Tigers host struggling Dordt today in homecoming gameThere’s a lot in Dakota Wesleyan University’s favor headed into today’s 1 p.m. football game against Dordt.
By: Luke Hagen, The Daily Republic
There’s a lot in Dakota Wesleyan University’s favor headed into today’s 1 p.m. football game against Dordt.
First, the stats heavily favor DWU.
It’s also the No. 25-ranked Tigers’ homecoming game, and DWU is unbeaten at Joe Quintal Field this year.
But the biggest advantage held by Dakota Wesleyan is the Defenders simply don’t know how to win Great Plains Athletic Conference games.
Since joining the league in 2008, Dordt has lost 42 of 43 football games and is on a 38-game conference losing streak. In the past four seasons, the Defenders have won only four of 48 games.
“On paper, it looks like we should win,” DWU coach Ross Cimpl said after being read the stats showing the Tigers’ offense putting up 30 points a game compared to Dordt’s average of 12.4 points.
Today’s matchup has the makings of a happy homecoming for Dakota Wesleyan. Dordt is 0-5 this season overall and 0-4 in the GPAC. The school’s last conference win came on Oct. 11, 2008, when it defeated Concordia 17-14.
Besides not being able to put up many points per game, Dordt is allowing almost 35 points per game and 433 yards per game. DWU is averaging 445 yards offensively and is allowing 22.5 points per game.
It’s clear what those numbers show to first-year Dordt coach Greg Youngblood.
“They look like a good team and we don’t,” Youngblood said. “… But this is about ourselves and getting ourselves better, especially against a really good opponent. We know that we have a lot to improve on.”
The Tigers (3-1) are coming off their first loss of the season, a 40-30 game against Hastings last weekend. With it being homecoming and having felt defeat recently, Cimpl believes his team is ready to take the field again.
“We expect a great crowd and a lot of people out there, so we want to put on a good show,” Cimpl said.
Last week, Wesleyan quarterback Jon Bane set school records for team and individual passing yards in a game with 457 yards on 24-of-50 passing with three touchdowns.
Bane is averaging 300 yards per game this season and has thrown seven TDs and three interceptions.
Arthur Brown has been Bane’s top receiving threat, hauling in 26 catches for 202 yards and three touchdowns, while Michael Brown has caught 16 passes for 292 yards and two scores.
The Tigers’ featured running back, Josh Endres, had his lowest yardage total of the season at 99 yards against Hastings, but he could feast today.
Dordt has the ninth-worst run defense in the GPAC, allowing 204.6 rushing yards per game. The Defenders also allow 229.2 passing yards per game, seventh-worst in the league.
Endres is leading the conference in rushing yards per game at 171.5, and the senior from Ethan has scored six times this season.
“They’re going to be looking to get back on the winning track,” Youngblood said. “I’m sure we’re going to get their best.”
Dordt runs a triple-option offense and has used two quarterbacks. Juniors Bryce Rusler and Kyle Henricks have seen about the same amount of field time for the Defenders, but Rusler will get the start today.
He’s 13-of-55 with seven interceptions and no touchdowns this season. He’s thrown for 121 yards and has rushed for 125 yards on 51 carries, averaging 25 yards per game.
Henricks has completed 23 of 44 passes for 302 yards, three interceptions and no touchdowns. He’s also rushed for 42 yards on 20 carries and three scores.
“We have been using two quarterbacks,” Youngblood said. “They have different strengths and have given them both opportunities and we may stick with one if we’re moving the ball. Both of them give us something.”
Youngblood called splitback Trai Pickney the team’s biggest playmaker on offense.
He’s carried the ball 32 times for 253 yards, averaging 7.9 yards per rush and has scored three times.
Lenard Manuel, Daniel Fenning and Josh Van Kempen also have gotten at least 20 carries at running back for the Defenders.
“Defensively, we have to play assignment football,” said Cimpl, whose defense is led by freshman Brady Bonte’s 10 tackles per game. “We can’t just focus on one guy. … When you have the potential of three or four guys carrying the ball, any single play, it makes it pretty scary. You have to make sure you’re doing things correctly all the time.”
When/Where: 1 p.m. today at Joe Quintal Field in Mitchell.
Last meeting: Dakota Wesleyan beat Dordt 58-10 on Oct. 8, 2011.
Coaches: DWU’s Ross Cimpl, first year; Dordt’s Greg Youngblood, first year.
Forecast: Partly cloudy at 44 degrees at kickoff with northwest wind at 11 mph.
