Warriors Defense Stuffs Cougars as WLC Reaches .500
The Wisconsin Lutheran College Warriors have been struggling over the last five seasons, not winning more than three games in any season since 2017. Already the team has eclipsed that mark, winning their fourth game of the season, including their third in a row, as they defeated the Concordia-Chicago Cougars, 30-7. The team blew open a six-point game, scoring 17 unanswered points. The defense held Concordia to 189 total yards of offense. Kyle Kubacki had 1.5 sacks of the team’s 3.0 total sacks.
The Warriors took command of this game early, scoring on their first possession of the game. Nate Griffeth had a big 18-yard completion to Javier Murillo down to the Concordia 21 and Justin Parbs followed with a 20-yard run that put the ball at 11. On the next play, Griffeth found Murillo for an 11-yard touchdown.
The WLC defense forced a punt on the first possession for Concordia-Chicago, and the offense was able to move to the Cougars 24 where the drive stalled. The coaching staff brought on the field goal unit, but Justin Aduo blocked the 41-yard attempt.
Concordia then put together a short drive, moving 28 yards in 10 plays before their drive stalled at the 32. They brought out their kicker to attempt a 49-yard kick, but the ball fell short, giving Wisconsin Lutheran back the ball.
The Warriors made short work of their next drive. On the first place, Griffeth found a streaking Murillo for 68 yards and a score to make it 13-0 and WLC was building momentum.
It looked like they would blow this game open when Troy Pratley fumbled on the first play of the next drive for Concordia. Cody Lopez recovered at the Cougars 27. It was a golden opportunity to deliver an early knockout blow, but the Cougars defense was able to take advantage of a couple of WLC penalties, forcing a turnover on downs.
That gave the offense inspiration, as they headed the other direction on a 14 play, 79-yard drive that cut the deficit to six. Concordia primarily stayed on the ground, rushing the ball 10 times on the series. Edrian Sykes finished the drive off with a 1-yard touchdown run to make it 13-7.
The Warriors responded right away. Griffeth led the drive, completing all five of his passes, including a 15-yard strike to Cole Schneider that made it 20-7. That would be the score heading to the half.
The defense had been dominant for the Warriors in the first half, but absolutely shut down the Cougars in the second, allowing 89 total yards of offense following the break, and 44 of those came on the final drive of the game for Concordia. The defense recorded three sacks and forced a fumble.
The defense was dominating, but the offense was struggling through the third quarter, turning the ball over twice and punting on their other possession of the third quarter. However, the Warriors offense produced 10 points in the final frame.
The first came when the team got the ball with 11:09 left in the contest. Parbs got the drive going, carrying the ball on three of the first five plays, gaining 36 total yards and two first downs. Griffeth then found Trevion Green for 13 yards before Jalen Harris burst outside and down the sidelines for 18 yards to make it 27-7.
On the next possession, Arnulfo Ortega drilled a 34-yard field goal to make it 30-7. That would be the final.
Parbs continue his impressive run, carrying the ball 21 times for 104 yards. The senior running back has four straight games of at least 104 yards rushing and has reached the century mark in five of his last six contests. He has rushed for 535 total yards over his last four games. Griffeth completed 18 of 26 passes for 278 yards and three touchdowns. Murillo had five catches for 118 yards and two scores. The defense was led by Layson Handwork, who had 10 tackles.
Wisconsin Lutheran College (4-4) travels to Concordia-Wisconsin (7-1) to take on the Eagles in the Lutheran Bowl. Kickoff is scheduled for 1:00.
by Robert Pannier