Five first quarter turnovers and seven overall proved to be too much to overcome for Briar Cliff as the Chargers dropped a GPAC football meeting with Concordia 16-14 Saturday in Seward, Neb.
The defensive unit for the Cliff kept the Chargers in the contest despite being put in tough situations throughout the contest. The Bulldogs had -21 yards of rushing in the first half, a big factor in holding Concordia to just 13 first half points.
“It was another good performance on defense,” head coach Dennis Wagner noted. “Just too many mistakes and turnovers on offense.”
The game was scoreless until the final minute of the opening quarter when a Charger defender slipped, leading to a 55-yard touchdown pass from Jake Kemp to Korrell Koehlmoos. The Bulldogs would go up two scores with a field goal set up by a BC fumble on the kickoff after the TD pass.
Briar Cliff cut into that lead midway through the second stanza on a 3-yard touchdown run by Greg Henry. That score was set up by a 40-yard completion by Jonathan Santos to Kobe Johnson. It was the second chunk yardage play by the Blue and Gold as earlier in the half Khamren Davenport had a catch-and-run of 63 yards, but that drive would stall out in the red zone.
Concordia would tack on a field goal just before half and head into the locker room leading 13-7.
After recovering a fumble on a punt earlier in the game, the Bulldogs gave one back in the third quarter to put the Chargers in business at the Concordia 10-yard line. BC would take advantage as Santos connected with Tyler French to give the Blue and Gold a 14-13 lead. Unfortunately, the Bulldogs were able to bounce back on their Homecoming with a fourth quarter field goal for the final score of the game to escape with the 16-14 win.
The best opportunity for the Cliff in the final quarter came after Michael Williams II blocked his third punt of the year to set BC up at the Concordia 29. AJ Jenkins came up with arguably the play of the game for the Bulldogs as he picked off a pass on the very next play to help keep the lead for his team.
“The inability to run the ball has really hurt us the last two weeks,” Wagner noted. “We have a huge character check in front of us next week.”
For the game, Concordia ran 80 total plays on offense to BC’s 56. The Bulldogs totaled 278 yards compared to 191 for the Chargers. The Chargers only managed to move the chains for five first downs, while Concordia tallied 17. Neither team had any luck with the ground attack as Briar Cliff held the edge in rushing 17-13. Third downs were also dominated by the defenses, Briar Cliff converted on 1-of-13 and Concordia had succes on 2-of-18 third down tries.
Briar Cliff’s defense finished with 11 tackles for loss as a team, led by Robert Robinson‘s 4.5. Concordia’s QB Kemp was sacked five times, twice by Marcus Tappen. Santos was only sacked once in the contest. Santos was hit four times on passes, compared to 10 times for Kemp. Robinson has six of those QB hits while Ricardo Toriz was credited with the other four. Robinson tied for a game-high 10 tackles and had two pass breakups. Markel Roby was the other player to notch 10 tackles. Nate Villalobos had an interception for BC.
The win evened up Concordia’s overall and GPAC record as the Bulldogs are 2-2 this season with a 1-1 league mark. The loss was the seventh straight on the road for Briar Cliff as the Chargers (3-2, 2-1 GPAC) look to break that trend next week when they take on Midland in Fremont, Neb.