Hawks destroy Warriors, 73-7


Sept. 10, 2014

By Andrea Sidklaus

One year ago, the Warhawks football team began its journey to perfection as it met opponent after opponent and reigned victorious over each one, including a win against long-time rival Mount Union at Stagg Bowl XLI to capture its fifth NCAA Division-III championship title in seven years.

This year, the ’Hawks are expected to repeat the feat, and if the 2014 season home-opener against Waldorf College last Friday night is any indication of the remainder of the ’Hawks’ season, the team could likely add another trophy to their case.

The Warhawks trampled over Waldorf College, 73-7, and posted 49 points in the first half, 28 of which came in the first quarter, extending their win streak to 18.

On the ground, the ’Hawks almost quadrupled the Warriors’ rushing yards, recording 215 compared to Waldorf’s 54. In the air, the Warhawks scored five passing touchdowns, while the Warriors were unable to score one and out-threw their non-conference opponent by 112 yards.

“I’m very pleased with the way we played,” head coach Lance Leipold said. “I think we came out attacking and took advantage of opportunities. We were able to get some people in there really quickly, and we played a lot of people.”

The ’Hawks recorded 10 touchdowns scored by nine different players, ranging from freshmen, including Marcus Hudson and Eric Wade, to seniors like Ryan Givens and Joe Worth. This achievement tied a school record last accomplished in 2010.

“Some of these guys were playing their first college football game, and it’s neat watching the other guys,” Leipold said. “Ryan Givens is getting excited for the young freshmen running backs that have been sitting in meetings with him for three weeks, and it’s neat watching those things happen.”

No. 2 quarterback sophomore Chris Nelson threw for a career-high 153 yards and four touchdowns in Friday night’s game, but not before senior quarterback Matt Behrendt tossed an 11-yard pass to wide receiver Joe Worth on the ’Hawks’ opening possession. Behrendt went four-for-five with 35 yards prior to exiting the game six minutes into the first quarter.

“I was a little surprised [to be going in during the first quarter], but I was excited at the same time,” Nelson said. “Matt is a great quarterback, so I just like to take everything I can from him and just soak it all in and learn.”

Due to the Warriors’ struggle to gain offensive yards, Leipold said it is difficult to tell how the ’Hawks’ defense played.

“There’s some experience in the defensive line, and there’s some experience in the [secondary], so hopefully that’s going to help the learning curve for that linebacker corps,” Leipold said. “We didn’t give up many big plays with those first couple units on the field, but we know we’ll be tested more in the next couple weeks.”

Up next, the ’Hawks will head to Indiana to face off against Franklin College, which dropped off the top-25 poll after suffering a loss to Illinois Wesleyan College, 42-35, Sept. 6.

The most recent meeting between the two teams was last season’s second-round playoff game Nov. 30, 2013 at Perkins Stadium, which proved to be another triumph for the ’Hawks’ during their national championship title run as they defeated the Grizzlies, 33-3.

While the ’Hawks demonstrated total dominance against the Warriors, Nelson said Franklin College is a tougher opponent, but defeating Waldorf by such a large margin has its advantages.

“We had a pretty clean game, and I think that’s going to help,” Nelson said. “We’re going to have to still come out and play a lot better, but by just doing the small things right, we did what we could with the team that we played tonight.”