Warriors Defense Exorcices Red Devils in 42-14 Victory
Eureka, Illinois – Wisconsin Lutheran College was statistically dominated by Eureka College on Saturday, but not where it mattered, on the scoreboard, downing the Red Devils, 42-14. It was the impressive play of the defense, who recorded three interceptions, including a pick six, and had a fumble recovery for a touchdown. Bryce Barbian threw for 316 yards and four scores and Landon Neeley and Emmitt Hawkins each had three receptions for over 100 yards in the contest.
It was a scoreless first quarter, but the Warriors responded with four touchdowns in the second to head to the half leading 28-7. The first touchdown came early in the second quarter when Carter Schneider blocked a Sam Bartels punt attempt. Nathan Nevad recovered the ball, running 18 yards for the touchdown to give WLC a 7-0 lead.
Two possessions later for the Red Devils Kason McFadden intercepted a Kaeden Frazier pass attempt at the Eureka 40. Barbian found Hawkins for 38 yards on the next play, putting the ball at the Red Devils 2-yard line. The Warriors were going backwards, as a rush attempt was dropped for 3-yard loss, and an incomplete pass made it third and goal of the five. That is when Barbian found Matt Korb for the 5-yard score to extend the lead to 14.
Eureka responded with a quick drive that moved 75 yards in just three plays, cutting the deficit to seven. A 62-yard touchdown pass from Frazier to Sebastian Hill capped off the drive.
The Red Devils went for a little trickery, recovering the onside kick, giving them the ball at their own 38. They moved to the WLC 39, but Schneider intercepted a Frazier pass, returning it 28 yards to the Wisconsin Lutheran 48. Two plays later, Barbian found Hawkins for a 50-yard completion down to the Eureka two. Once again, the team began to move backwards but, on second and goal at the seven, Barbian found Neeley for a 7-yard touchdown to make it 21-7.
With 46 seconds left in the half, the Warriors extended the lead to 21. A 15-yard punt gave Wisconsin Lutheran the ball at the Eureka 24. Barbian found Mike DuPree for 13 yards to put the ball at the 11. Two plays later, Barbian was sacked for a 15-yard loss, setting up third and 25. That is when the quarterback found Trevion Green for a 26-yard touchdown to make it 28-7.
Wisconsin Lutheran immediately extended their lead to 28 on the first possession for Eureka of the second half. The Red Devils moved to the Wisconsin Lutheran six where they faced a second goal. Frazier kept the ball, racing up the middle, but was tackled and fumbled. McFadden scooped up the loose ball, giving his team the ball at their own goal line. On the next play, Barbian found Neeley for a 100-yard catch and run for a touchdown to make it 35-7.
With 2:30 left in the third quarter, the Warriors added one more score. Eureka had the ball at their own 25, facing third and 10. Frazier went back to pass, but his attempt was read perfectly by Xavion Allen, who intercepted the attempt and raced 30 yards for the score.
The Red Devils added one more touchdown in the fourth quarter. On first and 10 at their own 14, Kail Lambert took the ball and ran to his left, rolling down the sidelines for 86 yards and the score. That made it 42-14, which would be the final.
Barbian completed 12 of 22 passes for 316 yards and four scores. Neeley had three receptions for 133 yards and two touchdowns and Hawkins had three receptions for 118 yards.
The defense was incredible, recording seven sacks, three interceptions, and a fumble. Savon Goodwin and Kyle Kubacki each had two sacks. The defense scored two touchdowns and the special teams had a touchdown.
The Wisconsin Lutheran College Warriors (3-4, 3-2) will put their three-game winning streak on the line when they travel to Montgomery, Illinois next Saturday to take on Aurora (6-0, 4-0). Kickoff is scheduled for 1:00 p.m.
by Robert Pannier