Game notes: DWU running back Josh Endres is leading the conference in rushing yards per game at 171.5. … DWU quarterback Jon Bane leads the conference in passing yards per game at 302.3. … DWU is 4-0 in games against Dordt in the all-time series. … Dordt splitback Trai Pickney rushed for 104 yards on nine carries in a 33-29 loss to Briar Cliff last week. … Dordt is winless in its last 38 conference games. The Defenders’ last GPAC win was Oct. 11, 2008, against Concordia, a 17-14 win at home.
Dakota Wesleyan projected starters
Position: Name, year, height, weight, hometown
QB: Jon Bane, Jr., 6-4, 185, Temple, Texas
HB: Josh Endres, Sr., 6-2, 215, Ethan, S.D.
WR: Arthur Brown, So., 6-1, 200, Rosemead, Calif.
WR: Dimitri Fahey, So., 6-2, 165, Rapid City, S.D.
WR: Mike Brown, Jr., 5-9, 190, Palmdale, Calif.
TE: Cody Duerksen, Jr., 6-2, 210, Parker, S.D.
C: Eric Witte, Jr., 6-0, 270, Huron, S.D.
LT: Nathan Little, Sr., 6-3, 290, Aberdeen, S.D.
LG: Kyle Hencke, So., 6-3, 260, Sturgis, S.D.
RG: Skyler Eriksen, Jr., 6-0, 260, Presho, S.D.
RT: Spencer Bloch, So., 6-8, 320, Scotland, S.D.
DL: Eric Gruis, Jr., 6-2, 265, Baltic, S.D.
DL: Preston Liebelt, Jr., 6-0, 270, Prairie City, S.D.
DL: Craig Henglefelt, Jr., 6-6, 250, Alexandria, S.D.
LB: Jeff Maassen, So., 6-2, 225, Brandon, S.D.
LB: Mike Barnaud, Sr., 5-10, 220, Belle Fourche, S.D.
LB: Anthony Cervantes, So., 6-1, 210, Burbank, Calif.
LB: Brady Bonte, Fr., 6-2, 205, Garretson, S.D.
DB: Andrew DeVaney, Fr., 5-10, 175, Sioux Falls, S.D.
DB: Dustin Bergmeier, Sr., 6-0, 190, Omaha, Neb.
DB: Matt McManus, Jr., 6-0, 175, Alexandria, S.D.
DB: Josh Thompson, So., 5-10, 170, Lead, S.D.
K: Dan Porter, Fr., 6-0, 185, Plattsmouth, Neb.
P: Derek Carlson, Sr., 6-4, 205, Sioux Falls, S.D.
Dordt projected starters
Position: Name, year, height, weight, hometown
QB: Bryce Rusler, Jr., 5-11, 204, Blanchard, Okla.
HB: Lenard Manual, Jr., 6-1, 235, Kansas City, Mo.
SB: Trai Pickney, So., 5-7, 166, Carrollton, Texas.
SB: Daniel Fenning, So., 5-9, 180, Duncanville, Texas.
WR: Darryl Van Grouw, Jr., 6-4, 206, Meridian, Idaho.
WR: David Griess, Sr., 6-2, 197, Lynden, Wash.
C: Owen Reinalda, Sr., 6-2, 275, Seven Valleys, Pa.
LT: Nathan Morehead, Jr., 6-4, 262, Sioux City, Iowa.
LG: Jordan Huisman, Sr., 6-2, 264, Orange City, Iowa.
RG: Patrick Visscher, Sr., 6-4, 282. Sioux Center, Iowa.
RT: Kyle Scholten, Jr., 6-5, 220, Inwood, Iowa.
DL: Micah Applegate, Jr., 6-2, 250, Arvada, Colo.
DL: Chris McCoy, Fr., 6-1, 220, Grand, Texas.
DL: Jon Gardner, Jr., 6-3, 217, Carrollton, Texas.
LB: Vanoy Harris, Fr., 5-9, 238, Arlington, Texas.
LB: Seth Vande Voot, Jr., 6-2, 238, Urbandale, Iowa.
LB: Matt Griess, Sr., 5-11, 188, Lynden, Wash.
LB: Sam Ashmore, Jr., 5-10, 220, Arlington, Texas.
DB: Josh Nollmeyer, Sr., 5-11, 177, Savage, Mont.
DB: Anthony Hallum, Sr., 5-8, 158, Visalia, Calif.
DB: Chris McDaniel, Jr., 6-1, 169, Carson, Calif.
DB: Cam Pitre, So., 5-11, 161, Carrollton, Texas.
K: Barry Dykstra, Jr., 6-3, 179, Hudsonville, Mich.
P: Heath Bonestroo, Fr., 6-2, 175, Hull, Iowa.