Wildcats exact revenge on Western Oregon with 41-10 rout - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Wildcats exact revenge on Western Oregon with 41-10 rout

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by Jonathan Gordon (Assistant Athletic Director)

ELLENSBURG Wash-- Redshirt freshman running back Levi Taylor Spokane/Lewis and Clark HS) scored three first-half rushing touchdowns, and the Central Washington University defense held Western Oregon University to minus-21 yards rushing as the Wildcats cruised to a 41-10 victory over the Wolves on Saturday afternoon at Tomlinson Stadium.

The win was the second straight for CWU, which improved to 2-3 overall and 2-2 in Great Northwest Athletic Conference play. The Wildcats also finished with a split of the two-game season series with the Wolves (3-3, 3-1 GNAC), having lost to WOU 14-7 on Sept. 17 at Monmouth, Ore.

Taylor, who erupted for a career-high 153 yards in his first career start against Simon Fraser last week, had scoring carries of four, one, and five yards in the opening two quarters. His four-yard run opened the scoring in the first quarter, while his other two runs extended the Wildcats' lead to 21-3 with 9:16 to go in the first half.

The Central Washington defense helped set up two of Taylor's touchdowns. The Wildcats gained possession on a fumble recovery by junior Genesis Fonoimoana (Long Beach, Calif./Long Beach Poly HS) to set up the first score, and then the first career interception by sophomore Stetson Shearer (Burlington/Burlington-Edison HS). Two plays after Taylor's final score, Fonoimoana intercepted Western Oregon quarterback Cory vonAppen and returned the pick 41 yards for a touchdown -- Fonoimoana's second interception and first points as a Wildcat -- to push the lead to 27-3.

Neither team scored again until the fourth quarter, when, after taking over at midfield late in the third period, CWU junior quarterback Ryan Robertson (Sammamish/Eastlake HS) hooked up with junior Robert-Akeo-Orr (Spanaway/Bethel HS) on a 36-yard scoring pass on the second play of the final stanza. Robertson and Akeo-Orr had also connected on a six-yard pass earlier in the drive.

The Wildcats' scoring was capped on their next series after Robertson found a diving junior Armahd Lewis (Stockton, Calif./Edison HS) in the end zone on a 42-yard toss with 8:12 remaining to extend the lead to 38 points -- Central's largest of the season.

Western Oregon scored its only touchdown of the game with 4:57 left, as Evan Mozzochi found speedster Trevor Gates on a pass play over the middle, which Gates turned into a 95-yard receiving score.

The Wildcats, who committed five turnovers in their seven-point loss to the Wolves three weeks ago, finished with five takeaways of their own on Saturday. In addition to Fonoimoana's two takeaways and Shearer's interception, junior Kevin Puckett Jr. (Pomona, Calif./Garey HS) had his first career pick and sophomore Mike Smith (Atlanta, Ga./Booker T. Washington HS) recovered a fourth-quarter fumble. CWU also finished with 14 tackles for losses -- seven in each half -- sparked by 2 1/2 sacks from senior Andrew Oney (Spanaway/Spanaway Lake HS).

Robertson finished the game 15 of 24 for 198 yards with his two fourth-quarter touchdown tosses, and Akeo-Orr had a career-best game with five catches for 73 yards. Taylor led the CWU rushing attack with 116 yards on a career-high 29 carries, and the Wildcats totaled 174 yards with seven different ball carriers.

Western Oregon had just two players finish with positive rushing yards, and neither of those reached double figures. Mozzochi threw for 296 yards on 19 of 33 with two interceptions, but was sacked four times. Gates totaled 169 yards on six catches.

Central Washington will look to even its overall record next Saturday (Oct. 15), as the Wildcats host conference leader Humboldt State University (4-0, 3-0 GNAC entering tonight's game at UC Davis) at 1:05 p.m. inside Tomlinson Stadium. The game will be Central's annual Homecoming contest and will be televised live across eastern Washington and northern Idaho on Spokane-based SWX (Sports and Weather Right Now).

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