Game Notes: Rivalry stretch continues with Midland set to visit Bulldog Stadium

By Jacob Knabel on Oct. 23, 2023 in Football

SEWARD, Neb. – Since hosting its most recent home game, the Concordia University Football team ventured on the road twice and then enjoyed a bye week. The Bulldogs will be back in front of the home crowd this Saturday as they prepare to welcome Midland to Seward. Concordia got on the right side of its stretch of rivalry games by winning at Hastings, 44-23, on Oct. 14. Head Coach Patrick Daberkow’s squad stands at 3-4 heading into the 71st all-time meeting between the Bulldogs and Warriors.

After seven straight weeks of action, the bye came at an opportune time for Concordia. The Bulldogs went into the bye on a high note thanks to the victory at Hastings. DJ McGarvie threw for 332 yards and three touchdowns as the Concordia offense exploded for touchdown connections of 51 and 57 yards to Austin Jablonski and 89 yards to Carsen Arline. Freshman Will Potratz picked up the GPAC Defensive Player of the Week award after scooping up a fumble for a touchdown. The 44 points scored by the Bulldogs were their most since a 45-10 win at Briar Cliff last season.

Midland is attempting to post a winning season for the eighth year in a row under Head Coach Jeff Jamrog. The Warriors are also coming off a win over an in-state rival having defeated Doane, 27-10, on their homecoming this past Saturday. Midland shrugged off a slow offensive start and a 10-6 deficit in the victory. It was a monster day for running back Tyson Denkert, who ran wild for 231 yards and two touchdowns on 36 carries. The Warrior defense limited the Tigers to 240 total yards. Midland has won five-straight games against in-state opponents.

Concordia (3-4, 3-4 GPAC) vs. Midland (5-4, 4-4 GPAC)
Saturday, Oct. 28 | 1 p.m.
Bulldog Stadium | Seward, Neb.
Webcast: Concordia Sports Network
Live Stats: NAIA PrestoStats
Radio: 104.9 Max Country
Commentators: Parker Cyza and Ross Wurdeman
Online Tickets: HomeTown Ticketing (also sold on site)


Team Statistics
*2023 national rankings out of 96 NAIA football programs

Offensive PPG: 23.7 (54th)
Defensive PPG: 33.3 (69th)
Total Offense: 393.6 (31st)
Pass Offense: 258.6 (12th)
Rush Offense: 135.0 (48th)
Total Defense: 425.7 (81st)
Pass Defense: 272.0 (92nd)
Rush Defense: 153.7 (59th)
Turnover +/-: -5

Offensive PPG: 27.1 (45th)
Defensive PPG: 23.7 (44th)
Total Offense: 345.6 (50th)
Pass Offense: 201.8 (51st)
Rush Offense: 143.8 (42nd)
Total Defense: 306.9 (34th)
Pass Defense: 187.9 (32nd)
Rush Defense: 119.0 (32nd)
Turnover +/-: -4


Head Coach: Patrick Daberkow (30-35, 7th season)
Passing: DJ McGarvie – 151/250 (.604), 1,800 yards, 9 td, 7 int, 127.2 effic.
Rushing: Devin Zeigler – 133 rushes, 573 yards, 4.3 avg, 7 td
Receiving: Austin Jablonski – 64 receptions, 720 yards, 11.3 avg, 5 td
Defense: Kyle Sterup – 42 tackles, 14 tfl’s, 3 sacks, 2 ff, 1 fr, 1 blocked punt

Head Coach: Jeff Jamrog (50-31, 8th season)
Passing: Garrison Beach – 124/190 (.653), 1,452 yards, 12 td, 8 int, 141.9 effic.
Rushing: Tyson Denkert – 102 rushes, 614 yards, 6.0 avg, 7 td
Receiving: Kalynd Coats – 40 receptions, 523 yards, 13.1 avg, 5 td
Defense: Xavier Green – 71 tackles, 4 tfl’s, 2 pbu’s, 1 sack


Concordia (3-4, 3-4 GPAC)
9/2 vs. (1) Northwestern, L, 35-48
9/9 at Jamestown, W, 27-23
9/16 at (19) Dordt, L, 7-38
9/23 vs. Dakota Wesleyan, L, 12-16 (homecoming)
9/30 vs. Briar Cliff, W, 35-23
10/7 at (3) Morningside, L, 6-62
10/14 at Hastings, W, 44-23
10/28 vs. Midland, 1 p.m.
11/4 vs. Doane, 1 p.m. (senior day)
11/11 at Mount Marty, 1 p.m.

