Tigers top Bulldogs in season finale: DWU holds Concordia to 3 points in second half
Dakota Wesleyan University’s defense contained Concordia University in the second half, while its offense recorded a season-high 364 yards on Saturday.
The Tigers concluded its season with a 28-17 win over Concordia University in their season finale at Joe Quintal Field.
After a 14-14 halftime score, DWU (4-5) used a strong defensive effort in the second half to hold off the Bulldogs, who came in averaging 22.6 points and 357.1 yards per game. Concordia was held to just three points in the second half. The Bulldogs finished with 311 total yards.
“The work that our defensive coaches have had to do and then the work our players have had to do has been incredible,” DWU coach Ross Cimpl said. “Those guys were borderline dominant today. Offensively we put them in some tough spots with turnovers or whatever it was and they didn’t even bat an eye. They didn’t waver and that’s impressive to see.”
DWU senior wide receiver Spencer Neugebauer was also impressive in his final game at Joe Quintal Field. The Mitchell High School graduate finished with 10 receptions for 118 yards and one receiving touchdown, while also rushing for another score.
“It was fun to see him have that good of a game in his last chance at home,” Cimpl said.
DWU quarterback Zachary Lester threw for 255 yards and two touchdowns. Neugebauer’s one-yard touchdown run in the third quarter broke the 14-14 tie, making it 21-14 with 3-minutes and 54 seconds left. Neugebauer took the shotgun snap and bounced it outside for the score, with high school teammate and DWU linebacker Cody Reichelt lead blocking on the play.
“We put that package in just this week to put Cody on the field to score my last career touchdown and also Sam Kretschmar, too,” Neugebauer said. “He’s another defensive guy we threw in there. Those guys just did their job and then I tried doing mine and we came out successful with a touchdown luckily.”
Concordia responded with a Jayden Brosius 29-yard field goal that just snuck over the crossbar. But the Bulldogs were kept out of the end zone and DWU’s offense put the game away midway through the fourth quarter.
DWU’s Jamin Arend, who finished with 102 rushing yards, scored an 11-yard touchdown run with 7:33 left in the game.
“To make it a two-score game is huge and I think it gave our defense confidence to kind of cut loose,” Cimpl said.
DWU forced a Concordia turnover on downs and it ran out the clock for the victory.
Concordia’s Blake Culbert finished with 224 passing yards, one touchdown and one interception. He connected with Cayden Beran for a touchdown reception and finished with 108 receiving yards. After Jonah Weyand’s rushing touchdown in the second quarter made it 14-7, the Bulldogs were kept out of the end zone.
“We switched up our coverage a little bit,” said Reichelt, who had nine tackles. “We made a few adjustments here and there and I think it made the difference.”
Garrett Determan evened the score at 14-14 on an 11-yard touchdown reception from Lester. Neugebauer’s 26-yard touchdown reception in the first quarter put DWU ahead, 7-0. He hauled in the touchdown over his shoulder in the corner of the end zone.
“I just gave him a double move and Zach still told me right before we were running that play ‘I am throwing it to the back of the end zone,’ ” Neugebauer said. “I tried to adjust as best I could and came down with the ball luckily.”
The Tigers finished their season with three straight wins after starting the season 0-3.
“I can’t say enough about this football team,” Reichelt said. “We’ve been through thick and thin together. We stuck it out and won our last three games. I just can’t be more proud of our guys.”