FREMONT, Neb. – Midland University’s football team never could get going on Homecoming Saturday as the Warriors managed just seven points and dropped their fourth straight game.
The Warriors (1-4 overall, 0-3 GPAC) played solid on the defensive end all game, but couldn’t overcome four offensive turnovers as they fell 13-7 to the Briar Cliff Chargers (4-2 overall, 3-1 GPAC).
Midland’s offense couldn’t manage to build any momentum in the game as Briar Cliff made things hard on the Warriors for 60 minutes on Saturday. The Chargers couldn’t manage to do much either as offense was at a premium, but a fast start for Briar Cliff ultimately made the difference.
The Chargers scored on their first drive of the game thanks to a 51-yard rushing touchdown from Greg Henry. From that point, it looked as though offense would take over the game, but the defenses came to play this weekend.
The Warriors only managed to enter Charger territory once in the first half as that drive ended in a missed 27-yard field goal attempt from Camdon Griffiths. Later on in the half, Henry scored his second rushing touchdown of the game, this one from five yards out, to put the Chargers up 13-0 at halftime. That drive was set up by an interception from Jovon Woods.
Henry led the Chargers with 128 yards rushing on 29 attempts.
Forced to play from behind for the entirety of the game, the Warriors struggled to dig themselves out of that hole, especially as the second half wore on.
Senior quarterback Payton Nelson was intercepted midway through the third quarter by Markel Roby at the Briar Cliff 30 yard line, putting a fast end to a promising drive for the Midland offense.
Early in the fourth quarter, the Warriors again left points on the field as senior running back Garry Cannon was stood up on fourth-and-goal from the one-yard line, leaving the Warriors without points after one of their best drives of the game.
Briar Cliff punted on its ensuing possession, and with favorable field position, the Warriors capitalized and scored quickly on a Nelson 11-yard touchdown rush to cut the deficit to 13-7.
After seeming to have some momentum, Nelson was picked off on each of the next two drives for Midland, stalling them out before they could get close to tying or taking the lead. Midland had one final chance to march down the field and score with just under two minutes to go when their drive began, but a sack on fourth down and 10 from Ricardo Toriz ended Midland’s comeback shot before it could begin.
Nelson finished just 11-for-29 for 103 yards and four interceptions in the game. On the other side, Chargers quarterback Jonathan Santos was only 9-for-22 passing for just 60 yards through the air. The defenses were on full display as Midland managed just 170 rushing yards and 103 passing yards, while Briar Cliff totaled just 135 yards on the ground and 60 through the air.
Robb Huddleston led the way for the Charger’s defense as he totaled 13 tackles, three tackles-for-loss, and one sack. Woods picked off two passes, along with one each for Roby and Alex Johnson Jr.
Sophomore linebacker Trevor Havlovic led the Warriors with 15 total tackles, including one tackle-for-loss. Havlovic was one of six Warriors to contribute on tackles-for-loss in the game.
It’s a difficult game to swallow for the Warriors as they let chances slip away from them. It’s especially frustrating knowing that they had to work hard against the Chargers defense just to get those chances, but for the third time this season, Midland came up just a play or two short of getting the win.
Midland is on the road next week as the Warriors travel to take on the Hastings College Broncos (2-3 , 1-3 GPAC) on Saturday, October 12, at 1:00 p.m. in Hastings, Nebraska.