strong running attack is exactly what the team had in mind coming into the game.

“We were committed to running the ball,” said Shoemaker. “We knew that for us to be successful with the athletes they have out on the perimeter and in their program that we were going to have to be the more physical team and run the ball.”

A strong ground game allowed the visitors to take a 17-17 tie into the locker rooms at halftime, a result that sat fine with the Wildcats.

“We went to halftime tied and we started the game off pretty well,” Shoemaker said. “We felt pretty good about ourselves. Everybody was looking around like ‘we are going to win this game.’ No one flinched and they just went to work.”

Work they did, finding the end zone three times in the third stanza to grab a commanding 14-point lead heading into the final 15 minutes of the game. That margin would hold thanks to a Tevin Grey interception and one last Roots touchdown scamper in the contest’s closing seconds.

With the victory, CWU moved up four spots to No. 21 in Monday’s AFCA Division II Coaches Top-25 Poll.

The team will go for its second straight win when it returns to the field on Saturday, Oct. 13 against Western Oregon in Ellensburg. The contest is scheduled for a 6 p.m. start at Tomlinson Stadium.