Parbs Leads Impressive Second Half Comeback for Warriors
Justin Parbs rushed for 208 yards and four touchdowns to help lead the Wisconsin Lutheran College Warriors to a 51-35 victory over Eureka College on Saturday. The Warriors found themselves trailing by 14 early, but scored 14 points in the second quarter and 37 points in the second half to earn the victory. Nate Griffeth was solid in his second career start, throwing for 167 yards and three touchdowns. The victory was the second straight 50+ performance by the WLC offense.
Neither team had much success to the first three possessions of the game, but Eureka took a 7-0 lead on their fourth possession. After an 18-yard punt gave the Red Devils the ball at the Wisconsin Lutheran 33, the team needed just six plays before jumping out in front.
Another special teams miscue gave the Red Devils the ball at the Wisconsin Lutheran 48 on their next possession and they scored eight plays later to make it 14-0. The ground game led the way, as Eureka ran the ball on six of the eight plays, including Peyton Doughty scoring from three yards out.
For the second straight week, the Warriors found themselves trailing by 14. For the second straight week, the team responded by scoring right after falling behind by 14. Starting from their own 25, Griffeth led a six-play, 75-yard drive that took just 2:24 off the clock before Wisconsin Lutheran was in the end zone. After Parbs rushed for five yards to begin the drive, Griffeth found Javier Murillo for six yards and a first down. On second and eight, Griffeth made a beautiful pass to Trevion Green, who hauled in the reception for 24 yards to the Eureka 38. Two plays later, Parbs burst through the line, racing 33 yards for the score to make it 14-7.
Two possessions later, the Warriors were back on the board. It was a huge defensive stand that set up the possession as a six-yard sack by Ty Castillo and Alan Tavarez made it fourth and 25 at the seven. The Eureka punter got off a 20-yard punt that gave WLC the ball at the 27. Griffeth got the drive going quickly, finding Murillo for 13 yards to begin the drive, then connecting with Cole Schneider for a 14-yard touchdown to tie the score at 14.
On their last possession of the half, the Red Devils found the end zone to retake the lead. Kavion Nichols set up the opportunity, intercepting a Griffeth pass at the WLC 36. Four plays later, Lukas Tinkham found Sebastian Hill for a 23-yard touchdown to make it 21-14 heading into the half.
The Warriors defense came out in the second half fired up, forcing three-and-outs on the first four possessions of the half for the Red Devils. That allowed the offense to take control of this game as they were stopped on their first possession coming out of the break, then scored the next three times they had the ball.
On the second possession, another poor punt gave the Warriors the ball at the Eureka 27. This time it was all Parbs, who bowled his way for 17 yards on the first play, then scored from 10 yards out on the second. That tied the score at 21.
On the next possession, Wisconsin Lutheran began in Eureka territory once again, beginning the drive at the 49. The team faced third on six on the third play of the drive, but Griffeth bailed them out of trouble, finding Green for 20 yards to the Red Devils 24. A 15-yard completion to Schneider and an eight-yard strike to Green put the ball at the one. Parbs scored on the next play to give WLC their first lead of the game.
The next possession began at their own 35 for the Warriors, but that proved to be no obstacle. The team went 65-yards in just five plays before extending their lead to 14. A 33-yard carry by Jalen Harris put the ball at the Eureka 11, and Griffeth found Jordan Jewell on the next play to make it 35-21.
The lead became 21 thanks to Jake Antczak, who intercepted a Tinkham pass, returning it 17 yards to the Eureka 23. Three plays later, Griffeth found Green for a six-yard touchdown to make it 42-21.
The momentum continued for Wisconsin Lutheran, thanks to a big play by Parbs. On the next possession for WLC, the running back carried the ball on the first two plays of the drive, gaining 9 yards to set up a third and one. On the third play, he took the ball once again, bursting through the line and racing 86 yards for a touchdown, giving the Warriors a 28-point lead.
The Red Devils had given up 35 unanswered points, but finally got on the board on their next possession. A 15-yard carry by Ben Bernabei started the drive. On the fifth play, Noah Berlett passed the ball to Hill for 24 yards and a score. Even after giving up the touchdown, Wisconsin Lutheran found a way to make a positive out of it, stripping the two-point conversion. Davion Towns recovered, then ran the opposite way for the two-point conversion to make it 51-27.
The Red Devils added one more score with a little over two minutes left in the contest. Berlett connected with Hill for their second touchdown connection of the game. That made it 51-35, which would be the final.
The Warriors put up 455 total yards of offense, including 293 on the ground. Parbs carried the ball 23 times for 208 yards and four touchdowns. It was his second straight week recording four TDs. Griffeth finished 18-30 for 167 yards and three scores. Green had seven catches for 76 yards and a TD.
The defense was led by Castillo who had 12 tackles and 0.5 sacks. Layson Handwork had 10 tackles, including eight solo tackles.
The Wisconsin Lutheran College Warriors (3-4) will look to extend their winning streak to three straight games when they welcome Concordia-Chicago for Senior Day on Saturday. Kickoff is scheduled for 1:00.
by Robert Pannier