The last two weekends have been down and up for Duhawk football. Over Fall Free Days, Loras traveled to Waverly, IA, to take on undefeated Wartburg. This past weekend, Loras hosted a powerful Coe team at home, with a much different result. While Wartburg slowed the momentum for Loras football, Coe was yet another igniter coming towards the end of the regular season.
In Waverly, Loras struggled to get the offense going, recording no touchdowns during the contest. The defense let Wartburg manage 42 points as well, showing some room for improvement. Despite facing the No. 16 team in the country, Head Coach Steve Helminiak was not happy with his team’s performance.
“We let a lot get by,” Helminiak said. “Our offense didn’t produce, and our defense didn’t stop production.”
Despite the 11-42 loss, some positives emerged from the competition. Senior kicker Mason Quigley broke the school record for points in a season by a kicker, standing at 61. Quigley is also within two field goals for the record in a season. Junior Walter Ollie needs 10 more kick returns to set the record for most in a season and sits 55 yards back of most kick return yards in a season.
Coming back to the Rock Bowl instilled a new attitude in the Duhawks. Against the Kohawks, Loras showed new life and talent. The game started with a bang as junior Walter Ollie returned the opening kickoff 100 yards for the first touchdown. From that point forward, the game was a complete back-and-forth affair.
With 1:35 left in the game, senior Ike Cloward fought his way into the end zone. But with a missed field goal, the Kohawks had a chance to drive and win. Coe drove down to the five yard-line, threatening to steal the game in the final seconds. However, the Duhawk defense played strong and the final pass of the game was broken up in the end zone, sealing the win for the Duhawks.
“We played for each other and picked up for one another,” said senior Josh Schulte. “The offense picked up the defense, and the defense picked up the offense.”
Helminiak praised the offense for their efficiency.
“We have such a better chance of winning when we don’t turn the ball over,” Helminiak said. “Sounds obvious, but the result of today’s game was a one turnover difference.”
That being said, he still had criticisms for his team.
“We needed to get going in the first quarter offensively.”
Junior Walter Ollie became just the 84th player in NCAA DIII history to return a kickoff 100 yards. He also broke the single-season record for kick-return yards. Senior Bob Kelly had himself a day as well, notching a career-best 385 yards. His four passing touchdowns also tied his career best. On the defensive side, sophomore Riley Larson and junior Alex Wernimont set career-highs in tackles. The Duhawks were operating on all cylinders in their win against Coe.
Up next the Duhawks head to Pella to take on Central. With a similar record, the game should be evenly matched. Coming off their bye week, Central will surely be looking to notch another win with a fresh team. Kickoff is at 1 p.m. from Schipper Stadium.