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Football Kicks Off Saturday Against Cal Lutheran

Dalton Ritchey (10)
Dalton Ritchey (10)

THIS WEEK: The Pacific Lutheran University football team hosts the nationally ranked California Lutheran Kingsmen in the season opener for both teams. Kickoff is scheduled for 12:30 p.m. at Sparks Stadium in Puyallup.

FOLLOW THE LUTES: You can listen to PLU football action throughout the year in the Tacoma area on KLAY 1180 AM with Steve Thomas and Karl Hoseth calling the action. The broadcasts are also available online on the KLAY website ( Additionally, listeners can access the PLU football broadcasts on the PLU athletics website at, then clicking on Listen Live and following the link.

SERIES HISTORY: The Lutes and Kingsmen have met 17 times in the two team's previous history, which dates back to 1967. This non-conference match up has become a yearly occurrence as the two teams have met every year since 2004. Overall, the Lutes hold a 9-8 edge in the series. Cal Lutheran won last year's contest, 28-17, at Griffin Stadium in Moorpark, Calif. PLU's most recent win in the series came in 2010 when the Lutes upset the then No. 15-ranked Kingsmen, 35-21, at Sparks Stadium.

LAST YEAR: Cal Lutheran rolled up 552 yards of total offense on the way to a 28-17 non-conference football win over the visiting Lutes. The Kingsmen broke away from a 7-3 halftime lead with 21 third-quarter points before surrendering a pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns to the Lutes. Cal Lutheran rushed for 281 net rushing yards, including Daniel Mosier's 166 on 16 carries. Mosier scored on touchdown runs of one yard in the opening quarter and two yards in the third period. Kingsmen quarterback Jake Laudenslayer was 13-for-23 for 271 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions. His 70-yard scoring strike to Frankie Jones capped CLU's scoring in the third period and gave the hosts a 28-3 lead. After falling behind 7-0 in the early going, the Lutes closed the first half with an impressive 18-play, 77-yard scoring drive capped by Nick Kaylor's 37-yard field goal. The Lutes converted a 4th-and-five play to keep the drive alive. Quarterback Zack Halverson added fourth quarter touchdown passes of 42 yards to Alex McDiarmid and two yards to Daniel Herr. The Lutes accumulated 301 yards of total offense, including 82 rushing yards on 20 carries by Brandon James. Halverson was 23-for-38 passing for 240 yards, the two touchdowns, and no interceptions. Herr, then a freshman wide receiver playing his first college game, led the Lutes with five catches for 43 yards. McDiarmid had four receptions for 64 yards, James had four for 46 yards, and Tyler Bowen added four more catches for 43 yards. Safety Sean McFadden had nine tackles, including a tackle for loss, and an interception to lead the PLU defense. Senior cornerback Justin Whitman added seven tackles and a forced fumble from his cornerback spot.

ABOUT THE COACHES: Scott Westering is in his ninth year as head coach at Pacific Lutheran, where he has compiled a 40-32 overall record. Scott joined the PLU coaching staff in 1981 after playing tight end for the Lutes under his father, Frosty Westering. He was a senior captain on PLU's 1980 NAIA national championship team. Scott served as the Lutes' offensive coordinator from 1983-2003, helping PLU to two NAIA Division II and one NCAA Division III national championships, as well as four runner-up finishes. He has coached 11 first team All-Americans, including the 2000 NCAA Division III Player of the Year, Chad Johnson. Scott was a captain and All-American tight end on the 1980 PLU team that won the Lutes' first NAIA national championship. He was inducted into the PLU Hall of Fame in 1998. Ben McEnroe has led Cal Lutheran to four conference titles in five previous seasons, including consecutive Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference championships in 2009, 2010 and 2011. They are the only three campaigns in CLU football history in which the team has posted undefeated SCIAC records. Heading into the 2012 season, CLU has won 20 SCIAC football games in a row under McEnroe's direction.

LUTES LAST YEAR: Pacific Lutheran finished with a 6-3 overall record in 2011. The Lutes were 4-2 in the Northwest Conference, good for a second place tie with Lewis & Clark and two games behind NWC champion Linfield.

CAL LUTHERAN LAST YEAR: The Kingsmen were 8-2 overall in 2011, including a 6-0 conference record and their third consecutive Division III first-round road playoff loss to Linfield. Cal Lutheran lost that game despite outgaining the Wildcats, 44-296, in total yards.

ABOUT THE LUTES: There are several questions regarding the 2012 Pacific Lutheran football team that will be answered during the first several weeks of the season. For the sixth consecutive year, there will be a new starting quarterback. Sophomores Dalton Ritchey and Kevin Russell are essentially 1A and 1B, with Ritchey slated to start on Saturday. How quickly these two players develop will go a long way toward determining the Lutes' ability to put points on the board. Ritchey and Russell both came into the program in 2011 as quarterbacks, though Ritchey was moved to wide receiver early in the season to take advantage of his athleticism. He ended up leading the team with 24 receptions. Whichever quarterback gets the most snaps, he will work behind a solid offensive line anchored by a trio of returning starters – right tackle Kyle Hofmann, center Court Knoblauch, and left guard Chris Edison. Sophomores Kyle Warner and Daniel Herr had solid freshman seasons and return to lead the receiving corps. Tight end Lucas Sontra could factor in as a primary offensive weapon this season. The running game has experience in tailback Brandon James, who led the 2011 Lutes in rushing with 527 yards. On defense, the 3-4 defense will benefit greatly from the return of starting ends Sam Lavis and Thomas Haney and nose tackle Mychael Tuiasosopo, all juniors. Junior Jordan Patterson returns at linebacker, but the Lutes will have to learn quickly as three of the four starting 'backers will do so for the first time. Junior Sean McFadden, a two-time all-conference free safety, anchors a secondary that also includes senior cornerback Tayler Angevine, who will also be in the kick and punt return rotation. Special teams is solid with punter Conor Lien and placekicker Nick Kaylor, both returning starters.

