The Concordia University football team began their 2023 season with a 48-35 loss against the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics champions Northwestern College Red Raiders.
The Saturday scorcher started off with a Northwestern touchdown off a 43-yard rush. Concordia promptly responded with a touchdown of their own. Junior Mark Arp rushed 13 yards to score the points. The Bulldogs did not score again until the third quarter, while the Red Raiders gained two more touchdowns.
At the start of the third quarter, Northwestern received the ball. They did not get far as senior Michael Grindey intercepted the Raiders’ pass. Junior quarterback D.J. McGarvie took the opportunity and threw a pass to fellow junior Austin Jablonski for 33 yards.
The next three drives for Concordia ended in touchdowns. Senior Devin Ziegler rushed three yards to get one, Jablonski caught a 7-yard pass to score his second of the day and senior Luke Lang caught a 7-yard pass as well. Northwestern did some work of their own and maintained their lead through the rest of the game. However, both teams played hard till the very end.
McGarvie had a 62 percent pass rate for the game, making 33 out of 53 catches for a total of 413 passing yards. Sophomore Adam Van Cleave had the most catches of the day with 11 for a total of 140 yards, including a fantastic 43-yard pass from McGarvie in the first quarter that moved the team into position for Arp to make his touchdown. Jablonski was another popular target and caught nine passes from McGarvie for 122 yards. Ziegler had the most rushing yards with 102.
As for defensive stats, Grindey and juniors Isiaha Conner and C.J. Dyhrkopp had nine tackles each. Conner had five solo tackles and four assists, Dyhrkopp had three solo and six assists and Grindey had four solo and five assists. Junior Gabriel Knisley had eight tackles with six solos and two assists.
Coach Patrick Daberkow was frustrated with the results of the game. He said, “We didn’t come in here to lose, so anytime you don’t come out with the outcome you want you’re disappointed. But we got 90 percent of our season left, we got a team that believes in what we’re doing, and so I’m excited for us this season.”
Concordia’s record against Northwestern College has been poor even without them being national champs. The last time the Bulldogs beat them was in 2016 with a 9-7 win. Even so, Daberkow was hopeful his team could claw a victory away. He said, “I’m disappointed; we didn’t come here to play close, so we’ll go back to the drawing board and not repeat the same mistakes. That’s gonna be the goal.”
Concordia is now 0-1 overall and 0-1 in the Great Plains Athletic Conference. Their next opponent is Jamestown University with a game up in Jamestown, N.D. on Sept. 9 at 1 p.m. Their next home game is the homecoming game on Sept. 23 against Dakota Wesleyan University.