Treske Era Begins with Warriors Victory over Rockford. 28-14
It was seven months later than expected, but the Eric Treske era at Wisconsin Lutheran College got underway on Saturday and the Warriors made it a memorable one, defeating Rockford University, 28-14. Sophomore quarterback Nick Yockey set a single game-high with 390 yards passing as the Warriors opened with 21 unanswered points.
Aggressive play-calling was the headline of the day, as both teams attempted four fourth-down conversions. For WLC, that began on their opening possession when the team moved 43 yards to the Rockford 31 before the drive stalled when Yockey’s pass was dropped on fourth and 9.
Back the other way the Regents went, moving to the Warriors 29 where they faced a fourth and 19. Jaelen Ray’s pass fell incomplete, turning the ball back over to Wisconsin Lutheran.
Starting from their own 29, the Warriors quickly moved down the field behind their star quarterback. Yockey began the drive with three straight completions, including a 16-yard strike to Jordan Jewell on third and 1. An unsportsmanlike conduct penalty moved the ball back 15 yards, but WLC had the first down. Yockey completed three straight passes, including first down tosses to Cory Diedrick and Jewell. It looked once again like the Warriors drive would stall when they were faced with a fourth and 10 at the Rockford 33, but the quarterback hit Justin Parbs coming out of the backfield for a 29-yard completion. Parbs scored from 4 yards out on the next play to give Wisconsin Lutheran a 7-0 lead.
The Regents looked to respond on their next drive, moving to the WLC four-yard line where they were at first and goal. However, the defense came up huge, tackling Ray and forcing a fumble on the first down play, after an incomplete pass, Ray was sacked by Mykael Ignaszak for a 9 yard loss. With fourth and goal at the Wisconsin Lutheran 15, Ray kept the ball, looking like he was about to score, but Ethan Ortiz dropped him at the 1-yard line, keeping his team on top by seven.
It looked like the Warriors would head to the locker room with a 7-0 lead, but they put together a 10 play, 71-yard drive that resulted in a touchdown with three seconds left in the second quarter. After Rockford had turned the ball over on downs at the WLC 29, their third straight failed fourth-down conversion, Yockey hit Trevion Green for a 17-yard strike. Two plays later, the team was faced with a third and 1 at the Rockford 45. Yockey kept the ball, rushing for 9 yards and a first down. Three plays later, it was another third and 1 situation, but this time the quarterback hit Orlando Nicksion with a little four-yard completion for another first down. Back-to-back completions to Parbs and Mike DuPree put the ball at the Regents two-yard line. From there, Yockey kept the ball, rushing for a 2-yard touchdown to give his team a 13-0 lead heading into the half.
The Warriors began the half with the ball but turned it over on downs at the Rockford 49. Five straight punts followed. The fifth was a 36-yarder that Jewell returned 20 yards to the Wisconsin Lutheran 42-yard line. The coaching staff dialed up the big play, as Yockey hit Jewell with a 58-yard touchdown pass. The two-point conversion was good, extending the lead to 21-0.
On their next possession, Ray was intercepted by Pablo Zamudio at the WLC 8-yard line. However, the Warriors turned the ball over on downs at their own 44. LaVar Johnson, Jr. then led the Regens on an eight play, 44-yard drive. Johnson carried the ball four consecutive times, gaining 28 yards. On second and goal from the 1-yard line, he scored to pull his team within 14.
However, the Warriors responded right away. On the third play of the drive from their own 33, Yockey found Diedrick for a 67-yard catch and run touchdown to restore the 21-point lead.
The Regents responded with a six play, 62-yard drive that resulted in a touchdown. Ray led the drive, completing three of his first five attempts, including a 16-yard strike to Titus Cannon on third and 1. On first and 10 at the WLC 12, Emani Johnson raced to the 1-yard line where he was tackled by Kejuan Stewart, setting up a first and goal. Johnson scored on the next play, cutting the deficit back to 14. However, Rockford would get no closer.
Yockey completed 33 of 48 passes for 390 yards and three touchdowns. He also led the team in rushing with 26 yards and a touchdown on four carries. Jewell made six catches for 103 yards and a score. Diedrick had four catches for 100 yards and a touchdown and Parbs led the team with seven receptions for 62 yards and a TD.
The defense did a great job of bending but not breaking, allowing 409 total yards but only allowing two touchdowns. Rockford failed on all four of their fourth-down conversion attempts. The Warriors recorded three sacks, a fumble recovery and interception. Ignaszak led the team with 13 tackles and added a sack.
LaVar Johnson led the way for the Regents, carrying the ball 19 times for 113 yards and a touchdown. Emani Johnson carried the ball eight times for 44 yards and a touchdown. Ray was 22 of 37 for 210 yards and an interception.
Wisconsin Lutheran College (1-0) travels to take on Concordia Wisconsin (0-1) in the Lutheran Bowl next Saturday. The kickoff is set for 1:00.
By Robert Pannier