Central Washington wins GNAC title, awaits playoff draw




Central Washington completed an undefeated regular season and captured the Great Northwest Athletic Conference championship by defeating Humboldt State 42-28 on Saturday at Arcata, Calif.

It is the Wildcats’ first GNAC title since 2012.

The Wildcats (11-0) jumped all over Humboldt State (8-2) in the first quarter taking a 21-0 lead on a pair of passing touchdowns from Camas High grad Reilly Hennessey and a 22-yard touchdown run by Austin Pernell.

Up 21-7 to start the second quarter, Pernell took a handoff 80 yards for his second score of the season, and captured the Wildcats longest play from scrimmage this season. The senior running back followed with a 4-yard touchdown late in the quarter on a scoring drive that went 80 yards on nine plays taking 4:38 off the clock.

Hennessey capped the CWU scoring with a 1-yard touchdown run late in the third to give the Wildcats a 42-21 cushion.

Hennessey was 13 for 17 passing for 220 yards and the two touchdowns. He was also intercepted once and sacked three times.

The CWU defense set a school record by sacking Humboldt State 11 times to finish the season with 58 as a team, which also set a single-season record.

Battle Ground High grad Kevin Haynes, a senior linebacker, had 1 1/2 sacks along with a team-high nine total tackles, seven solo.

The Wildcats will learn its playoff seeding during a 2 p.m. selection show today that can be seen online at NCAA.com.

Big Sky

EASTERN WASHINGTON 21, AT NORTH DAKOTA 14 — Eric Barriere threw for a touchdown and ran for another in his first start, Sam McPherson rushed for 118 yards while throwing for one score and catching a TD pass and Eastern Washington topped North Dakota.

Barriere, filling in for suspended starter Gage Gubrud, connected with McPherson for a 14-yard touchdown in the second quarter and scored on a 1-yard sneak on the final play of the first half to give the Eagles a 21-7 lead.

McPherson tied the game at 7 for the Eagles (6-4, 5-2 Big Sky Conference) when he pulled up and tossed a 2-yard pass to Talolo Limu-Jones.

The Fighting Hawks (3-8, 2-6), who opened the scoring on Kelly Studsrud’s 7-yard run, pulled within a score on Koah Wanzek’s 2-yard pass to Studsrud with 4:37 to go. The defense forced a quick three-and-out but Jordan Dascalo boomed a 67-yard punt to the North Dakota 3. After a quick first down, the Eagle defense forced two incompletions and had a sack to seal the win between the two teams that tied for the title last year with 8-0 records.

Barriere completed 13 of 23 passes for 130 yards and ran for 55 more.

WEBER STATE 63, AT PORTLAND STATE 17 — Treshawn Garrett ran for 88 yards and three touchdowns as Weber State scored 56 unanswered points and cruised past winless Portland State.

Stefan Cantwell threw for 157 yards and a touchdown and ran for another score before leaving the second half to backup Braden Miles. Kevin Smith ran for 143 yards and two touchdowns and David Jones had 103 rushing yards and a score. Rashid Shaheed had a touchdown catch and a 90-yard kickoff return for another score.

The Wildcats (8-2, 6-1 Big Sky) capped nearly every drive with a score, including Cantwell’s 60-yard strike to Shaheed late in the second quarter, Garrett’s 51-yard TD dash early in the third, and Smith’s 75-yard scoring run for a 63-10 lead with 10:04 to play.

Davis Alexanderthrew for 370 yards and a touchdown for the Vikings (0-10, 0-7).

Northwest Conference

LINFIELD 35, AT PACIFIC 7 — Freshman Wyatt Smith passed for three touchdowns and Chidubem Nnoli ran for 113 yards and two scores as Linfield (8-1, 7-0 NWC) pounded Pacific in the regular-season finale for both clubs.

The Wildcats, who had already wrapped of the program’s ninth straight and 41st overall NWC championship last weekend, await today’s announcement of the full 32-team NCAA Division III playoff field. The playoff bracket will be revealed at 2:30 p.m. on NCAA.com.

AT WHITWORTH 57, WILLAMETTE 24 — Whitworth (8-2, 5-2) ran out to a 43-6 halftime lead on the way to the win in the season finale for both teams.

AT PACIFIC LUTHERN 40, LEWIS & CLARK 24 — Pacific Lutheran’s defense recorded nine sacks and had two interceptions in the season finale at Sparks Stadium. The Lutes finish 4-4 overall, 4-3 NWC.

GEORGE FOX 21, AT PUGET SOUND 7 — George Fox improved to a program-best 7-3 overall and tied the program record for wins in the Northwest Conference at 5-2 with the victory in the season finale.