Concordia University jumped out to an early 13-0 lead, but Doane College rallied for a 37-13 GPAC football win on Senior Day in Seward. The Tigers improved to 8-2 overall and 7-2 in conference play with the victory. Concordia finished the season at 4-7 overall and 3-6 in the GPAC.
Concordia could not have asked for a better start to the game. On Doane’s first possession, quarterback Anthony Dunn was sacked by Concordia’s Tom Malander (Fullerton, Neb.). Malander’s hit forced a fumble, and Kyle Little (Johnson, Neb.) recovered the loose ball and returned it 42 yards for the score. The extra point by Kenny Zoeller (Spring, Texas) gave the Bulldogs the early 7-0 advantage.
The Bulldog defense again forced a quick Doane punt, and the Bulldogs put together a great drive to extend their lead. The Bulldogs marched 78 yards in just eight plays. A touchdown pass from Von Thomas (Miami, Fla.) to Nate Sindt (Scottsbluff, Neb.) increased the Concordia lead to 13-0. The extra point attempt was blocked.
Things went downhill for the Bulldogs from there, however, as Doane quickly answered with a long scoring drive to get back in the game. The Tigers used a 35-yard kick return by Jeremiah Saffold to set themselves up with solid field position. From there, the Tigers moved 52 yards in 12 plays for a score. Dunn hit Devon Niewohner with a 6-yard touchdown pass to culminate the drive. The extra point was no good, making the score 13-6.
In the second quarter, the Doane College defense answered with a big play of its own. Thomas fumbled, and the ball was recovered by Doane’s Lance Shifflet. Shifflet returned the fumble 42 yards for the score, and the Tigers tied things up at 13-13.
Following a Bulldog punt, Doane marched 60 yards in 10 plays to take their first lead of the game. Dunn completed several passes on the drive, and a 19-yard pitch and catch to Tyrone Curry gave Doane the 20-13 lead late in the first half.
Doane added to its lead late in the third quarter. Following an eight play, 54-yard drive, Andrew Nielsen connected on a 34-yard field goal to make the score 23-13 in favor of the Tigers. Early in the fourth quarter, the combination of Dunn and Curry increased the Tiger lead once again. Curry hauled in a 27-yard touchdown reception for a 30-13 Doane advantage.
The Tigers took advantage of a Concordia interception for their final score of the game. Kamero Lenhart picked off a Cohl Tufford (Richardson, Texas) pass and returned in to the Bulldog 16-yard line. A penalty on Concordia gave the Tigers the ball inside the Bulldog 10-yard line, and a 5-yard rushing score by Eric Morrison-Smith made the final score of 37-13.
Doane finished with 24 first downs and 386 yards of total offense on the day (220 passing, 166 rushing). Dunn was 22-of-37 through the air for 220 yards and three scores. Tyler Davis and Alex Dose combined for 138 rushing yards on the day, while Curry finished with 72 receiving yards and the two scores for the Tigers. Defensively, Doane was led by Dalton Ryba’s eight tackles.
The Concordia offense struggled, finishing with just 10 first downs in the loss. The Bulldogs totaled 215 yards of total offense (136 rushing, 79 passing). Thomas was 10-of-18 through the air for 74 yards and a touchdown. He also added nine carries for 39 yards. Tufford was just 1-of-5 through the air with two interceptions. Tufford was the team’s leading rusher with 54 yards on the day. Colten Quinabo (Wailuku, Hawaii) caught three passes for 34 yards. Defensively, Jerrod Fleming (Houston, Texas) closed out his Bulldog career with another big day. Fleming totaled a game-high 16 tackles. Little added 11 stops and the fumble return for the score.