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SIOUX CENTER, Iowa – In terms of injuries, the Concordia University football team can’t catch a break. Just when the passing game began to click, quarterback Jake Kemp was sidelined by injury. Dordt took advantage and pulled away with a 38-19 victory at Open Space Park in Sioux Center, Iowa, on Saturday afternoon (Sept. 29).
Second-year head coach Patrick Daberkow’s squad has now dropped back-to-back conference games and sits at 2-2 overall and at 1-2 in the GPAC. Saturday’s result snapped a nine-game series win streak over the Defenders.
“We didn’t capitalize on our opportunities today,” said Daberkow in his postgame chat with 104.9 Max Country. “We left a lot out there on the field. Just disappointed with the outcome. When you get four turnovers on the road against a team like Dordt and an offense that’s that good, you need to capitalize on those. You should win that game when you get four turnovers. We have to look at some things and go back to the drawing board.”
The Bulldogs were adept at taking the ball away and got three touchdown passes from Kemp. His first scoring strike went to tight end Logan Kreizel from 15 yards out and put Concordia up 7-0 in the opening quarter. The signal caller from Decatur, Texas, also spun touchdown tosses of 34 yards to Korrell Koehlmoos and 18 yards to Vincent Beasley. The latter scoring play got the Bulldogs within 21-19 with 12:13 left in the third quarter.
Unfortunately, a hand injury forced Kemp out of the game prior to the start of the fourth quarter. The offense sputtered in the final period and Dordt punished Concordia in the running game. The Defenders (3-1, 2-1 GPAC) also took advantage of short fields and put the game on ice with fourth-quarter touchdown drives of 51 and 54 yards. Keithen Drury rushed for 97 yards and a touchdown and star receiver Levi Jungling added 57 rushing yards to go along with 106 receiving.
Dordt (397 total yards) went solely to the run game in the final quarter after quarterback Brock Lamle was picked off three times, twice by linebacker Zac Walter. His first interception set up the Kreizel touchdown. The second one was followed by a Bulldog three an out. On the ensuing Dordt possession, the Defenders celebrated a one-yard Levi Schoonhoven touchdown run.
While senior Stuart Kolpin returned to make his first start of the season as an offensive guard, injuries have continued to mount. Kreizel and standout linebacker Lane Napier joined Kemp on the sidelines. Offensively, Concordia had to get creative. At times, fullback Robert Ferguson even lined up at quarterback as part of a wildcat formation. Andrew Perea also got snaps at quarterback.
This was the best the passing game has looked so far this season. Beasley had a busy day, making 10 grabs for 83 yards. Kreizel snared six passes for 54 yards and a score before leaving the game. Ryan Durdon caught three passes for 33 yards out of the backfield. Kemp completed 21-of-34 passes for 224 yards to go with the three touchdown tosses. A Bulldog offense that totaled 325 yards needed that production through the air. Durdon was limited to 51 rushing yards on 20 carries.
“Jake was looking really good,” Daberkow said. “We had some things going in the passing game. He was going through his read progression well and taking what was there. After he went out with the injury we tried to do some different things. I loved our game plan going into it. Things were clicking for a while. It kind of fell apart in the third quarter.”
Dordt won the special teams battle. The Bulldogs averaged only 29.5 yards per punt (four attempts) and had a field goal and an extra point blocked. On a positive note, Walter enjoyed a big day that included a team high 10 tackles in addition to the two interceptions. Sophomore Caydren Cox also intercepted one of Lamle’s passes.
A week from today (Oct. 6), the Bulldogs will be back at home where they have won 11 of their past 13 games. Dakota Wesleyan (1-4, 0-3 GPAC) will serve as the opponent. In Saturday’s action, the Tigers fell at Briar Cliff, 20-13. The 2017 contest between Concordia and Dakota Wesleyan resulted in a 38-16 Bulldog victory in Seward.