H.S.) caught the go ahead touchdown pass with 8:38 to play in the game and the Valparaiso defense made a big stop on the final drive of
the game as the Crusaders earned their first victory of the season 20-17 over
Concordia (Wis.) on Saturday afternoon at
Century Stadium in Mequon, Wis.
After Concordia kicked a
field goal with just over 11 minutes to play to take a 17-13 lead, Popper
returned the ensuing kickoff 50 yards to allow Valpo to start at the Falcons’
36-yard line. On fourth down,
quarterback Bobby Wysocki (Calumet City, Ill./Thornwood
H.S.) scrambled and avoided a sack before running for a first down. On the next play, Wysocki connected with
Popper for a 24-yard touchdown pass.
“Wysocki gave great effort to
continue that drive,” head coach Stacy Adams
said after the game. “The touchdown pass
afterwards was a great play as well.”
With the lead, the defense
stiffened. Valpo forced back-to-back
three-and-outs and took over with 3:13 remaining on the clock. Concordia used its timeouts and forced the
Crusaders to punt, and blocked the kick, taking over on the Crusader 20-yard
line with just 2:12 to play.
The Crusaders held, allowing
just five yards, and forced the Falcons to try a field goal with 37 seconds to
play. A bad snap on the try and the
Falcons scrambled, and tried to find a receiver in the end zone, but the ball
was dropped and Valpo held on for the victory.
“The defense made the plays
of the game after the blocked punt,” Adams
added. “They fought for all four downs,
giving great effort to win the football game.”
Valpo jumped on top midway
through the first quarter as Chris Smith
(Manistee, Mich./Manistee H.S.) made a 25-yard field
goal. The Falcons responded before the
end of the quarter with a four-yard touchdown pass from Thomas Pacchiloi to
A Ross Wiemer (Burlington,
Wis./Burlington H.S.) touchdown
run from two yards out on a fourth-and-goal put Valpo up 10-7 after the first
possession of the third quarter.
Concordia again answered with a Pacchiloi touchdown toss, this one from
25 yards out to Montrell Davidson.
Smith’s second field goal of
the game, this one from 39 yards out, made it a 14-13 game at halftime and
neither team would score in the third quarter, setting the stage for the
Wysocki finished the game
8-of-18 passing for 133 yards in his first collegiate start, with Tim Bennett (Joliet,
Ill./Joliet Catholic H.S.) making
four grabs for 81 yards. Valpo finished
with 211 yards of total offense.
Pacchiloi led Concordia (0-2)
rushing 20 times for 96 yards while also completing 11-of-21 passes for 100
Valpo (1-1) has a bye week
next Saturday before hosting Carthage
on September 26 at Brown Field in the Crusaders home opener. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m. at Brown Field with
all the action carried live on the Valpo Sports Radio Network.
Game Notes: Valpo
leads the all-time series with Concordia 2-0 … Popper had four kickoff returns
for a 41.5-yard average, including two returns of 50 or more yards … a week
after recovering his first career fumble, Eli
Crawford (Bogart, Ga./North Oconee H.S.) intercepted his sixth career pass
… James Joos (Cleveland, Ga./White
County H.S.) led Valpo with 11 tackles … Joos and
Adam Rundh (Aalborg, Denmark/Orjanskolan [Sweden] H.S.) each had
2.5 tackles for loss as Valpo had 11 total tackles for loss.