MILWAUKEE - Senior running back Donavin Tucker (Brookfield, Wis./East) piled up 190 rushing yards and three touchdowns for the Wisconsin Lutheran College football team, but the Warriors were overpowered by Concordia Wisconsin in a 58-31 Lutheran Bowl loss in Saturday's season finale. Tucker became the Warriors all-time leader with 11 single-season rushing touchdowns and tied the career record of 23 rushing touchdowns. The Falcons (8-2, 6-0 NACC) topped the Warriors (4-6, 3-3 NACC) for the second straight time to retain the Luther Cup.
CUW jumped on the board first after a short punt by the Warriors put the Falcons on the WLC 45. On the first play of the drive, quarterback Austin Damaschke connected with Cody Johnson on a 45-yard touchdown pass to give CUW a 7-0 lead with 8:47 left in the first quarter. Following the extra point the game was stopped by lighting, sending the teams to the locker rooms for a 48-minute delay.
After the delay, the Warriors were forced to punt, and it was blocked by CUW's Luke Scheuerlein, who recovered it at the WLC six. Again the Falcons needed just one play on the next drive, a touchdown run by Shay Klitzke to make it 14-0 with 6:47 remaining in the quarter.
The Falcons added a 20-yard field goal by David Gonzalez early in the second quarter to take a 17-0 advantage. WLC responded on its next possession as Tucker sprinted a season-high 53 yards to the end zone to cut the deficit to 17-7.
Concordia Wisconsin closed the half strong by rattling off 20 straight points. Damaschke hit Garrett Wenzelburger for a 2-yard touchdown pass to cap an 86-yard drive. On the next Warriors possession, quarterback Drew Dyrssen (Vista, Calif./California Lutheran) fumbled the ball deep in his own territory and it was recovered by Austin Kaatz, who returned it 18 yards for a Falcons touchdown. CUW scored again in the final minute of the half as LaCurt Evans' 13-yard touchdown run finished off a 75-yard drive to give the Falcons a 37-7 lead after a missed extra point.
The Warriors battled back with a strong start to the second half. After forcing CUW to punt, Jordan Miller (Menominee, Mich./Menominee) blocked the punt and WLC recovered at the Falcons' 23. Tucker ran the whole 23 yards on four carries, including a one-yard touchdown run. Matt Grams (Milwaukee, Wis./Pius XI) drilled a 37-yard field goal on the Warriors' next possession to trim the Falcons lead to 37-17 with 7:29 remaining in the third.
CUW answered with a 15 play, 75-yard drive that included a successful fake punt and was finished by Damaschke's three-yard touchdown scamper. Following a short possession by the Wawrriors, Damaschke found Johnson for a 50-yard touchdown pass to give the Falcons a 51-17 lead with under a minute left in the quarter.
On its first possession of the fourth quarter, WLC marched 80 yards in 12 plays, finished by Dyrssen's five-yard pass to Caleb Wolf (Cedarburg, Wis./Kettle Moraine Lutheran).
Evans ran for a 14-yard touchdown on the Falcons next possession for their final score of the game.
The Warriors wrapped up the scoring on Tucker's third touchdown of the day, a 15-yard rush with 1:04 remaining in the game. The touchdown was historic for Tucker, as he set a new program record with 11 rushing touchdowns in a season. It also gave him 23 career rushing touchdowns, tying Matt Kehl for the school record.
Dyrssen was 25-for-51 with 273 yards, a touchdown, and two interceptions in the final game of his career. Wolf led the Warriors receivers with four catches for 64 yards and a touchdown. Jestin Heimbruch (Manawa, Wis./Little Wolf) anchored the defense with 13 tackles and a sack.
Damaschke was 20-for-34 with 231 yards passing and three touchdowns. He also ran 19 times for 95 yards and a score. Evans ran for 107 yards and two touchdowns for CUW. Johnson made five grabs for 145 yards and a pair of scores. Joe Paul recorded nine tackles and a tackle for a loss.
WLC lost despite outgaining CUW 474-460. However, the Warriors turned the ball over six times while the Falcons committed no turnovers.
The Warriors open the 2014 season by hosting first-time opponent Lake Forest September 6 at 7 p.m. at Raabe Stadium.