Linfield’s football season ends with 30-13 loss to Bethel in Division III playoffs

The Linfield Wildcats hung tough for a half but then were shut out in the second half of a 30-13 loss in a second-round NCAA Division III football playoff game Saturday in McMinnville.

Gavin Dalziel kicked field goals of 34 and 49 yards for No. 5 Linfield, and receiver Joel Valadez tossed an 11-yard touchdown pass to Devon Murray that narrowed No. 10 Bethel’s lead to 14-13 midway through the second quarter.

But the Wildcats’ offense dried up from there as the Royals (10-2) of Arden Hills, Minnesota, scored 16 unanswered points to hand Linfield (10-1) its first loss and end the Wildcats’ season.

Linfield’s Connor McNabb carried 17 times for 93 yards. Quarterback Blake Eaton completed 19 of 28 passes for 161 yards, but he was sacked six times, lost a fumble and threw two fourth-quarter interceptions in Bethel’s end zone.

The Royals held Linfield to 261 total yards and converted the three Wildcats turnovers into 10 points.

Bethel quarterback Jaran Roste was 19 of 24 for 214 yards and connected with Joey Kidder for touchdown passes of 5, 11 and 65 yards. Kidder finished with five catches for 107 yards.

Bethel advances to the D3 quarterfinals and will face Mary Hardin-Baylor, which beat Trinity 24-17 Saturday.

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