By Ally McAfee | Staff Writer
Last weekend, Whitworth University’s football team was crowned the champions of the Division III (D-III) Northwest Conference after defeating Linfield University on Linfield’s own turf.
“In the last game of the year, in the championship game, the battle of two unbeatens, [Whitworth] on the road in a setting that very few teams play well in; they battled and battled and refused to lose,” Head Coach Rod Sandberg said. After a close game, Whitworth snatched the title from Linfield with a winning score of 28 to 24 in the final quarter.
Not only did the Whitworth team take down Linfield in a high-stakes game, ending their opponent’s winning streak in the process, but they preserved an untouched record of domination throughout the season.
“They have done something that only five other teams in the long history of Whitworth football have accomplished: they had an undefeated, championship season,” said Sandberg. Out of 243 D-III teams, Whitworth was one of only 11 schools to claim such a performance this year.
“They had a vision of what they could be and went after it,” Sandberg said in praise of the team. In return for their hard work and success, the team’s determination will be rewarded with a shot at the national championship.
The first round of the championship will take place on Nov. 18, at Whitworth, followed by a second round on Nov. 25. The victors of the second round bracket will proceed to the quarter-finals on Dec. 2 and semi-finals on Dec. 9. The locations of these games will be decided later. The final contestants, after eliminating the rest of their brackets, will meet at Salem Stadium in Virginia on Friday, Dec. 15, for the national championship final.
With the upcoming home game, fans wait to witness Whitworth football take on some of the best teams in the country, starting with Chapman University in the first round.