Midland (5-4, 4-4 GPAC)
8/26 at Clarke, W, 22-14
9/2 vs. Jamestown, W, 38-17
9/9 vs. Briar Cliff, W, 56-14
9/16 at Dakota Wesleyan, L, 32-33
9/23 at (3) Morningside, L, 17-48
9/30 vs. (1) Northwestern, L, 21-42
10/7 at (14) Dordt, W, 10-7
10/14 vs. Mount Marty, L, 21-28
10/21 vs. Doane, W, 27-10
10/28 at Concordia, 1 p.m.
11/4 at Hastings, 1 p.m.

In the rankings
Concordia landed at No. 6 in the 2023 GPAC preseason coaches’ poll and has been off the national radar this season, in terms of the NAIA coaches’ poll. The program’s most recent top 25 appearance came in November 2017 when they checked in at No. 25. Current Massey Ratings list Concordia at No. 49 and Midland at No. 38 in the NAIA. The Warriors were ranked in nine separate polls during the 2022 season with a peak position of No. 14 in late October. Midland received votes nationally earlier this season thanks to a 3-0 start.

GPAC preseason: 6th
Current Massey Ratings: 49th

GPAC preseason: 4th
Current Massey Ratings: 38th

Last time out
The Bulldogs got back into the win column on Oct. 14 with a 44-23 win at Hastings. Concordia pulled away from the Broncos thanks to big plays in the second half, including a 57-yard touchdown connection from DJ McGarvie to Austin Jablonski, a fumble recovery for a touchdown by Will Potratz and an 89-yard touchdown toss from McGarvie to Carsen Arline. McGarvie finished 20-for-31 passing for 332 yards and three touchdowns. Two of those scoring throws went to Jablonski, who hauled in 11 receptions for 162 yards while also rushing for a score. Arline added 109 receiving yards. Devin Zeigler led the ground attack with 73 yards and a touchdown on 21 carries. Potratz added 13 tackles to his stat line while Kyle Sterup enjoyed a fine day with 11 tackles (two for loss), a sack and a blocked punt. The Bulldogs outgained Hastings, 437-411, while avenging last season’s 21-17 home loss at the hands of the in-state GPAC rival. Concordia has now won each of its last three trips to Lloyd Wilson Field.

State bragging rights
Concordia went 3-0 against in-state opponents in 2021 while defeating Doane, Hastings and Midland in the same season for the first time since 1970. Those results flipped in 2022 as the Bulldogs went winless against their rivals, falling to Doane, 12-10, Hastings, 21-17, and Midland, 41-31. While beginning the current string of three-straight games versus in-state foes, Concordia toppled Hastings, 44-23. Up next are Midland (Oct. 28) and Doane (Nov. 4). The Warriors earned state bragging rights in 2022 while defeating Hastings, 14-10, Doane, 20-6, and Concordia, 41-31.

Potratz earns GPAC honors
Freshman Will Potratz has earned back-to-back starts at corner and last week pulled in the GPAC Defensive Player of the Week award. The honor came as a result of the Lincoln East High School product notching 13 tackles (one for loss) and a touchdown. Potratz scooped and scored after a fumble caused by defensive lineman Devon Polley early in the fourth quarter. That play pushed the Concordia lead to 38-16 at the time. An honorable mention all-state honoree and a prep wrestler, Potratz has recorded 16 tackles while being thrown into the fire as a rookie. Potratz became the first Bulldog this season to earn a GPAC weekly award.

Coach Daberkow + staff
Patrick Daberkow’s history at Concordia dates back to his first season as a Bulldog football player in 2003. This is Daberkow’s 16th season as part of the program’s staff – seventh as head coach. He served as defensive coordinator for seven years before being named as head coach in December 2016. Daberkow assumed offensive play calling duties in 2022. Meanwhile, his full-time staff includes Defensive Coordinator Corby Osten, Special Teams Coordinator Trent Laune and Assistant Coach Grady Koch (who specializes in coaching the offensive line, among other duties). A couple of significant additions to the staff this season are Kevin Crume (former Nebraska Wesleyan assistant) and Greg Nelson (former Lincoln Lutheran head coach). Daberkow’s record stood at 27-31 at the conclusion of six seasons. His most successful year was a 7-3 record in 2021.

