Linfield wins Division III playoff game, 31-20

Dec 6, 2009 - 12:51 AM By ANNE M. PETERSON AP Sports Writer

MCMINNVILLE, Ore.(AP) -- Out with a broken collarbone earlier this season, there was a point when Linfield running back Simon Lamson considered taking a medical redshirt.

But the Wildcats kept winning.

"Another year would have been great, but in perspective, how many more years is it going to be like this?" he said.

In his fourth game back, Lamson ran for 85 yards and a career-best three touchdowns, and Linfield defeated St. Thomas of Minnesota 31-20 on Saturday in an NCAA Division III quarterfinal game.

Aaron Boehme threw for 256 yards and a touchdown for the Wildcats (12-0), who won the Division III championship in 2004. Linfield advances to face Wisconsin-Whitewater next Saturday in a semifinal game.

Wisconsin-Whitewater (13-0) defeated Wittenberg 31-13 on Saturday.

After the game at Maxwell Field, many of the Linfield players wore leis made of candy, a gift from the parents of the team's Hawaiian players.

"It's insane how great our chemistry is," Lamson said.

Dakota Tracy threw for 156 yards and two touchdowns for the Tommies (11-2), who had not been to the playoffs since 1990.

"I'm sure in time we'll understand the magnitude of what went on this year, but right now it's hurtful," said St. Thomas coach Glenn Caruso.

The Wildcats are making their fifth appearance in the playoffs since joining the division 12 years ago.

Lamson ran for a pair of 1-yard touchdowns in the first quarter, and Linfield built a 24-14 lead by the half. His third score came on a 2-yard run after St. Thomas had narrowed it to 24-20.

Lamson, a junior, broke his collarbone in the Linfield's second game and missed the next six. He played off the bench on Saturday.

The Tommies scored early in the second quarter on Ben Wartman's 3-yard run to narrow it to 14-7, but Linfield answered with Marika Kunioka's 41-yard field goal and Boehme's 12-yard scoring pass to Trevor Patterson.

Tracy found Jake Friederichs with a 4-yard scoring pass just before the half for St. Thomas.

The Tommies closed to within 24-20 on Tracy's 29-yard touchdown pass to Fritz Waldvogel, before Lamson's third TD on a 2-yard run.

"We just kind of have the mentality that we're going to get it done," Boehme said.

Linfield has the longest active streak of consecutive winning seasons among NCAA teams with 54. The Wildcats' last losing season was in 1995. Florida State is far behind with 33 straight winning seasons.

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