SEWARD, Neb. – It’s homecoming week on the Concordia University campus. As a cap to homecoming weekend festivities, the Bulldog football team will host Hastings on Saturday. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m. CT from Bulldog Stadium, which wills stage the 55th all-time meeting between Concordia and Hastings. Head Coach Patrick Daberkow’s squad had a bye this past week to stew on its 12-10 season opening loss at Doane on Sept. 3. The Bulldogs have won each of the past three matchups with the Broncos.
Concordia hopes to make a jump offensively from game one to game two. The Bulldogs had two empty red zone trips that proved costly in the loss at Doane. Both the passing and rushing games were largely held in check after a strong first quarter in Crete. Quarterback Austin Jablonski scored the game’s lone touchdown and now has his first career start under his belt. On a positive note, the defense kept the Tigers out of the end zone and has not allowed more than 17 points in a contest since September 2021.
Meanwhile, Hastings has equaled its win total from last year while making strides in year two of Matt Franzen’s tenure as head coach. The former Doane head coach and athletic director has guided the Broncos to wins over Trinity International University and Mount Marty. In last week’s victory over the Lancers, quarterback John Zamora threw for 176 yards and rushed for 92 yards while totaling four touchdowns. Defensively, the Broncos have been solid having already picked off five passes. Franzen is attempting to build up Hastings as he did at Doane, where he took the team to back-to-back NAIA playoff appearances (2015 and 2016).
Concordia (0-1, 0-1 GPAC) vs. Hastings (2-1, 1-1 GPAC)
Saturday, Sept. 17 | 1 p.m.
Bulldog Stadium | Seward, Neb.
Webcast/Live Stats: Concordia Sports Network
Radio: 104.9 Max Country
Commentators: Parker Cyza and Ross Wurdeman
Online Tickets: HomeTown Ticketing (also sold on site)
*2022 national rankings out of 98 NAIA football programs
Offensive PPG: 10.0 (77th)
Defensive PPG: 12.0 (15th)
Total Offense: 221.0 (80th)
Pass Offense: 83.0 (89th)
Rush Offense: 138.0 (42nd)
Total Defense: 278.0 (31st)
Pass Defense: 172.0 (38th)
Rush Defense: 106.0 (36th)
Turnover +/-: 0
Offensive PPG: 27.7 (40th)
Defensive PPG: 11.3 (14th)
Total Offense: 268.0 (68th)
Pass Offense: 137.7 (75th)
Rush Offense: 130.3 (44th)
Total Defense: 258.7 (27th)
Pass Defense: 142.7 (24th)
Rush Defense: 116.0 (T-39th)
Turnover +/-: +3
2022 INDIVIDUAL LEADERS
Head Coach: Patrick Daberkow (23-26, 6th season)
Passing: Austin Jablonski – 9/28 (.321), 83 yards, 0 td, 0 int, 57.0 effic.; 21 rushes for 95 yards, 1 td
Rushing: Devin Zeigler – 13 rushes, 42 yards, 3.2 avg, 0 td
Receiving: Luke Lang – 4 receptions, 29 yards, 7.2 avg, 0 td
Defense: Michael Grindey – 13 tackles, 0.5 tfl’s, 1 ff
Head Coach: Matt Franzen (at Hastings: 4-9, 2nd season; overall: 69-58, 13th season)
Passing: John Zamora – 32/67 (.478), 413 yards, 6 td, 1 int, 126.1 effic.
Rushing: Brett Simonsen – 32 rushes, 136 yards, 4.3 avg, 1 td
Receiving: Jaishawn Wright – 9 receptions, 121 yards, 13.4 avg, 2 td
Defense: Beasley Ihegworo – 19 tackles, 4.5 tfl’s, 2 sacks
Concordia (0-1, 0-1 GPAC)
9/3 at Doane, L, 10-12
9/17 vs. Hastings, 1 p.m. (homecoming)
9/24 at (3) Northwestern, 1 p.m.
10/1 at Dakota Wesleyan, 1 p.m.
10/8 vs. Jamestown, 1 p.m.
10/15 vs. Mount Marty, 1 p.m.
10/22 vs. (21) Dordt, 1 p.m.
10/29 at Midland, 1 p.m.
11/5 at Briar Cliff, 1 p.m.
11/12 vs. (1) Morningside, 1 p.m.
Hastings (2-1, 1-1 GPAC)
8/27 at Trinity International, W, 28-0
9/3 at Midland, L, 10-14
9/10 vs. Mount Marty, W, 45-20
9/17 at Concordia, 1 p.m.
9/24 vs. Dakota Wesleyan, 1 p.m.
10/1 vs. Briar Cliff, 1 p.m.
10/8 at (1) Morningside, 1:30 p.m.
10/15 vs. Doane, 1 p.m.
10/22 at Jamestown, 1 p.m.
11/5 at (21) Dordt, 1 p.m.
11/12 vs. (3) Northwestern, 1 p.m.
