HILLSBORO, Ore. – In honor of the 150th anniversary of college football, the Northwest Conference is proud to feature the 2004 National Champion Linfield Wildcats team.
A historically successful program, the Wildcats boasted a pristine 13-0 record under Head Coach Jay Locey in the 2004 season as the program earned its fifth consecutive NWC title and its first NCAA Division III National Champion title.
Finishing the season undefeated in conference play, Linfield qualified for its fourth NCAA postseason appearance in five years, earning a first-round bye as the top seed from the West Region.
Paired with Wisconsin-La Crosse in the first round, the Wildcats skated easily past the Eagles, then easily took down the Tigers of Occidental in the second round to reach the program’s first NCAA semifinals appearance. In a postseason groove, the Wildcats shut out the Profs of Rowan, 52-0 – the program’s first shutout of the season. Linfield advanced easily to its seventh national championship game - the first as an NCAA affiliate, recording at least 52 points in the first three rounds of the postseason.
The Wildcats traveled to Salem, Virginia where they were to face America Southwest Conference (ASC) powerhouse Mary Hardin Baylor for the national title. In the closest game of their postseason run, the Wildcats defeated the Cru, 28-21, to earn the program’s fifth overall and first NCAA Division III national title.
At the conclusion of the 2004 season, team leaders Brett Elliott and Casey Allen each earned first team All-America honors, while receiver George Carter earned a third team All-America honor. Brandon Hazenberg was recognized as a first team All-America punt returner. Jay Locey was honored as the American Football Coaches Association Coach of the Year in addition to his NWC Coach of the Year recognition.
At the conclusion of the season, the Wildcats led the nation in total passing yards and scoring average, setting 23 single-season records.
A program rich in history and success, the Linfield Wildcats football squad continues to be ranked among the top nationally, most recently ranked 22nd in the most recent American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) weekly poll.