Great defense and three touchdown passes by the third quarterback to start a game this season for the Chargers helped the Cliff to a 20-13 win over Dakota Wesleyan Saturday at Memorial Field.
Diaz got the start at quarterback in his first action of the season and finished the game with 275 yards passing. He completed 14-of-21 passes with three touchdowns and two interceptions. Noah Ylagan supplied the team with the ground attack, finishing with 29 carries for 129 yards. By passing the century mark, Ylagan became the first Briar Cliff player to record 10 games of 100 or more rushing yards in a career.
The biggest play of the game came when Diaz connected with Logann Freeman, who broke free from the defense for a 94-yard score. That touchdown evened things up, as the Chargers trailed from the get go when Daniel Libolt returned the opening kickoff 94 yards for a touchdown.
Dakota Wesleyan would take another lead on a Tate Gale 30 yard field goal with 1:35 to go in the opening quarter. The drive was considered a positive for the Charger defense, as DWU began the drive at the Charger 15 yard line. The defense for the Cliff was a force all game, allowing just 260 yards against an offense that averaged 465.5 yards per contest. Dakota Wesleyan struggled to keep drives alive, going 1-for-17 on third down attempts. The Tigers had better success on fourth down, converting on 4-of-7 tries.
The Tigers held their three point lead until Diaz connected on another long touchdown pass, this time to Elijah Brown. With 5:02 until the half, Brown took a reception 65 yards for a score. A missed extra point followed as the final score before the break saw BC leading 13-10.
Midway through the third quarter, another DWU possession was halted in the red zone and Gale was called to kick a field goal that tied the game back up at 13. Wesleyan missed two field goal attempts on the day, both by Noah Vettrus. Vettrus, the long-range kicker for the Tigers, was unsuccessful on tries of 45 and 52 yards. The 45-yarder came up short, while the 52-yard attempt went wide left. Briar Cliff also missed a field goal try when Steven Delia went wide right with 8:29 left to play. The following possession saw the game-winning touchdown by the Cliff.
Briar Cliff put up 426 yards as a team in the game and improved to 4-1 on the year and 2-1 in GPAC play. Freeman led all receivers in yards with 120 on three catches. Khamren Davenportcontributed 51 yards on three catches and Elijah Brown had two catches for 71 yards.
Dakota Wesleyan was led offensively by QB Shaye Slaughter. Slaughter passed for 191 yards, but on just 19 completions on 44 throws. He had zero touchdowns but was picked off once by Alexander Johnson Jr. Slaughter was the leading runner for DWU with 45 yards. Luke Loudenburg had 34 yards on 15 carries and Spencer Neugebauer was the top receiver for the Tigers, hauling in eight passes for 57 yards. Dakota Wesleyan dropped to 1-4 overall and 0-3 in the conference.
Briar Cliff’s next contest is Saturday, October 6 as the Chargers head to North Dakota to face Jamestown. The Jimmies are 1-5 overall and 0-4 in the GPAC, but have played teams tight with an overtime loss at (RV) Midland on Saturday.