SEWARD, Neb. – Midland University’s football team rode a stout defensive effort to another conference win on Saturday after holding its opponent scoreless for the final three and a half quarters of play.
The Warriors (5-4 overall, 4-3 GPAC) took down their in-state rivals Concordia Bulldogs (3-6 overall, 3-5 GPAC) 27-7 in Seward for the team’s second consecutive win in the series.
Midland’s defense allowed only one touchdown at the midway point of the first quarter, and that was after a Midland fumble on a punt return set the Bulldogs up at the Midland 18 yard line. That score can hardly be placed on the defense after forcing a punt.
The defense was unfazed after that and stayed locked in as a unit to lead the team to victory. The Warriors allowed just 263 yards of total offense with just 48 of those yards coming on the ground. After the stellar outing, the defense ranks 18th in the NAIA in rushing defense (111.6 YPG).
The credit belongs with the players, but also with the coaching staff that got the defense ready to play. Defensive coordinator Vance Winter was returning to the school where he had served as head coach for the past eight seasons, and his knowledge of the Bulldog personnel likely had something to do with the big outing.
Senior linebacker Jett Hampton led the Warriors with 11 total tackles in the contest, but he certainly wasn’t’ the only one leading the charge. Sophomore defensive lineman Chase Lipsys totaled six tackles, four tackles for loss, and three sacks that totaled -19 yards.
Hampton also recorded a sack and an interception in the contest.
As a team, the Warriors racked up eight sacks for -38 yards and 13 tackles for loss that resulted in -44 yards for Concordia’s offense. They also snagged four interceptions, two of which were credited to senior defensive back Christian Harmon.
On offense, the Warriors scored once in each quarter to steadily walk away with the win. Midland scored on its first drive of the game as senior quarterback Noah Oswald capped off a 75-yard drive with a 21-yard touchdown pass to sophomore wide receiver Austin Harris.
Oswald and Harris connected again in the final minute of the second quarter, this time from 37 yards out to give the Warriors a 14-7 halftime lead. On their first possession of the second half, the duo struck for a third time as the 16-yard pitch-and-catch touchdown put the Warriors up 20-7.
Astonishingly, the three touchdown catches for Harris were his only three receptions of the game as he totaled 74 yards. Senior Austan Daniels didn’t find the end zone, but totaled six catches for 72 yards.
Oswald finished the day 14-for-34 passing for 194 yards. He also added 75 rushing yards on 11 attempts.
Freshman running back Maximus Wold completed the scoring for Midland with a seven-yard touchdown run late in the fourth quarter to cap an 80-yard drive. Wold carried the ball 26 times for 126 yards while adding three catches for 34 yards to his offensive total.
After starting just 1-4, the Warriors have found their stride late in the season and are still in position to finish the season, at best, at a solid 7-4. Should the Warriors consistently play defense like they did on Saturday, they’ll be tough to beat no matter what else happens.
The Warriors return to Heedum Field this Saturday, November 9, for a 1:00 p.m. kickoff versus the Doane University Tigers. Midland will celebrate Senior Day and recognize the senior class before the game.