Jabo keeps hold of NAIA receptions lead
Even with a bye last week, Austin Jablonski kept hold of the NAIA national lead in receptions with 64 on the season. In 2023, Jablonski has also amassed 720 receiving yards and 151 rushing yards while scoring seven total touchdowns (five receiving and two rushing). When factoring in Jablonski’s 142 kickoff return yards, he has surpassed 1,000 all-purpose yards (1,013) for the year. A former University of Nebraska walk-on, Jablonski has reeled in 100 catches for 1,203 yards and eight touchdowns in 17 career games at Concordia. Should Jablonski hang onto his NAIA national lead in receptions, it would mark the second year in a row a Bulldog has accomplished that feat. Korrell Koehlmoos’ 95 grabs in 2022 paced the NAIA.

Jablonski game-by-game receiving numbers
9/2 vs. Northwestern: 9 for 122, 2 TD
9/9 at Jamestown: 5 for 85
9/16 at Dordt: 10 for 75
9/23 vs. DWU: 15 for 142
9/30 vs. Briar Cliff: 8 for 78
10/7 at Morningside: 6 for 56, TD
10/14 at Hastings: 11 for 162, 2 TD

McGarvie moves up passing charts
Lincoln North Star High School product DJ McGarvie made his 23rd career start in the win at Hastings. The productive day that included 332 passing yards and three touchdowns vaulted McGarvie to No. 2 on the program’s all-time passing yards list with 5,837. That total leapfrogged McGarvie over Rod Giesselmann (5,519) and Von Thomas (5,662). As it stands currently, McGarvie needs 599 more passing yards to break the school record held by Concordia Athletics Hall of Famer Jarrod Pimentel (6,435). McGarvie is also knocking on the door of breaking the program career passing touchdowns record of 49 shared by Pimentel and Thomas. McGarvie has fired 46 touchdowns (compared to 20 interceptions) in 26 career games. McGarvie’s school record of 458 passing yards in a single game came last season against Dordt. He has hit the 300-yard mark in five separate games in his career. McGarvie ranks second among GPAC quarterbacks for average passing yards per game (257.1) in 2023. According to Max Preps, McGarvie threw for 3,130 yards and 25 touchdowns in 26 career high school games at Lincoln North Star.

Concordia all-time passing yards leaders
1. Jarrod Pimentel – 6,435
2. DJ McGarvie – 5,837
3. Von Thomas – 5,662
4. Rod Giesselmann – 5,519
5. Kurt Earl – 4,158

Concordia all-time passing touchdowns leaders
1. Von Thomas – 49
1. Jarrod Pimentel – 49
3. Rod Giesselmann – 47
4. DJ McGarvie – 46
5. Kurt Earl – 37

Around the league
Morningside has won 12 GPAC titles in a row and is currently tied with fellow perennial conference powerhouse Northwestern at the top of the standings. Both teams sport 7-0 conference marks and are primed to make the NAIA playoffs once again. Those two sides will meet in Orange City, Iowa, this Saturday in an anticipated matchup. The Mustangs got a scare this past week but rallied to beat Jamestown at home, 39-29. Currently in third place at 5-2 in the GPAC, Dordt may still have a chance to make a push for the NAIA’s 20-team playoff. The Defenders will play Briar Cliff, Morningside and Dakota Wesleyan over their final three games. At the bottom of the league, Doane (0-8, 0-7 GPAC) continues to search for its first win of the campaign.

Zeigler/Arp: 1-2 punch
Running backs Devin Zeigler and Mark Arp have been consistently productive this season behind an offensive line that has shown improvement from a year ago. Zeigler and Arp combined for 128 rushing yards on 28 carries two weeks ago against national powerhouse Morningside. On the year, Zeigler has piled up 573 rushing yards and seven touchdowns on 133 carries. Meanwhile, Arp has toted the rock 70 times for 270 yards and two touchdowns. Both backs are averaging at least 3.9 yards per carry. The team’s average of 3.7 yards per rush attempt is in line with its average of 3.8 in 2022. In his five seasons at Concordia, Zeigler has carried the ball 402 times for 1,576 yards and 12 touchdowns.