In the rankings
Concordia will need to rattle off another win streak if it is to move into the NAIA top 25 at some point during the 2022 season. In the NAIA preseason poll, the Bulldogs picked up three points. The program’s most recent top 25 appearance came in November 2017 when they landed at No. 25. Current Massey Ratings list Concordia at No. 44 and Hastings at No. 48. The Broncos last showed up within the official NAIA top 25 in mid-October 2017, slotting in at No. 19.
GPAC preseason: 4th
Current Massey Ratings: 44th
GPAC preseason: 8th
Current Massey Ratings: 48th
Homecoming at Concordia
Homecoming week has arrived sooner than normal at Concordia. As shown below, homecoming has typically been held in early October. Over the past 10 years, the Bulldogs have gone 9-1 in homecoming games with the only defeat during that stretch occurring in 2018. The schedule of activities for the 2022 homecoming week can be found HERE. On Friday evening, six individuals and one team will be inducted into the Concordia Athletic Hall of Fame. The 2022 hall of fame class includes the 2001 football team, Elizabeth (King) Grau, Bernie Ochoa, Grant Schmidt, Bob Schulze, Andrew Walquist and Clarence Woods.
List 10 homecoming games
10/2/21 – Dakota Wesleyan | W, 34-0
10/3/20 – Jamestown | W, 23-3
9/28/19 – Briar Cliff | W, 16-14
9/22/18 – Midland | L, 7-35
9/23/17 – (7) Doane | W, 29-18
10/8/16 – Briar Cliff | W, 56-0
10/10/15 – Nebraska Wesleyan | W, 47-14
10/4/14 – Dordt | W, 38-14
10/12/13 – (22) Nebraska Wesleyan | W, 19-3
10/13/12 – (11) Northwestern | W, 17-16
Two streaks were snapped in the 12-10 loss at Doane. Entering that game, Concordia had won five straight in-state games and six consecutive games overall. The six-game win streak coming into the campaign was tied for the second longest among all NAIA football programs. The 2021 Bulldogs became the program’s first team to defeat Doane, Hastings and Midland in the same season since that feat was accomplished in 1970. After starting ’21 at 1-3, Concordia closed the season with six wins in a row. During the five-game streak versus in-state foes, the Bulldogs allowed just 12.4 points per game.
In-state results since start of 2020 season
9/3/22 – at Doane, L, 10-12
11/13/21 – at Hastings, W, 17-7
11/6/21 – vs. Doane, W, 20-13
10/23/21 – vs. Midland, W, 21-7
9/19/20 – vs. Hastings, W, 34-28 (OT)
9/12/20 – at Doane, W, 24-7
Jablonski makes first career start
A former walk on at the University of Nebraska, Austin Jablonski made his first career start at quarterback in the season opener at Doane. While there were inconsistencies in the passing game, Jablonski showed off his athleticism in running 21 times for a game high 95 yards and one touchdown. Jablonski tried his hand as a receiver for the Cornhuskers before transferring to Concordia. As a QB at Lincoln Pius X High School, Jablonski graduated with school records for passing touchdowns (game, season and career) and passing yards (season and career). Jablonski emerged as the starter for the Bulldogs after a preseason battle with DJ McGarvie, the team’s 2021 starter.
Coordinator Corby Osten likes the options he has along a defensive line that can be kept fresh due to its depth. The starters in week one were Jordan Kavulak, Devon Polley and Kyle Sterup. Plenty of others saw significant time up front, such as Stephen Hughes II, Eric Kieper Jr. and Talatau Solo. The group contributed heavily to the team’s 11 tackles for loss at Doane. Sterup registered a sack while Polley earned credit for half a sack and two tackles for loss. The most significant loss from last year’s defensive line was Payton Stevens, an Honorable Mention All-GPAC award winner. Last season, Kavulak posted nine tackles for loss and Polley made 7.5 stops in opposing backfields.
Veteran O-Line looks to jumpstart run game
A key to better results offensively will be ramping up production in the run game. Concordia averaged 124.8 rushing yards per game in 2021 but came into this season believing that number could be increased in 2022 with the help of four returning starters on the offensive line. The returning starters are left tackle Kaden Peters, center Johnny Robinson III, right guard Christian Schlepp and right tackle Gavin Mull. Few centers in college football are as experienced as Robinson III, who made the 37th start of his career in the loss at Doane. “Pot Roast,” as his teammates call him, garnered Second Team All-GPAC honors in 2020 and First Team All-GPAC accolades in 2021. The new starter up front is left guard Toby Hager, who is also the team’s long snapper. The ground game was held in check by Doane. Starter Devin Zeigler ran 13 times for 42 yards.
Grindey paces new-look linebacker crew
Gone are stars Lane Napier and Caydren Cox, but the linebacker crew remains a tenacious unit. At least in the 2022 season opener, Michael Grindey emerged as the leader with 13 tackles and a forced fumble. The other starters at the position are Lukas Coe and Nick Leader. The latter is a former Cornhusker walk on, just like Jablonski. In his first action as a Bulldog, Leader made five tackles, including one for loss. In addition, Coe notched four tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss and half a sack. Listed as a safety, Michael Doiel has the ability to step into the box and play the run.
