Murphy Earns First Career Victory In Rout Over Cougars

Photo Credit: Larry Radloff, d3photography.com
Photo Credit: Larry Radloff, d3photography.com

MILWAUKEE – Junior running back Mike Reeves (Hoffman Estates, Ill./Hoffman Estates) rushed for 112 yards and three touchdowns to boost the Wisconsin Lutheran College football team to its first win of the season Saturday afternoon at Raabe Stadium in a 49-13 victory over Concordia Chicago. The win was the first as a collegiate head coach for Warriors head coach Ben Murphy.

The Warriors (1-4, 1-1 NACC) ended a five-game losing streak dating back to last season. Concordia Chicago (1-4, 1-1 NACC) was handed its first conference loss since October 1, 2011, ending a streak of 14 straight NACC wins.

For the second straight week, the Warriors were delayed by weather as lighting paused the game with 8:35 left in the first quarter. The delay lasted 62 minutes and once the Warriors came back out on the field the scoring began. Reeves scored his first touchdown on a 3-yard run up the middle with 6:02 left in the first.

The Cougars responded with a 22-yard pass from freshman quarterback Ryan Fischbach to Michael Brown. The Cougars were unable to convert the extra point due to an errant snap, the first of many special teams blunders on the day.

The Warriors ground assault was used heavily in the second quarter of play as freshman quarterback Anthony Rodriguez (Kissimmee, Fla./Gateway) was featured in a plethora of option plays and draw plays with Reeves and Donavin Tucker (Brookfield, Wis./East). Reeves scored two touchdowns in a span of two minutes and 30 seconds with a 4-yard run with 7:24 left in the second quarter and a 33-yard scamper with 5:03 to go in the half. Tucker plunged in for a touchdown on a 3-yard run with 3:43 left in the second, blowing the game open to make it a 28-6 lead for the Warriors. Tucker tallied 50 yards on 15 rushing attempts with two touchdowns and Rodriguez carried the ball 15 times for 89 yards.

After a scoreless third quarter, Tucker scored his second touchdown of the day on a 1-yard run early in the fourth, giving the Warriors a 35-6 lead.

Concordia's C.J. Woodford used a burst of speed to bolt through the Warriors secondary on a 50-yard touchdown run for the Cougars' second and final score with 7:51 left in the game. On the next drive, Rodriguez threw his first career touchdown on a 68-yard pass to Mitch Skarban (Appleton, Wis./Fox Valley Lutheran). Skarban led the Warriors receiving corps with three receptions for 98 yards and a touchdown.

Quarterback Gino DeGeorge (Las Vegas, Nev./Faith Lutheran), one of five Warriors quarterbacks to play on the day, wrapped up WLC's scoring with a 25-yard touchdown pass to Matt Gordy (Macomb, Ill./Macomb) with 2:25 left on the clock.

Outside of a strong offensive attack, the Warriors defense and special teams also turned in some big plays. Aaron Allister (Lake Mills, Wis./Lakeside Lutheran) and Travis Turnquist (Madison, Wis./East) provided constant pressure on the Cougars punt team. Allister recovered a fumble by the punter and Turnquist recorded two tackles for loss on the punter. Senior Cody Thurber (Tarpon Springs, Fla./East Lake) led the WLC defense with 10 tackles, three sacks and a forced fumble. Luke Sebald (Menomonee Falls, Wis./Wisconsin Lutheran) and Tanner Behnke (Brillion, Wis./Brillion) also recorded 10 tackles. 

The Warriors outgained the Cougars 428 yards to 298. Woodford led Concordia Chicago with 130 yards and a touchdown. Brown made seven catches for 108 yards and a touchdown.

Wisconsin Lutheran (1-4, 1-1 NACC) will host its Homecoming game against Aurora (1-4, 0-1 NACC) next Saturday at 1 p.m. at Raabe Stadium.