Despite record-setting days from Jeff Horton (Saint Louis, Mo./Lutheran North H.S.) and Andrew McCawley (Omaha, Neb./Creighton Prep), Valparaiso could not overcome Drake's offensive attack, as the Crusaders fell 49-24 to the Bulldogs on a mild, overcast Saturday afternoon in the home finale at Brown Field.
Horton registered 227 yards on the ground Saturday, his third effort of at least 200 yards this season. With a 49-yard carry in the late stages of the first quarter, Horton surpassed Dave Newnam's single-season rushing record, set in 1977. Horton has now rushed for 1172 yards on the season, and also broke Newnam's single-season record for carries.
McCawley broke the Valpo record for extra points in a career with his third PAT of the game, giving him 82 PATs. The previous mark was 81, set by Norman Arnold from 1949-1952. The senior kicker has recorded 151 points for his career, ranking eighth on Valpo's all-time scoring list.
The Bulldogs started the scoring early, as Scott Phaydavong finished a three-play drive with a 24-yard touchdown run. Valpo responded on its next possession, controlling the ball for over five minutes before Horton found his way in the end zone from three yards out. After the teams traded punts, Phaydavong scored on a 27-yard run to put Drake up 14-7.
Connor Jostes threw a five-yard pass to Tyler Putnam to cap off a 14-play, 98-yard drive for the Bulldogs in the second quarter, giving Drake a two-touchdown lead. The Crusaders answered with a 25-yard field goal by McCawley, cutting the lead to 11.
Putnam took an end-around on Drake's next possession and scored from 43 yards out late in the second quarter. Valpo immediately responded, as Horton scampered 53 yards on the Brown and Gold's next play from scrimmage to cut the halftime deficit to 28-17.
The Bulldogs took advantage of a Valpo fumble on the three-yard line to kick off the second half scoring, as Jostes scored on a quarterback keeper from two yards. After a Crusader punt, Michael Bialas found his way in the end zone on a one-yard carry for Drake.
The Crusaders proceeded to march down the field on their next drive, using 19 plays and 8:40 to find the back of the end zone on a five-yard TD pass from Warren Arnold (Mundelein, Ill./Mundelein H.S.) to Horton, marking Arnold's first touchdown pass of his career. Jostes threw his second touchdown pass of the game to cap off the scoring.
Horton finished the game with 292 total yards and three touchdowns for Valpo, while Arnold was 10-for-12 through the air for 95 yards. Senior receiver Joe Blahowicz (Buffalo, N.Y./Alden H.S./Erie CC) contributed 46 yards receiving. Phaydavong racked up 175 yards rushing for the Bulldogs (5-4, 2-2 PFL). Jostes finished the game 11-for-19 with 217 yards passing in the winning effort, spreading the ball around to eight different receivers. Defensively, senior linebacker Brandon Sturman (Brookeville, Md./Sherwood H.S.) led Valpo, registering ten tackles. Senior James Riker (Tekonsha, Mich./Tekonsha H.S.) added 1.5 sacks for the Crusaders.
20 Crusader seniors were recognized prior to the game as they took the field for their last appearance at Brown Field. They finish their careers with an 11-13 mark at home, including a win in the 2003 Pioneer Football League championship game.
Valparaiso (2-8, 1-3 PFL) closes out the 2005 campaign next Saturday afternoon, traveling to Aurora to take on the Spartans. Kickoff is slated for 1 p.m., and all the action can be heard live on the Valpo Sports Radio Network, or online at www.valpo.edu/athletics.