FREMONT, Neb. – Midland University’s football team sprinted out to an early lead and never looked back as the program honored its senior class with a rivalry win on Saturday afternoon.
The Warriors (6-4 overall, 5-3 GPAC) scored 24 unanswered points in the first half and coasted to a 31-7 win over the Doane University Tigers (4-7 overall, 4-5 GPAC) to put an exclamation point on a five-game winning-streak.
“It was fun to send these seniors out the right way,” said Midland head coach Jeff Jamrog. “My hat goes off to our guys for how hard they played. We had a great week of practice, and our coaches and players put so much time and effort into it.”
Senior quarterback Noah Oswald led the offensive charge yet again as he threw for 211 yards and three touchdown passes to complete his final game at Heedum Field with another strong performance. Oswald also rushed for a touchdown in the first quarter to make him responsible for each of Midland’s four touchdowns in the game.
The Warriors started the scoring with a 25-yard field goal attempt from Camdon Griffiths, his third of the season on four attempts. Midland hasn’t settled for many field goal attempts this season, and the team didn’t need to trot Griffiths out there again for the rest of the game.
Instead, the Warriors stuck to touchdowns as the special teams unit forced a turnover on downs after Doane came up short on a fake punt attempt to set up a 13-yard touchdown pass from Oswald to senior wide receiver Austan Daniels to put Midland up 10-0.
In the second quarter, Midland scored twice more as Oswald completed a 52-yard drive with a perfect 31-yard touchdown pass to sophomore wide receiver Austin Harris and later capped a 65-yard drive with a 20-yard rushing touchdown after fooling the Tigers with a fake hand off.
Oswald’s numbers continued to improve as he now ranks third in the GPAC and top-40 in the nation in total offense with 201.1 yards per game. These numbers come after Oswald was limited with a hand injury and essentially missed the better part of three games earlier in the season.
The Warriors only scored once in the second half as Oswald connected with senior fullback Ju’Nathean McAllister on a 23-yard pitch-and-catch touchdown for the senior’s second of the season.
Freshman running back Maximus Wold carried the Warriors on the ground and totaled 41 yards on 14 attempts. Oswald totaled 35 rushing yards while senior Garry Cannon also carried for 30 yards. Midland found most of its success through the air as Harris totaled five catches for 118 yards to lead the team.
McAllister and junior tight end Brenden Gerlach each totaled 23 receiving yards as well.
For the third straight week, Midland’s defense had a phenomenal showing as the unit allowed just 122 yards of total offense from the Tigers and held them to a mere seven points. Doane quarterbacks combined to complete just six passes on 18 attempts and throw for just 68 yards while Midland’s front seven surrendered just 54 rushing yards on 38 attempts.
“Credit to coach [Ross Dzuris] for coaching those guys, and the game plan that coach [Vance Winter] came up with,” Jamrog said. “The last two weeks, holding two teams to seven points, it’s really hats off to that group.”
Doane’s lone touchdown came late in the third quarter after a bad punt and personal foul penalty set the Tigers up at Midland’s 13 yard line. The Tigers ran five plays and used a one-yard rush from Drake Davidson to get on the scoreboard.
In past weeks, Midland has relied on turnovers to get the defense going, but Saturday was all about playing tough for the whole 60 minutes. Even without a turnover, the Warriors put together one of their best defensive performances of the season.
Sophomore linebacker Trevor Havlovic led Midland with 11 total tackles, including three tackles for loss and a sack. Senior lineman Warren Thomas and sophomore linebacker Chase Lipsys each added 2.5 sacks on the day as well while the Warriors totaled 12 tackles for loss that resulted in -44 yards for Doane.
Despite a slow start to the season, the Warriors have rebounded well and have guaranteed themselves a winning season for the fourth straight year. Four straight losses left the program searching for answers, but five straight wins since has turned the season all the way back around.
Midland now sits fourth in the GPAC standings behind Dordt University, meaning that next week’s season finale will be for sole possession of third place in the conference standings behind No. 1 Morningside and No. 5 Northwestern.
The Warriors conclude the 2019 season next Saturday, November 16, when they travel to Sioux Center, Iowa to take on the Dordt Defenders at 1:00 p.m.