SIOUX CITY, Iowa – No. 1 Morningside remained unbeaten while having its way with the Concordia University football team in the way it has with most of the GPAC this season. The Mustangs held the Bulldogs to just 26 yards of offense in a 49-0 thumping inside Elwood Olsen Stadium in Sioux City, Iowa, on Saturday afternoon (Oct. 27).
This will be one to flush for second-year head coach Patrick Daberkow’s squad, which has now dropped three GPAC games in a row. Concordia is now 3-5 overall and 2-5 in conference play.
“We’re trying anything and everything from an offensive standpoint,” Daberkow said. “We have a lot of work to do in the weight room. We’re very young. We traveled 48 freshmen and sophomores today. It might be frustrating right now, but the future is bright. We have some seniors who are leaving great legacies with their toughness. We have work to do. It’s very important that we finish this season strong.”
There were not much for highlights for the visitors. Though he had very little room to operate on plays from scrimmage, junior Ryan Durdon did manage to break loose for an 83-yard kickoff return in the final stages of the first quarter. Four plays later the Bulldogs were stuffed on a fourth-and-goal attempt from the two-yard line. That was the story of the day for the rushing attack, which went in the red (minus-22 yards).
With the Concordia offense sputtering, sophomore Lane Napier and the defense were subjected to 86 plays of butting heads with the prolific Morningside offense. Napier equaled a career high with 22 tackles while also recording two tackles for loss and a sack. In the process, the star from David City, Neb., ran his season tackle count to 117, giving him a program GPAC era record (previous best was 110 by Erik DeHaven in 2001).
Another fine performance from Napier still could not slow down quarterback Trent Solsma and the Mustangs. They piled up 578 total yards and Solsma padded his stats with five more touchdown passes. Two of them went to game breaking receiver Connor Niles, who caught 12 passes for 149 yards. On the ground, Arnijae Ponder ran for 121 yards and a touchdown. By the end of the first quarter, Morningside (9-0, 7-0 GPAC) had already built a 21-0 lead.
At quarterback, sophomore Blake Culbert got his first career start for the Bulldogs. He went 5-for-14 for 50 yards. He was picked off once and sacked six times. Vincent Beasley reeled in three catches for 46 yards. As an offense, Concordia managed only five first downs. It made for a busy day for punter Lane Castaneda. He averaged 42.3 yards on 10 punts.
The Bulldogs will try to bounce back next week when they face another stiff challenge. Sixth-ranked Northwestern (7-1, 6-1 GPAC) will make a visit to Seward next Saturday (Nov. 3) for a 1 p.m. CT kickoff. It will be senior day for Concordia. The Red Raiders picked up a 39-29 win at Hastings on Saturday.