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DWU defense bullies Doane in home win

Tigers record eight sacks, 15 tackles for loss in four-point victory.

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Action from Dakota Wesleyan University's 17-13 win over Doane College on Saturday, Oct. 9, 2021 at Joe Quintal Field. (Matt Gade / Republic)
Matt Gade

Behind a strong defensive effort, the Dakota Wesleyan University football team held on to defeat Doane University, 17-13, in a Great Plains Athletic Conference contest Saturday afternoon at Joe Quintal Field.

The Tigers constantly harassed the Doane quarterback — enough that starter Vaughn Martinez was relieved by Zach Witters late in the first half, before Martinez came back in to replace Witters midway through the second half.

“That group (the DWU defense) didn’t really miss a beat," said DWU coach Ross Cimpl. "Those guys didn’t just play well, they dominated at times.”

In total, Doane passers went 9 of 20 for 57 yards and were sacked eight times. In a further display of dominance, the DWU defense recorded 15 total tackles for loss and held Doane to 146 yards of offense. Defensive end Dominick Warmbein was statistically the most disruptive force, totaling 2.5 sacks and 3.5 TFLs among his seven total tackles. Linebacker Victor Kniesche led the Tigers in total tackles with 10, including a sack of his own.

“I thought our defensive line was incredible," Cimpl said. "Those guys were all over the place moving the quarterback off his spot and then obviously got some sacks too. … That front seven really dictated the game in terms of the run game and the pass game.”

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Action from Dakota Wesleyan University's 17-13 win over Doane College on Saturday, Oct. 9, 2021 at Joe Quintal Field. (Matt Gade / Republic)
Matt Gade

But while the DWU defense was limiting the Doane offense, yards weren’t much easier to come by for the home team, especially early on. Having also been shut out at Concordia on Oct. 2, DWU was in need of a spark.

With both offenses struggling to push past the middle of the field, it was the DWU special teams that made the first impact play of the game. DWU came up with a blocked punt on the final snap of the opening quarter and Jaden Bloemendaal recovered the loose ball just before it could roll out of the back of the endzone, giving DWU a 7-0 lead.

Coincidentally, the next big play would also come on special teams, this time by Doane. Lined up to punt again on fourth-and-8 midway through the second quarter, punter Mason Krause took the snap and scooted around the right end for a 18-yard gain and a fresh set of downs. On the next snap, running back Frazzie Wynn raced 56 yards for the game-tying score.

Wynn’s yardage on the run would end up being more than 38 percent of Doane’s offensive production for the afternoon, and the back would finish with 75 yards on 10 carries.

DWU had a chance to take back the lead just before half, but a 28-yard field goal attempt went wide left to keep things level after 30 minutes.

Trevor Lambert converted a 27-yard field goal on the opening drive of the second half before, early in the fourth quarter, receiver Jakob Oxos caught a 6-yard touchdown from quarterback Kiel Nelson to put DWU (3-3, 3-2 GPAC) up two scores. While Doane (2-4, 2-4 GPAC) managed to find the endzone again with under a minute to play, an onside kick attempt was not recovered and DWU ran out the clock.

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Action from Dakota Wesleyan University's 17-13 win over Doane College on Saturday, Oct. 9, 2021 at Joe Quintal Field. (Matt Gade / Republic)
Matt Gade

“The two things that stand out are, especially in the second half, offensively being able to move the ball and sustain some drives, and defensively those guys were lights out," Cimpl said. "When you can minimize the amount of time the defense has to be on the field because your offense is on the field putting points up, it puts teams in a bind.”

Nelson completed 18 of 24 throws for 168 yards, including three completions for 41 yards and the touchdown to the leading receiver Oxos, as the DWU rushing attack was held to 58 yards on 32 attempts. Jamin Arend was the leading rusher with 13 carries for 32 yards.

Saturday’s win was DWU’s second straight over Doane after a four-game skid in the all-time series.

In its next action, DWU will take on Dordt at 1 p.m. on Oct. 16 in Sioux Center, Iowa.

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Action from Dakota Wesleyan University's 17-13 win over Doane College on Saturday, Oct. 9, 2021 at Joe Quintal Field. (Matt Gade / Republic)
Matt Gade

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Dierks covers prep and collegiate athletics across the Mitchell Republic's coverage region area, focusing on Mitchell High School football and boys basketball and area high school football, volleyball and basketball, as well as Dakota Wesleyan women's basketball. He was also the lead on the Mitchell Republic Gridiron Spotlight, producing video and providing live play-by-play for the traveling weekly prep football broadcast during its first season in the fall of 2021. Dierks is a Mitchell native who graduated from South Dakota State University with his bachelor's degree in journalism in May 2020. He joined the Mitchell Republic sports staff in August 2021. He can be reached at ldierks@mitchellrepublic.com and found on Twitter at @LDierksy.
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