Record-setting day for McGarvie fuels decisive senior day rivalry win

By Jacob Knabel on Nov. 4, 2023 in Football

SEWARD, Neb. – DJ McGarvie broke a pair of school all-time passing records as part of an air-it-out Saturday (Nov. 4) inside Bulldog Stadium. McGarvie totaled five touchdowns as the Concordia University Football team rolled past Doane, 55-26, in what amounted to the most lopsided contest in the rivalry since 1996. The eight Bulldog touchdowns were scored each by different individuals on a senior day that turned into a party for the home team. Deegan Barnes even got into the act with a scoop and score.

The blowout win helped wash away some of the sting of a double overtime defeat the week prior against another in-state opponent. Head Coach Patrick Daberkow’s squad moved to 4-5 with one game remaining in the regular season.

“Any time you can beat a rival like that, it makes for a fun Saturday,” Daberkow said. “There’s no better place than Bulldog Stadium and no better group than these parents and fans. I’m super excited about the win and how this locker room has stayed together this season.

“Any time you have success on offense, you look at the offensive line. DJ makes so many good decisions. Jabo (Austin Jablonski) is such a tough target. If teams take away Jabo, we have other guys who can hurt you. It’s truly a team effort. You can do a lot of things when your o-line is playing well.”

When Concordia’s offense is clicking, it can play with anyone, as it proved in a week one shootout with top-ranked Northwestern. Now the most prolific passer in school history, McGarvie burned Doane’s defense with touchdown passes of 63 yards to Jablonski, 12 yards to Carsen Arline, 20 yard to Luke Lang and six yards to Max Bartels. The line for McGarvie by day’s end included 364 passing yards, four touchdown tosses and one rushing touchdown.

The Lincoln North Star High School product McGarvie set new standards for career touchdown passes (52) and career passing yards (6,514) while rising above the likes of past stars Jarrod Pimentel and Von Thomas. McGarvie first wanted to thank “all the o-linemen that have been blocking for him the past three years.” Continued McGarvie, “And all the wide receivers have helped me out tremendously. It’s their record as well as mine.”

This contest got out of hand in the third quarter as the Bulldogs added to their 28-10 halftime advantage. McGarvie plunged over the goal line from a yard out to complete a seven-play, 80-yard drive in the middle of the third quarter. Moments later, Carson Fehlhafer caused a fumble that Barnes picked up and raced 21 yards to the end zone. Concordia led 42-10 while treating its closest rival like a ragdoll. The remainder of the game was essentially a scrimmage.

The game-breaking Jablonski set a new Bulldog record of his own in eclipsing Korrell Koehlmoos’ standard for most receiving yards in a single season. Jablonski ran his total to 1,033 while making 10 grabs for 156 yards and a touchdown on Saturday. In addition, Carsen Arline pulled in five receptions for 72 yards and a score. Nine different Concordia players caught a pass (including defensive end Kyle Sterup). In putting a cherry on top, backup quarterback Gideon Stark threw a five-yard touchdown pass to Mason Edwards.

It was a fine way to send off 21 seniors who were honored prior to kickoff. Each of those seniors received a toolbelt and hammer as a symbol of their being equipped to go out and lead and serve. Said Daberkow, “That’s always bittersweet. It’s awesome because it’s such a blessing to coach them and be able to share four and sometimes five years of college football with these guys. That’s not something everybody can do. I don’t think the average person understands how much work it takes to win in this game. It’s a credit to them to finish the right way.”

Sterup (Osceola, Neb.) has been the MVP of the Concordia defense. He registered five more tackles for loss on Saturday. His pass reception went for 16 yards on a fake field goal in the fourth quarter. That play led to the Edwards touchdown. Sterup joked after the game that he should have scored on the play but he was just happy he caught the ball.

Said Sterup, “Any time you can play football with your brothers, there’s nothing better. It’s not been what we wanted as a season, but this is what we do. There’s nothing better than playing football.”

Barnes led the defense with 11 tackles. Meanwhile, Will Potratz and CJ Dyhrkopp collected nine stops apiece. Dyhrkopp intercepted a pass and Devon Polley registered a sack and four quarterback hurries.

The Concordia rushing game was held largely in check, but Mark Arp managed 32 rushing yards and 37 receiving yards. On special teams, Braxton Borer put two punts inside the opposition’s 20.

There were some feel-good moments that happened on Saturday. Senior Charles Nshimiyimana kicked an extra point and then was raised onto the shoulders of his teammates. It was the first action for Nshimiyimana, who was born in raised in a refugee camp in Uganda before his family moved to the United States. Then after the game, fifth-year Bulldog Carson Core proposed to Jerzi Rowe, a former Concordia softball player. The cheers from the crowd indicated the answer was indeed, ‘yes.’

Doane (1-9, 1-8 GPAC) threw the ball an astounding 70 times on Saturday. Cruz Kirwan passed for 412 yards and a touchdown while blowing past the pitch count. Receiver Jeremiah Payne caught 16 passes for 213 yards. There were 181 total plays from scrimmage in the game.

The Bulldogs will wrap up the 2023 season next Saturday (Nov. 11) with a trip to Mount Marty (3-7, 2-7 GPAC). Kickoff from Crane-Youngworth Field in Yankton, S.D., is set for 1 p.m. CT. Concordia has won the first two meetings played with the Lancers, who had their inaugural season of football in 2021. Mount Marty will be coming off a bye week.