DWU seniors looking to end careers on high noteAfter the final seconds tick off the clock in Dakota Wesleyan University’s season-ending game against Midland University today, it will be the final time 14 Tiger football players will step foot on Joe Quintal Field.
By: Aaron Saunders, The Daily Republic
After the final seconds tick off the clock in Dakota Wesleyan University’s season-ending game against Midland University today, it will be the final time 14 Tiger football players will step foot on Joe Quintal Field.
“This is the last time they get to leave everything out on the field, and I hope that we play that way,” said DWU head coach Ross Cimpl, whose team is 5-4 overall and 4-4 in the Great Plains Athletic Conference.
The Tigers, battling to finish with a winning record for the second straight season on the final week of the year, host Midland at 1 p.m. today.
The Warriors (4-5, 3-5 GPAC), who are coming off of a win against Briar Cliff University, will be looking to add to their winning streak and spoil the Dakota Wesleyan senior day.
Among the group of seniors who will strap it up one final time is running back Josh Endres who is leading the Tigers in rushing this season with 1121 yards on 247 carries.
“It’s pretty emotional,” said the Ethan native, who is only four yards away from becoming the school’s career all-time leading rusher and 175 yards away from DWU’s single-season rushing record. “I have been here for five years, so I am kind of looking forward to going out on a high note.”
Once Endres surpasses the 3,152-yard mark, he will break a record that has been standing for 16 years, held by Mark Conrad, who finished his career in 1996. In his career, he totaled 3,151 rushing yards.
“It’s pretty overwhelming because there have been a great number of players who have come through here playing running back and it’s just a privilege to be at the top of that list,” Endres said. “People always ask me if I will miss football and I say I will miss the game but the thing I will miss most is being around the guys.”
The season finale also marks the end of the first season for head coach Ross Cimpl, who is looking to become the first DWU coach to finish with a winning record in his inaugural season since Tom Long did it in 1978 with 5-4-1 record.
“I learned a lot this year, not only about coaching, but about being a part of a program that is trying to build something special,” Cimpl said.
In order for Cimpl and the Tigers to complete the winning season and the send their seniors off on a high note, they will need a big game from junior quarterback Josh Bane, who became the school’s all-time leading passer last week and now sits at 6,684 yards passing for his career with 1,947 of those yards coming this season.
The DWU defense will also look to shut down a Warrior offense that has recorded 2,302 total yards offensively and while its opponents have put up 3,528 yards.
The Midland is led by senior running back Kene Martin, who has tallied 458 yards and two touchdowns on 113 carries, while the Midland defense is led by sophomore defensive lineman Eric Taris, who leads the team in sacks (3.5) and is second on the team in tackles (59) and tackles for loss (5).