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Tigers thump Spires for first win

LEAVENWORTH, Kan. — The Dakota Wesleyan University football team got back into the win column in a big way.

The Tigers ran up 692 yards of total offense and won 60-14 at the University of St. Mary Saturday, thumping the Spires Saturday in the Great Plains Athletic Conference-Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference Challenge finale for the Tigers.

“I thought our guys were extremely physical on defense, special teams and offensively. We played extremely hard and executed,” DWU head coach Ross Cimpl said about his team’s performance. “Those are fun games to watch as coaches, watching guys make plays and having fun playing football.”   

DWU led 40-7 at halftime, thanks in large part to quarterback Dillon Turner helping with seven touchdowns (six passing, one rushing) as the Tigers picked apart the St. Mary defense and answered a season-opening loss to Dakota State with a non-conference victory.

“We were a long way from home and for us to come out and score and then the defense gets a stop was big for us,” Cimpl said about the first quarter. “Our special teams did a good job of pinning them back deep and letting our defense start with good field position.”

Turner was 25-for-34 passing for 370 yards and earned GPAC offensive player of the week honors on Monday for his performance. Howard native Luke Loudenburg ran for 115 yards and a touchdown on 12 carries, while Hayden Adams hauled in 10 catches for 189 yards and three touchdowns and Lewis Hofer caught two touchdown for DWU. Freshman and Mitchell native Spencer Neugebauer scored his first collegiate touchdown on a 43-yard reception from Turner in the first half.

“Offensively, those guys are operating at a high level,” Cimpl said. “Luke had a big day, Spencer got his first touchdown and Hayden made guys miss. It all started up front with our offensive line and they kept our quarterback clean and opened things up in the run game, too.”

On defense, Tyrel Haley had eight tackles, while Trey DeCrook made seven stops for DWU. The Spires moved the ball for 449 yards, including 374 passing yards from quarterback Drew Cortez but he was 24-for-53 passing and DWU managed to get off the field on third down, holding St. Mary to 7-of-20 on third-down conversions and 1-of-5 on fourth downs.

“We got stops,” said Cimpl, who added the Tigers played around 35 different players on defense in the game. “We got a lot of different guys reps. They did get some yardage in the second half and in the fourth quarter, but our guys continued to battle and run guys down.”

Cimpl noted DWU’s crowd may have been bigger than St. Mary’s home crowd on Saturday in Kansas and he added his praise for the support his team received.

The Tigers (1-1) return to Mitchell on Saturday, Sept. 9 for the home opener, hosting the University of Jamestown (N.D.) at 1 p.m. at Joe Quintal Field.

“It seems like forever since we’ve played at home with two road games already,” Cimpl said. “It’ll be nice to be home and play in front of our fans.”

Dakota Wesleyan University 60, University of St. Mary 14

DWU 19 21 13 7 -- 60

USM 0 7 0 7 -- 14

Scoring summary

First quarter

DWU: Lewis Hofer 17 pass from Dillon Turner (Thomas Dienst kick)

DWU: Hayden Adams 44 pass from Turner (kick failed)

Second quarter

USM: Andre Long 30 pass from Drew Cortez (Kevin Garcia kick)

DWU: Adams 17 pass from Turner (Seth Paulson kick)

DWU: Hofer 10 pass from Turner (Paulson kick)

Third quarter

DWU: Luke Loudenburg 6 run (Paulson kick)

DWU: Adams 11 pass from Turner (kick failed)

Fourth quarter

DWU: Shaye Slaughter 6 run (Paulson kick)

USM: Cortez 1 run (Garcia kick)

RUSHING: DWU: Luke Loudenburg 12-115, Gaige Marshall 6-50, Jace Pulse 1-37, Dillon Turner 5-24, Xavier Armijo 3-15, Charlie LaRoche 1-11, Preston Emerson 1-11, Jonny Withrow 5-10, Spencer Neugebauer 1-9, Shaye Slaughter 1-6, Austin Buysse 2-5, Sam Naasz 1-5; USM: Ben Harvey 6-28, Zach Hilliard 5-17, AJ Barnett 1-13, Isai Fernandez 1-12, Josh Smith 6-12, Jordan Longoria 1-9, Eric Pichardo 3-7, Abel Morales 1-0, Drew Cortez 5--23.

PASSING: DWU:  Turner 34-25-0-370, Sean Diggs 6-3-0-24; USM: Drew Cortez 53-24-0-374.

RECEIVING: DWU: Hayden Adams 10-189, Gaige Marshall 3-51, Lewis Hofer 4-47, Spencer Neugebauer 1-43, Jace Pulse 2-24, Luke Loudenburg 2-13, Tyler Larson 1-13, Tyler Fortuna 1-10, Xavier Armijo 2-5, Charlie LaRoche 1-5, Tre Hobbs 1--6; USM:  AJ Barnett 2-102, Andre Long 3-52, Bryan Barnhart 3-48, Don Berger 2-48, Isai Fernandez 4-35, Jordan Longoria 2-31, Kyle Dougherty 3-30, Michael Brown 2-19, Robert Thomas 1-7, Ben Harvey 2-2.

TACKLES: DWU: Tyrel Haley 8, Trey DeCroock 7, USM: Joshua Green 10, Bryan Barnhart 6.