Trailing by 15
points entering the fourth quarter, Valparaiso
rallied to pull within two and had the football late in the game, but could not
find a last minute score as the Crusaders fell 21-19 to Drake on Homecoming
Saturday afternoon at Brown Field.
“We played better
and played harder today, but we didn’t finish the game,” head coach Dale Carlson said after the game. “We had the effort we’ve been looking for
over four quarters. However, there are
no moral victories, just wins and losses.”
Drake led 14-6 at
halftime and extended the lead to 21-6 after David Witkiewicz intercepted the
first play from scrimmage in the second half and returned it 13 yards for a
Valpo’s defense kept
the Crusaders in the game in the second half though, allowing Drake to tally just
19 total yards over the final 30 minutes, including negative six in the fourth
The Crusaders cut
the deficit to 21-12 following Chris
Giehon’s (Oak Forest, Ill./Tinley Park H.S.) one-yard touchdown
run, his first collegiate score.
Giehon’s run capped a 10-play, 53-yard drive with 8:00 remaining in the
game. Nate Goergen (Golden, Colo./Golden H.S.) found Travis Anderson (Chesterton,
Ind./Chesterton H.S.) for a
33-yard completion on a third-and-12 play and also converted a fourth-and-one
to keep the drive alive.
Valpo went for two,
but Bobby Wysocki (Calumet City, Ill./Thornwood
H.S.) was stopped just shy of the goal line.
On Drake’s first
play following the ensuing kickoff, Christopher
Howard (Crown Point, Ind./Andrean H.S.) recovered a Bulldog fumble
at the Drake 22-yardline give the Crusaders good field position.
Four plays later,
Goergen found Sean McCarty (Waukesha, Wis./West H.S.)
from eight yards out for Valpo’s first passing touchdown of the season, and
following Mike Pando’s (Hamilton,
Mich./Hamilton H.S.), the Crusaders were within 21-19 with 6:43 to play in the
Drake drove the ball
down field but Howard came up with another big play, tackling Tom Kostek for a
five-yard loss on fourth-and-two at the Valpo 22 with 3:35 to play, giving the
Crusaders one last chance.
Valpo moved the ball
to its own 44-yard line, but an incompletion on fourth down ended the drive
with just 1:49 to play and the Bulldogs ran out the clock.
The Bulldogs found
the scoreboard first with 6:46 remaining in the opening quarter as Pat Cashman
scored on a 16-yard run after taking a pitch on the right side and scampering
through the middle to the end zone.
answered as Wysocki scored from five yards out with 13:34 to play in the first,
capping a 13-play, 62-yard drive. The
point after was missed though, and Drake maintained a 7-6 advantage.
Steve Platek then
hauled in a 14-yard touchdown pass from Cody Seegar on Drake’s next possession,
increasing the lead to 14-6.
within eight at halftime thanks to the defense.
Sean Graves (Akron,
Ohio/Buchtel H.S.) stuffed an end around
attempt on fourth down to give the Crusaders the ball back on Drake’s next
possession and Brett Heber (Glenview, Ill./Glenbrook
South H.S.) blocked Billy Janssen’s 21-yard field goal attempt just before
Goergen finished the
game 9-of-14 for 66 yards and the touchdown after coming in relief of starter
Eric Lemon (Stevensville, Mich./Lakeshore H.S.), who was 14-of-22 for 54
yards. Anderson had a team-high five grabs for 52
yards to lead the Crusader receivers while Wysocki led the ground game with 10
carries for 28 yards and a touchdown.
Seeger was 15-of-23
for 106 yards and a touchdown for Drake (2-2, 1-0 PFL) while Pat Cashmore led
all rushers with 10 carries for 44 yards.
Drake finished with
210 yards of total offense compared with 158 for Valpo. Each team committed two turnovers.
“We weren’t forcing
turnovers earlier in the year but we were able to turn some into points today,”
Carlson said. “We just can’t turn the
ball over and give up 14 points like we did though.”
Graves finished with
a game-high 12 tackles for the Brown and Gold while Bryce LaMore (Manteno,
Ill./Bishop McNamera H.S.) had 11
stops, including 2.5 for loss.
Valparaiso (0-4, 0-1) will return to the gridiron next
Saturday in search of its first victory of the season in Dayton, Ohio. Kickoff against the Flyers of Dayton is set
for 12 p.m. CDT.
Game Notes: LaMore’s 11 tackles came in the freshman’s
first collegiate start … Valpo finished the game with 13 total tackles for
loss, including four sacks … Valpo has not committed a first half penalty in
each of the last two weeks and has had just three total during the two games …
Drake leads the all-time series 15-3 and has won seven straight … Valpo dropped
its PFL opener for the fifth straight season … Carlson and the Crusader
coaching staff had patches on their shirts as part of the third annual Coach to
Cure MD program in which they took part.