Football team battles UD to the wire
The Key City Clash proved once again that the Loras-UD rivalry is alive and well.
The Spartans came into the game ranked No. 25 in the NCAA Division III rankings and had defeated Loras six times in a row. Despite being a heavy underdog, Loras put up a fight to the finish.
In the beginning, it was all Spartans. UD’s Conor Feckley dove in for a 3-yard touchdown less than five minutes into the game. Later in the first quarter, Feckley threw a 50-yard touchdown pass to Emanuel Jenkins, lifting UD to a 14-0 lead.
Midway through the second quarter, Feckley scored again on a 1-yard touchdown run to give the Spartans a 21-0 lead.
However, led by veteran quarterback Bob Kelly, the Duhawks would mount a furious comeback. The offense came alive late in the first half, scoring a touchdown with just 9 seconds to go in the first half. Kelly connected on a 17-yard touchdown strike to Brad Boelkow to get the Duhawks on the board. UD led 21-7 at halftime.
“I think we had too much energy when we started the game. Guys were too amped up and we played beyond what they should have been doing. They had to calm down a little bit,” said Coach Steven Helminiak.
The two teams traded field goals in the third quarter. Mason Quigley connected on a 42-yard field goal for Loras, and UD answered with a 25-yard field goal.
Then late in the third quarter, lightning struck when Boelkow scored on a 69-yard touchdown reception from Bob Kelly to bring the Duhawks within a touchdown, now trailing 24-17.
UD kicked another field goal early in the fourth quarter to give the Spartans a 27-17 lead. But with less than six minutes to play in the game, senior Ike Cloward scored on a 1-yard touchdown run to trim UD’s lead to 27-24.
The Duhawks would run out of time, however. With seconds remaining in the game, Quigley attempted a long field goal in a bid to tie the game, but the ball fell short thanks to a strong wind, and the Spartans survived the comeback for a 27-24 win.
“We just have to limit mistakes, execute for four quarters and play on a consistent level,” said Assistant Coach David Zoeckler.
The football team now is gearing up to face Buena Vista this Saturday at the Rock Bowl, with kickoff set for 1 p.m.
“Forget this one tomorrow,” said Boelkow. “Get to practice and get ready for Buena Vista. They’re an up-tempo team, I think they’re a top team in the conference and playing confidently. It’s not going to get any easier moving forward, but we’ll be ready.