The early season struggles for the Bethel Royals continued on Saturday, as the Concordia Cobbers rolled into Arden Hills and walked away with a hard fought 21-13 victory. That win was led by Michael Herzog, who threw for 72-yards and ran for 92 more, and by the Cobbers defense that held the prolific Bethel offense to just 293-yards on the day. That moved Concordia to 2-1 and dropped Bethel University to 0-3.
The game began with Concordia punting after they took the ball to start the contest, but were not able to get more than one first down. Bethel started their opening possession at their own nine-yard line but, after moving the ball 51-yards, they were forced to punt as well.
That gave the Cobbers the ball at their own 20. Herzog and his corral of running backs then went to work. Herzog rushed twice to start the possession, in what would become a 14-play, 80-yard drive. It saw the QB throw a 15-yard pass completion to Matt Connelly on third and 9, and Ryan Cihak gained a first down on third and 3 with an 11-yard scamper. After Herzog found Connelly for an 18-yard completion down to the Bethel two-yard line, Dane Ringquist scored on the next play to make it 7-0.
On their third possession of the game, the Royals would tie the score. They would begin at their own 29, and would mount an impressive drive as well, moving 71-yards in 15-plays. Senior Andrew Dzurik competed three-passes to receiver Jackson Canfield on the drive, two of which went for first downs. On second and goal from the one, Dzurik kept the ball on the keeper and scored to tie the score at seven.
That is how it would remain heading into the half. Bethel took the opening kickoff of the third quarter, but were forced to punt. That put the ball back into Herzog’s hand, and he would play the most significant role on the drive.
Starting from his own 27, the Concordia quarterback would run or throw on all but two of the 13-plays. That included a 14-yard pass to Kevin Marzolf. The first play where he did not handle the ball was a 21-yard run by Ringquist on third and 5 from the Concordia 45. On second and goal from the five, Jason Montonye scored to put the Cobbers back on top 14-7.
On their next possession they would get back into the end zone again. This time Herzog scored from 11-yards out on third and 1, and the Cobbers were up 21-7. The drive was a great example of why Concordia was able to win this contest. They would convert two third-down situations, and finished the day 10 of 16 in converting their third downs. That simply kept the Bethel defense on the field for too long and they wore down over these extended drives.
The Royals would get back in the end zone with 4:06 left in the game. Trey Anderson was in at quarterback, and he moved the Royals 9-plays in 45-yards before the sophomore kept the ball himself and scored from five-yards out to make it 21-13.
That was as close as the Royals would get, however. Bethel had one more shot at tying the score, but their final drive ended when Anderson was stopped three-yards short on fourth and 8, giving the Concordia Cobbers the eight-point victory.
Herzog finished 7-11 passing for 72-yards for the Concordia Cobbers. He also rushed for 93-yards on 23-carries with a touchdown. Dzurik was 18-34 passing for Bethel for 181-yards. Anderson finished 7-12 for 43-yards and he rushed for 19-more.
The Concordia defense held the Royals to just 69-yards rushing. David Shepler had 13-tackles for Bethel and Dawson Brown added 12.
Next week, the Royals travel to Northfield to take on St. Olaf. Kick-off is 1 PM.
By Robert Pannier