HASTINGS, Neb. – Midland University’s football team broke out of its slump in a big way on Saturday as it dominated against Hastings College to claim the Watchorn-McLaughlin Trophy for a fourth consecutive season.
The Warriors (2-4, 1-3 GPAC) scored early and scored often against the Broncos (2-4, 1-4 GPAC) en route to a 61-20 victory that breaks a four-game skid for Midland.
“It was a good, solid win. I really liked the energy our guys played with today,” said Midland head coach Jeff Jamrog. “It was good to see the offense do what they were doing today, and I thought the defense, other than maybe two plays, played a really solid game.”
Touchdowns on each of Midland’s first three drives set the tone for the rest of the game as the Warriors jumped out to a quick 21-0 lead in the first quarter. With the defense holding the Broncos to just 20 points in the game, the Warriors could have stopped there and still taken home to Watchorn-McLaughlin Trophy.
A pair of Hastings touchdowns in the first half made the score 27-13 at the half, but the Warriors outscored the home team 34-7 in the second half to run away with the win.
“Give Hastings credit, they came back but our defense held them to field goals,” Jamrog said. “We played really well in the second half in all phases, and that’s what it looks like when you play well in all three phases. It was a great win.”
Senior quarterback Noah Oswald returned to action after being limited with a hand injury in recent weeks. He led the offense to a breakout performance on Saturday as he accounted for seven of the team’s eight touchdowns.
Oswald finished the game 22-for-36 passing for 304 yards and five passing touchdowns to four different Warrior receivers. He also rushed the ball 11 times for 43 yards and two touchdowns on the ground. That led to a stellar 667 yards of total offense for the Warriors.
But a breakout performance usually means there was a breakout star as well, and Midland found one in freshman running back Maximus Wold on Saturday. In the first real action of his career, the freshman carried the ball nine times for 91 yards with zero negative-yard plays and scored his first career touchdown in the middle of the fourth quarter.
Entering the game, Wold had only one other collegiate carry that came back in the Warriors’ season-opening 48-17 win at Southwestern (Kan.).
Senior Austan Daniels and sophomore Austin Harris led the Midland receivers on the afternoon. Daniels led the way with nine catches for 110 yards and a touchdown, while Harris totaled two touchdown receptions, four catches, and 86 yards.
Cannon and junior fullback Jake Dinges also added reception touchdowns. For Dinges, it was his first, and still only, career catch for his first collegiate touchdown.
Midland’s defense did its job as well, particularly in the secondary as they held Hastings’ leading receiver Keiotey Stenhouse to three catches for a mere 19 yards. Starting quarterback Isaiah Jackson was just 12-for-30 passing with one touchdown pass and two interceptions.
The interceptions for Midland, the first coming in the game’s opening possession, were courtesy of senior defensive backs Ashton Ellis and Ronnie Taylor. Taylor also added two pass breakups to help lead the way for Midland’s defense.
Senior linebacker Jett Hampton totaled eight tackles to lead the Warriors in that category, while a pair of defensive linemen, sophomore Chase Lipsys (2) and senior Warren Thomas, totaled three sacks on the day.
Midland picked the right time to get back in the win column as the win ensures that the four-year seniors on the roster finish their careers 4-0 against rival Hastings in the Watchorn-McLaughlin Trophy games.
“I told those seniors that they did something that no one has done at Midland since 1992, and that’s win four consecutive games against Hastings,” Jamrog said. “It’s awesome that those guys will leave knowing that they beat them every year.”
With more winnable games ahead on the schedule, this game may serve as the turning point as the Warriors try to right the ship and finish strong in 2019.
“We just have to keep getting better and try to go 1-0, that’s our goal every week, “Jamrog said. “We have to regroup, watch this film, and get ready for Dakota Wesleyan.”
The Warriors are back at Heedum Field on Saturday, October 19 for a 1:00 p.m. kickoff versus Dakota Wesleyan (1-6 , 0-5 GPAC).