O-line made up of upperclassmen
The offensive line that Concordia has started in for the majority of this season (listed below) has featured four juniors and one senior in fifth-year Bulldog right guard Christian Schlepp. The line includes Cohen Carpenter and Blake Schlegel at the tackles, Tyler Walford at left guard and Jackson Anderson at center. Those five players average a weight of 277 pounds. Others who have seen action up front include Toby Hager, Nathan Miller, Seth Moore and Nick Sazama. Daberkow has used as many as nine offensive linemen on the field at once in what the program dubs its “Rhino Package.” That formation was put to use on Devin Zeigler’s game-winning touchdown at Jamestown. Concordia also completed a fourth-and-one pass for a gain of 15 yards to tight end Daylan Russell out of that formation versus Briar Cliff.

Projected starters
LT – No. 54 Cohen Carpenter, Jr. (6-4, 250)
LG – No. 69 Tyler Walford, Jr. (6-3, 300)
C – No. 56 Jackson Anderson, Jr. (6-1, 245)
RG – No. 58 Christian Schlepp, Sr. (6-2, 265)
RT – No. 74 Blake Schlegel, Jr. (6-6, 325)

Youth movement in secondary
The secondary includes fifth-year Bulldog Carson Core (Seward High School product) at corner – and then a whole lot of youth. The defensive backfield two deep lists a number of players who are either freshmen or sophomores in Deegan Barnes, Braxton Borer, Daylan Henson, Luke Penrod, Will Potratz and Calvin Sassaman. Those Bulldogs have also contributed on special teams. Barnes blocked a punt in the 35-23 win over Briar Cliff. A starter this season for the first time in his career, Henson picked off a pass versus Briar Cliff. One void in the secondary had to be filled with the injury of Gabe Knisley. Potratz has started back-to-back games at corner and was named GPAC Defensive Player of the Week on Oct. 16.

Series vs. Midland
The series with Midland is one of the oldest rivalries in program history. The two sides first met in 1944 in what was six-man football at the time due to man power needs of World War II. The result that year was a 40-0 Concordia victory. The Bulldogs and Warriors did not play each other again until 1952. Then in 1957, they began playing annually all the way up to the present day (with the exception of 2020 due to a COVID no contest). Midland leads the all-time series, 38-31-1. In recent seasons, Concordia had its way by winning all six matchups during the 2012 through 2017 seasons. The Warriors broke that string with victories in 2018 and 2019 and have won three of the past four meetings. In last season’s clash in Fremont, the Bulldogs fell by a 41-31 score despite 501 total yards of offense. DJ McGarvie threw for 296 yards and two touchdowns. Tight end Luke Lang hauled in three receiving touchdowns. Midland got 91 yards and two touchdowns from running back Levi Markey.

Last 10 meetings vs. Midland
2022 – L, 31-41 (Fremont)
2021 – W, 21-7 (Seward)
2020 – COVID no contest
2019 – L, 7-27 (Seward)
2018 – L, 7-35 (Seward)
2017 – W, 44-14 (Seward)
2016 – W, 20-14 (Seward)
2015 – W, 41-38 | OT (Fremont)
2014 – W, 35-28 (Seward)
2013 – W, 35-14 (Fremont)
2012 – W, 23-14 (Seward)

Scouting Midland
Midland has won at a consistent rate during Jeff Jamrog’s head coaching tenure. While going 8-3 in 2022, the Warriors recorded the program’s highest win total since also going 8-3 in 2010. Midland returned a pair of First Team All-GPAC honorees in kicker Jared Quinonez and linebacker Xavier Green and welcomed back second team defensive back Tray Kingsland. Green and Kingsland star for a defense allowing just over 300 yards per game. One of the top kickers in the GPAC, Quinonez has made 6-of-8 field goals tries and 26-of-28 PAT attempts. The Warriors have gotten the running game going in recent weeks with Tyson Denkert having rushed for 440 yards over the past three games (he’s also lost four fumbles over that stretch). A transfer from Snow College, Garrison Beach has taken over the reins at quarterback and has thrown for 1,452 yards and 12 touchdowns (to go against eight picks). Midland’s most significant victory this season was its 10-7 squeaker at then 14th-ranked Dordt on Oct. 7.