WHO TO WATCH: Cal Lutheran senior wide receiver Eric Rogers has been named a Division III preseason first team All-American by two different publications. Rogers, an impressive and explosive athlete at 6-feet, 4-inches, had 42 catches for 948 yards and nine touchdowns last season. He enters the season with 23 career touchdown receptions and needs three touchdowns to break the school record. Also an accomplished track athlete, Rogers finished third and set a new school record in the triple jump at the 2012 NCAA Division III Outdoor Track and Field Championships held last May.

MORE ABOUT CAL LUTHERAN: The aforementioned Eric Rogers and Frankie Jones are talented senior wide receivers that give two excellent options to starting senior quarterback Kevin Ramay. The offensive line features returning starters Jordan Austin and Ty Olsen. Austin is a 330-pound senior left tackle and Olson a 250-pound junior left guard, and they are expected to bulldoze the way for tailback Romello Goodman, a freshman listed at just 5-5 and 165 pounds. Defensively, 280-pound defensive end Rian Younker and 255-pound nose guard James Emma will return to anchor a stout defensive line. Younker was named to the preseason Second Team All-America list. In the secondary, free safety Broc Galbreth and cornerback Tim Cozine are seniors who will bring a strong veteran presence.

BUCKLE UP: Pacific Lutheran's 2012 season opens with arguably the toughest three-game slate of any team in NCAA Division III. All three of PLU's opponents are nationally ranked according to this week's Top 25 poll. Cal Lutheran, this Saturday's opponent, is ranked No. 11, while Redlands, the opponent on Sept. 15, holds down the No. 14 spot. That game will be played at night in Redlands, Calif. The final of those three tough opening foes is none other than three-time defending conference champion Linfield, which is ranked No. 5 in the Top 25. Of that trio only Linfield has played a game this season. Last Saturday, the Wildcats rolled to a 30-9 non-conference win over Menlo.

2012 Football Fact Sheet

SCHOOL: Pacific Lutheran University
LOCATION:  Tacoma, WA 98447
PRESIDENT: Dr. Thomas W. Krise
CONFERENCE: Northwest Conference
COLORS: Black and Gold
HOME STADIUM / CAPACITY: Sparks Stadium (Puyallup, Wash.) / 4,500
HEAD COACH: Scott Westering
ALMA MATER: Pacific Lutheran, 1980
ASSISTANT COACHES: Jud Keim (Assistant Head Coach/Running Backs); Craig McCord (Defensive Coordinator); Trevor Roberts (Offensive Coordinator/Offensive Line); David LaSalata (Defensive Assistant); Jim Lindberg (Defensive Assistant); Dane Looker (Receivers); Paul Hoseth (Consultant); Conor McNeill (Offensive Assistant); Andy Sturza (Defensive Assistant); Jesse Hull (Defensive Assistant).
BASIC OFFENSE: Multiple sets
2011 RECORD: 6-3
2011 CONFERENCE RECORD (FINISH): 4-2 (2nd tie)

Chris Edison (OL, 6-0, 275, Jr./Jr., University Place, Wash. / Curtis HS); Daniel Herr (WR, 5-8, 170, So./So., Eugene, Ore. / Sheldon HS; 2011: 17 rec., 171 yards, 2 TDs); Kyle Hofmann (OL, 6-4, 300, Sr./Jr., Orcas Island, Wash. / Univ. of Montana); Brandon James (RB, 6-1, 205, Sr./Jr., Gig Harbor, Wash. / Peninsula HS; 2011: 123 carries, 527 yards, 3 TDs); Court Knoblauch (OL, 5-11, 270, Sr./Sr., Sumner, Wash. / Life Christian Academy); Kyle Warner (WR, So./So., 6-3, 205, Tumwater, Wash. / Tumwater; 2011: 22 rec., 308 yards, 4 TDs).

Tayler Angevine (DB, Sr./Sr., 5-9, 165, Kent, Wash. / Kentlake; 2011: Honorable Mention All-Northwest Conference, 27 tackles, 1 int.); Sam Lavis (DL, 6-0, 230, Jr./Jr., Spokane, Wash. / Gonzaga Prep); Sean McFadden (DB, 6-1, 195, So., Honolulu, Hawaii / Punahou; 2011: Second Team All-Northwest Conference, 45 tackles, 4 int.); Jordan Patterson (LB, Jr./Jr., 6-2, 240, Lakewood, Wash. / Lakes; 2011: 41 tackles, 6.5 TFL); Mychael Tuiasosopo (DL Jr./Jr., 6-0, 270, Everett, Wash. / Mariner; 2011: 36 tackles, 7 TFL, 3 QB sacks).

Nick Kaylor (PK, Sr./Jr., 5-8, 190, Bothell, Wash. / Bothell; 2011: 5-6 FG, 37 long, 17-20 PAT); Conor Lien (P, 6-3, 195, Jr., Hillsboro, Ore. / Glencoe HS; 2011: 34.5 avg.).

Passing: Kevin Russell, 0-1-0-0
Rushing:  Brandon James, 123 carries, 527 yards, 3 TDs
Receiving: Kyle Warner, 22 receptions, 308 yards, 4 TDs
Scoring: Nick Kaylor, 5-6 FGs, 17-20 Kick, 32 points
Tackles: Sean McFadden, 45 total tackles, 4 int.

- PLU -