Defenders run past DWU: Tigers drop home opener to fall to 0-3

Dakota Wesleyan University's Chance Sorensen (80) is brought down by Dordt University's Grant Hixson (9) following a reception during a Great Plain Athletic Conference game on Saturday at Joe Quintal Field. (Matt Gade / Republic)

For the third straight time to open the season, the Dakota Wesleyan University football team suffered a 30-plus point loss.

DWU fell into a hole early, and even as it rotated quarterbacks, it couldn’t make much of a dent in a 47-10 homecoming loss to Dordt (Iowa) on Saturday at Joe Quintal Field. For the third consecutive year, Dordt (2-0) controlled both sides of the ball from start to finish.

“The biggest takeaway is we got to get better,” DWU coach Ross Cimpl said. “Whether that’s our guys being able to make plays or our coaches putting them in better positions. … Ultimately at the end of the day, this team is a reflection of me and I have to get better.”

For the second straight week, DWU (0-3) failed to find the end zone in the first half. Tate Gale’s 39-yard field goal late in the first quarter kept it from being shut out at halftime.

Meanwhile, Dordt scored a touchdown on all five of its first-half drives. Noah Clayberg had an efficient 13-for-18 day through the air for 177 yards and a touchdown, but the Defenders’ option game also yielded 364 yards on 7.9 yards per carry. It’s offensive line made huge holes for its backfield to run through, which led to long drives and five ending with touchdowns inside the 10-yard line.


GALLERY: DWU football hosts Dordt University in home opener

Carter Schiebout led the Defenders with 119 rushing yards and two touchdowns. Michael Sondermann rushed for 90 yards and a touchdown, Anthony Trojahn gained 76 rushing yards and Clayberg finished with 68 rushing yards and two scores.

“We have to focus on ourselves right before the play,” said DWU linebacker Josh Garry, who had six tackles. “We have to line up correctly, get the play call in and execute.”

Levi Jungling also caught nine passes for 117 yards for the Defenders, though didn’t catch a touchdown despite Dordt extending a 33-3 halftime lead by scoring two touchdowns in the second half.

Samuel Kretschmar finished with a team-high nine tackles for the Tigers. Tziah Owens and Nate Rupprecht both added eight tackles.

Even as it rotated between quarterbacks Kiel Nelson and Zachary Lester, DWU couldn’t find the same momentum offensively. Lester finished 15-for-21 for 122 yards and a touchdown. Nelson had a couple of nice throws, but did most of his damage on the ground that included a 30-yard carry.

Lester orchestrated one of DWU’s best drives of the season at the start of the second half, going 8-for-9 for 53 yards and an eight-yard touchdown strike to Garrett Determan. The Tigers didn’t score again, even after Nelson threw a nice deep ball to Tate Larson for a 31-yard gain. They stalled at the 1-yard line on four straight plays.

“I think overall, we need to work on finishing,” DWU offensive lineman T.J. Benton said. “Getting down within that 30 and finishing the deal. We had a goal-line stand and it didn’t go our way. That’s something we have to work on.”


DWU plays Doane (Neb.) at 1 p.m. Oct. 3 in Crete, Nebraska.

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