Wildcats close out season with 42-14 win over Dixie State - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Wildcats close out season with 42-14 win over Dixie State

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ELLENSBURG, Wash. -- Running backs Ishmael Stinson (Tacoma, Wash./Charles Wright Academy) and Levi Taylor (Spokane, Wash./Lewis and Clark HS) combined for 255 rushing yards and three touchdowns, and the Central Washington University defense held Dixie State College of Utah to 196 yards of total offense, as the Wildcats rolled to a 42-14 football victory over the Red Storm on Saturday afternoon at Tomlinson Stadium.

The Wildcats wrapped up their 2011 season with a 4-6 overall record and a third-place finish in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference standings at 4-4. Dixie State ended the year at 1-10 overall and 1-7 in the GNAC.

Stinson ran for a season-high 129 yards and one touchdown on 15 carries, while Taylor had 126 yards on 27 carries with two scores as the Wildcats totaled 283 rushing yards in the victory. All but one of Taylor's carries came in the first half as Central Washington built a 28-0 lead at the break, which the Wildcats eventually pushed to 42-0 before a pair of late scores by the Red Storm.

The game's opening points came from the CWU special teams, as senior Dominique Gaisie (West Covina, Calif./Bishop Amat Memorial HS) had a 63-yard punt return with just under five minutes expired in the contest to give the Wildcats a 7-0 lead. The punt return touchdown was the first such score by a CWU player since Oct. 9, 2004 against Eastern Oregon.

Senior Justin Helwege (Sammamish, Wash./Eastlake HS), one of 11 seniors honored prior to their final collegiate game on Saturday, gave Central Washington its first offensive points of the game with a 20-yard touchdown catch from junior Jose Mohler (Cardiff, Calif./La Costa Canyon HS) with 4:34 left in the opening quarter to make it a 14-0 lead.

Both second quarter scores belonged to Taylor, who finished his redshirt freshman campaign with nine rushing touchdowns. He had a two-yard TD run on the first play from scrimmage in the second period, and then added a three-yard scoring carry with 53 seconds to go before halftime, as the Wildcats led 28-0 at the break.

In the second half, Central Washington scored just twice, as Helwege had a 37-yard touchdown grab from Mohler with 8:24 remaining in the third quarter on what proved to be the final catch of his collegiate career. Stinson then added a 17-yard touchdown run early in the fourth quarter that gave the Wildcats a 42-point margin.

Dixie State scored twice in the final 4:07 to break the shutout, as Cache Morgan had an 80-yard punt return for a touchdown and Darren Carter caught a five-yard touchdown pass from backup quarterback Kaleo Nawahine in the closing minute.

In the passing department, Central Washington posted its lowest single-game total for pass attempts since Oct. 22, 1988 (at Pacific Lutheran) by attempting just 12 passes. In addition, the Wildcats' 80 passing yards were their lowest total since Sept. 2, 2000 (at North Dakota).

The CWU defense had its way with Dixie State, holding the Red Storm to 68 yards of offense in the first half and just the 196-yard total for the game. The Wildcats finished with five quarterback sacks of Stefan Cantwell, who had run for 103 yards in the first meeting between the two schools three weeks ago in St. George, Utah. Cantwell and the Dixie State offense made it into the red zone just once, and managed just five net rushing yards on Saturday.

Among the Wildcat defenders with sacks of Cantwell were seniors Mike Reno (Ellensburg, Wash./Kittitas HS) and Taylor Tanasse (Yakima, Wash./West Valley HS), who were each credited with 1 1/2 sacks in their final collegiate game. Fellow senior defensive lineman Andrew Oney (Spanaway, Wash./Spanaway Lake HS) added 1/2 of a sack, while sophomore linebackers Riley Wall (Olympia, Wash./Capital HS) and Stetson Shearer (Burlington, Wash./Burlington-Edison HS) also joined in on the sack parade. Wall, whose sack was the first of his career and came on a fake punt attempt by Cantwell, had one of two interceptions by the CWU defense in the game. Junior Genesis Fonoimoana (Long Beach, Calif./Long Beach Poly HS), who finished the year with a team-leading five interceptions, also had a pick in Saturday's finale.

Redshirt freshman Cole Graves (Kirkland, Wash./Juanita HS) finished as the Wildcats' leading tackler with seven stops, followed by Wall with six and Fonoimoana and Reno with five apiece.

Joe Don Duncan had eight receptions for 75 yards for Dixie State, and Cantwell completed just 17 of 36 passes for 158 yards before being relieved by Nawahine (4 of 6, 33 yards) in the fourth quarter. Jesse Ence finished as the Red Storm's leading rusher with 15 yards on six carries.

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