Loras stumps Simpson

By Audrey Miller

DUBUQUE, IA. – Last Saturday’s sunshine and mild temperatures were good omens for the football team, who took to the field for a 1 p.m. game against Simpson College. The team was coming off a big win against Nebraska Wesleyan University, where they ended up scoring three unanswered touchdowns to come back from a 14-0 deficit early in the game.

“We felt good as a team coming off back-to-back wins in the conference,” said junior star quarterback Noah Sigwarth. “Simpson has always been a strong program in the conference, so we knew we would have to earn the win. They returned a few really good football players on defense – one being the former conference defensive MVP and All-American. It didn’t affect our game plan much; I was just always aware of where they were on any given play.”

Just like last week’s 14-0 starting point deficit, these magic numbers appeared in the Duhawks’ Nov. 9 game as well, with Simpson College scoring 14 unanswered points in the first fifteen minutes of the game. However, in typical Duhawk fashion, the Loras players found their stride and began to pressure the Simpson Stormy.

“I felt pretty confident that we were going to do well, based off our week of practice,” said sophomore wide receiver Kabryn Cook. “We knew that Simpson was going to be a tough opponent for us.”

The first big victory for the Duhawks in the game was a forced fumble from senior defensive back Brandon Ahlgrim and a swift recovery by senior DB Brett Matye. This was all the team needed to find their stride and begin their domination on the field. Once the Duhawks were in possession of the ball, Sigwarth took charge and moved the offensive line down the field. In a moment of suspense, Sigwarth’s 12-yard rush was met with Stormy resistance, knocking the ball loose. Fortunately, senior offensive lineman Dylan Connolly recovered the ball, keeping possession out of Stormy hands. Following this close call, first-year Ty Bausch ran for a touchdown and junior kicker Nicolas Farfan secured the subsequent field goal.

The Simpson Stormy responded immediately, putting one of their players in the end-zone, but missed the field goal. However, this score still put the Stormy ahead: 20-7. The Duhawks responded immediately and scored in the following play, with 5:49 left in the half. Another fumble by the Simpson Stormy and junior linebacker Brett McWilliams quickly snatched up the ball for a Duhawk possession. Shortly after this recovery, with a whole new set of downs at the 22-yard line, Sigwarth found junior Mike McDevitt in the endzone for yet another touchdown. Farfan secured the extra point and Loras finally took the lead, 21-20, right before halftime. Before time ran out in the first half, the Simpson Stormy attempted a 43-yard field goal but did not make the kick. This sent the Duhawks back into the locker room with their spirits high and ready to dominate again in the second half.

Once the second half started up again, the Simpson Stormy had seen all the points they would garner in the game, but the Duhawks were not done yet. Farfan kicked and secured a field goal with a few minutes left to go in the third quarter, bumping the score to 31-20. Following this field goal was yet another touchdown by Sigwarth, who found Cook downfield for a 34-yard completion and set up a first down to the goal, which the Duhawks managed easily. This bumped the Duhawks’ lead even higher to what would be the final score of the game: 38-20. For the remainder of the game, neither team scored as the Loras defense held the Stormy at bay.

“Our biggest asset this season has to be our defense,” Sigwarth said. “They have come up big in some games when we needed them.”

This was the Duhawks’ third straight win against Simpson, after a loss in 2015 which marked the end of a 41-game win streak against the Stormy. The final game of the Duhawks’ 2019 season will take place against Wartburg College on Nov. 16.

“All of the pressure is on Wartburg next week,” Sigwarth said. “They need to win to have a shot at winning conference. We can show up to Waverly and play loose and confident, knowing all the pressure is on them.”

Both football and cross country compete in Waverly, IA, on Nov. 16, with cross country beginning at 11 a.m. and football kicking off at 1 p.m. Be sure to catch both teams on this final guaranteed day of their respective seasons.

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Audrey Miller is a writer for The Lorian.

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