CRETE, Neb. – The first half of the 2020 season opener displayed exactly the type of football team Head Coach Patrick Daberkow has aspired to put together. The Concordia Bulldogs shook off an early mishap and overwhelmed host Doane at the line of scrimmage. The 65th meeting between the two rivals, played underneath the lights at Papik Field in Crete on Saturday (Sept. 12), went to the Bulldogs, 24-7.
The smash-mouth effort yielded a time-of-possession advantage of 39:16 to 20:44 in favor of Concordia. Afterwards Daberkow called the evening: “Beautiful. Perfect. America.” Yes, there is football in the GPAC footprint.
Said Daberkow, “Anytime you can beat Doane it’s a lot of fun. Coming off of what we’ve been through these last two years and the work we’ve put in this offseason, it’s nice to get to a point where we can be better and be competitive. Hats off to our guys. They really put a lot of work in. It was fun to see it.”
The ground game is back. Crete native Jonah Weyand ran wild for 152 yards and two touchdowns in the first half alone. Weyand galloped through crater-sized holes off the right side for scoring plays of 25 and 15 yards. The offensive line paved the way for 229 rushing yards – this for a team that averaged only 65.8 rushing yards per game in 2019. Even on the final possession when Doane knew the run was coming, the Bulldogs churned out three first downs (with Lyle Whitney and Devin Zeigler in the backfield) to bleed out the clock.
Daberkow and his staff certainly hope this was a sign of things to come for Weyand and an offensive line that returned four players with starting experience. Weyand bludgeoned the Tigers with 169 rushing yards. Weyand sat out most of the second half as a precaution, but it didn’t dampen his spirits following the game.
“It was amazing,” Weyand said. “Pulling up to the school was like, ‘Wow, here we are again.’ I was here my freshman year but didn’t get a chance to play due to an injury. To get back on the turf, getting to play with these guys and getting a win over a school I was also considering in my recruitment process just feels amazing.”
On the defensive side of the ball, Concordia graduated stout defensive end Aaron Rudloff and a wealth of talent in the linebacker core. However, it didn’t miss a beat on Saturday. All-American linebacker Lane Napier made seven tackles and the unit forced two turnovers. One came via a fumble forced by Karson Dickson and another thwarted a Doane red zone drive when AJ Jenkins plucked an interception. Chase Hammons and Eric Kieper Jr. produced a sack apiece.
A large chunk of the Tiger offense came on one play. Doane actually led 7-0 after Jamaine Derogene ran free for a 56-yard touchdown less than three minutes into the game. The Bulldogs answered with Weyand’s first touchdown run. By halftime, Concordia had clearly exerted its will.
Blake Culbert got the call at quarterback and made his second career start for the Bulldogs. One of his most impressive tosses was a 15-yard scoring strike to Brady Fitzke late in the first quarter. Culbert did not have to make a ton of big plays when he could lean upon a strong run game and defense. He finished 15-for-33 for 145 yards. Cayden Beran caught five passes for 36 yards, Korrell Koehlmoos snagged three catches for 24 yards and Garrett Schardt had two receptions for 40 yards.
Concordia outgained Doane, 374-195, and had a first down advantage of 21-10. The Tigers played without star receiver Izaiah Celestine, but it probably didn’t matter considering how the Bulldogs won the line of scrimmage.
For the first time since 2005, Concordia celebrated a win in Crete. Daberkow is now 2-2 against Doane since becoming head coach. Said Daberkow, “It was fun. It felt like normalcy again.”
As for Weyand, Daberkow added, “It was really the offensive line and he would be the first one to tell you that. Jonah had a great game tonight but he would tell you that’s on the offensive line.”
The Bulldogs will be in Seward next Saturday (Sept. 19) to host Hastings in their 2020 home opener. Kickoff from Bulldog Stadium is set for 6 p.m. CT. The Broncos (2-8 last season) opened up the season on Saturday by pummeling Dakota Wesleyan, 45-7. In the 2019 meeting, Concordia blew out Hastings, 44-0, behind a big day from Beran (10 catches for 193 yards and two touchdowns). Fans planning to attend next week’s game should first review Concordia’s fan protocols HERE.
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— 104.9 Max Country (@1049maxcountry) September 13, 2020