DWU rides two-game win streak into season finale
The Dakota Wesleyan University football team will try to end its season on a three-game win streak.
After a 35-16 win over Jamestown (N.D.), the Tigers improved to 3-5 this season following their two most complete performances. DWU outscored Briar Cliff (Iowa) and Jamestown by a combined 61-23.
Now, they’ll take the field for a final time at 1 p.m. today at Joe Quintal Field against Concordia (Neb.), which has fallen to 4-3 during a three-game losing skid. This game was originally scheduled for Oct. 10, but had to be postponed due to COVID-19.
Reichelt returns to starting lineup
Mitchell native Cody Reichelt’s return to the field last week immediately showed the gigantic hole DWU’s defense had been trying to fill since his lower leg injury in Week 1. Reichelt had an interception and teamed with Dominick Warmbein for a sack.
Now, he’s back in the starting lineup.
“It’s a huge boost for our guys,” DWU coach Ross Cimpl said. “Cody’s a tremendous player. We missed his production. I think it’s pretty evident what he’s capable of doing. … Those two plays right there show what he’s capable of and what we’ve been missing out on.”
The senior’s return comes against the No. 5 scoring offense in the Great Plains Athletic Conference. Led by quarterback Blake Culbert, Concordia averages 22.6 points and 357.1 yards per game, which both rank fifth in the conference.
Culbert has thrown for 1,510 yards, nine touchdowns and four interceptions on 49.6 percent passing. His 215.7 passing yards per game ranks third in the conference. While he isn’t one of the top running quarterbacks in the conference, he’s able to move in the pocket to keep plays alive, as well.
“I think he’s very underrated,” Cimpl said. “He’s a really good football player. His arm strength is really good. I think he can make all the throws. He’s really good at timing and getting balls in windows.”
DWU’s pass defense ranks fifth in the GPAC. It has allowed 212.3 passing yards per game, though the 17 passing touchdowns is the second-most in the conference.
Holding off Concordia’s pass rush
Concordia can get to the quarterback. The Bulldogs have 19 sacks this season, led by Chase Hammons’ team-high five sacks.
“They’re very active up front,” Cimpl said. “They’re going to provide a lot of different looks for our guys that we’re going to have to sort out. They’re very aggressive.”
The Tigers’ offensive line has shown improvement in recent weeks, but still gave up five sacks over the past two weeks. They have allowed multiple sacks in six games this year.
That said, DWU’s run game has seen a boost in recent weeks with Emery native Jamin Arend, who topped 100 rushing yards for the first time in his career against the Jimmies. He gained 119 yards on 24 carries.
“Being able to keep our quarterback clean in our pocket is going to be huge,” Cimpl said. “Being able to run the football, where guys aren’t able to set up their next pass rush move will be critical, as well.”