Harold transitions from soccer field
One of the last additions to the 2022 team, Ty Harold has brought his soccer leg to the football field as a kicker. A transfer from Iowa Western Community College, Harold came to Concordia to play for Head Coach Jason Weides’ men’s soccer team. Harold impressed the coaching staff enough during preseason to be trusted with placekicking duties at Doane. In that game, Harold went 1-for-3 on field goal tries and 1-for-1 on extra point attempts. The field goal make came from 28 yards out. Defensive back Dylan Smith has also worked out as a kicker since preseason camp began.
Koehlmoos rising on all-time receiving lists
Korrell Koehlmoos possesses by far the most experience within the receiver group. The 6-foot-1 native of Pilger, Neb., is back for his fifth season of college football. On the program’s all-time receiving lists, Koehlmoos ranks fifth in receiving yards (1,882), sixth in receptions (128) and sixth in receiving touchdowns (12). Koehlmoos is on the verge of becoming the fourth player in school history to crack 2,000 career receiving yards. He also serves as the team’s punter and punted seven times for an average of 47.3 yards in the opener at Doane. He booted a long of 71 yards that was downed at Doane’s one.
Receiving yards, career
1. Jared Garcia – 2,495 (2014-17)
2. Ross Wurdeman – 2,458 (1998-01)
3. Clarence Woods – 2,011 (1984-88)
4. Eric Pralle – 1,974 (1987-1991)
5. Korrell Koehlmoos – 1,882 (2018-present)
6. Travis Soukup – 1,880 (1991-94)
Celebrating the 2001 GPAC championship team
Many coaches and players from the 2001 GPAC championship football team will be back on campus this week as it gets inducted into the Concordia Athletic Hall of Fame. The ’01 team, coached by Courtney Meyer, went 10-2 overall, shared the GPAC title and advanced to the NAIA national quarterfinals. The team landed at No. 7 in the NAIA postseason coaches’ poll for what stands today as the highest ranking in program history. Four individuals from that team are members of the Concordia Athletic Hall of Fame for their contributions as student-athletes: Erik DeHaven, Jarrod Pimentel, Sean Stewart and Ross Wurdeman. Also noteworthy, Wurdeman was officially inducted into the Nebraska Football Hall of Fame this past Friday.
The NAIA’s best tight end?
College Football America judged Garrett Schardt to be the top tight end in the entire NAIA leading into the 2022 season. Upon his return to health, Schardt seems likely to be the team’s No. 1 target in the passing game. In four seasons, he’s accumulated 72 receptions for 1,188 yards and nine touchdowns. The Bruning-Davenport-Shickley High School alum picked up back-to-back First Team All-GPAC awards (2020 and 2021) and has the versatility to split out into the slot. At 6-foot-3, Schardt can catch the ball in traffic and has shown an ability to run past defensive backs. He’s the program’s most productive tight end since All-American Ross Wurdeman tore up opposing defenses in the early 2000s.
Series vs. Hastings
The Broncos have owned the all-time series with a record of 36-17-1 versus the Bulldogs. However, the series has been very competitive recently with Concordia winning six of the past 10 meetings (see history below). The 2019 matchup resulted in the largest point differential in series history with Concordia blowing out Hastings, 44-0. The meeting last season was much more of a grind. The Bulldogs built a 17-0 lead and suffocated the Broncos with a Lane Napier-led defense. Hastings finished with only 233 total yards. At running back, Concordia’s Jonah Weyand churned out 128 yards and a touchdown as the Bulldogs capped the 2021 season at 7-3 overall. Concordia is looking for the first four-game win streak in this series since Hastings won four in row from 2007 through 2010.
Last 10 meetings
2021 – Concordia 17, Hastings 7 (Hastings)
2020 – Concordia 34, Hastings 28 | OT (Seward)
2019 – Concordia 44, Hastings 0 (Hastings)
2018 – Hastings 21, Concordia 13 (Seward)
2017 – Hastings 38, Concordia 18 (Hastings)
2016 – Concordia 31, Hastings 28 (Seward)
2015 – Concordia 28, Hastings 3 (Seward)
2014 – Hastings 48, Concordia 43 (Hastings)
2013 – Concordia 26, Hastings 21 (Seward)
2012 – Hastings 34, Concordia 26 (Hastings)
The results point towards Hastings having improved from last season. The Broncos blanked Trinity International, 28-0, to begin the season, lost a defensive battle with Midland, 14-10, and then defeated Mount Marty comfortably, 45-20. Hastings graduated first team all-conference running back Tyree Nesmith, but do return star defensive back Koby Brandenburg, who has 17 tackles and five pass breakups so far this fall. On the defensive line, Beasley Ihegworo has been productive with 4.5 tackles for loss. On offense, the team features a quarterback in John Zamora who is apt to pull the ball down and run with it (135 rushing yards and two touchdowns in 2022). Head Coach Matt Franzen made Doane a consistent winner and is now trying to do the same at Hastings. Franzen replaced previous Head Coach Tony Harper (2011-20) in 2021. The Broncos are in search of their first winning season since going 6-4 in 2014.