MILWAUKEE - The Wisconsin Lutheran College football team fell behind 21-3 early in the second quarter before rallying with 21 unanswered points to stun Aurora 24-21 Saturday afternoon at Raabe Stadium. The Warriors established a single-season program record with their fifth straight victory and enter the final week of the season with an opportunity to win a share of the Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference title.
WHERE THEY STAND
- The Warriors improved to 6-3 overall and 4-1 in NACC play, while the Spartans dropped to 1-8 with a 1-5 conference mark.
HOW IT HAPPENED
- WLC moved the ball 47 yards in 14 plays on its second possession of the game but was held to a 22-yard field goal by Matt Grams (Milwaukee, Wis./Pius XI) to take a 3-0 lead with 6:32 remaining in the opening quarter.
- Aurora responded with an eight-play, 75-yard drive and quarterback Drew Cole hit Danny Logiurato for a 42-yard touchdown pass as the Spartans grabbed an 8-3 advantage after a successful two-point conversion.
- In the closing seconds of the quarter, Aurora blocked Grams' punt after a bobbled snap and Zach Laud picked it up and ran it 32 yards to the end zone to extend the lead to 14-3.
- Early in the second quarter, Tanner Wilcox intercepted Gino DeGeorge's (Las Vegas, Nev./Faith Lutheran) pass and returned it to the Warriors' 10-yard line. Cole ran it in from six yards out to put WLC in a 21-3 hole.
- WLC's offense responded immediately, marching 80 yards in 11 plays to score on DeGeorge's eight-yard pass to Mitch Skarban (Appleton, Wis./Fox Valley Lutheran).
- Following a three-and-out by Aurora, WLC went on a five-play, 67-yard drive as Chris Williams (Chicago, Ill./Chicago Bulls College Prep) sprinted into the end zone from 22 yards out to pull the Warriors to within 21-17.
- Both late in the second quarter and early in the third quarter the Warriors fumbled the ball inside of Aurora's five-yard line with a chance to score the go-ahead touchdown.
- After each team was scoreless in the third quarter, WLC put together the winning drive midway through the fourth, moving 79 yards on 12 plays. On fourth-and-eight at the Spartans' 23, DeGeorge connected with Skarban for the go-ahead touchdown pass.
- With Aurora nearing midfield on its final drive, Josh Reznack (Hales Corners, Wis./Pius XI) intercepted Cole to seal the victory.
- The Warriors intercepted Cole three times in the second half and four times overall. Dakota Vanidestine (Marinette, Wis./Marinette), Jordan Miller (Menominee, Mich./Menominee), and Jake Engels (Coleman, Wis./Coleman) also picked off passes.
- WLC's defense shutout the Spartans for the entire second half and over the final 42:43 of the game.
INSIDE THE BOX SCORE
- The Warriors assured themselves of a winning season for the fourth time in the last five years and a winning conference record for the fifth time in the last six seasons.
- WLC will enter the final week of conference play with a chance to share the NACC crown by virtue of a victory over Concordia Wisconsin and a Benedictine win over Lakeland.
- The Warriors outgained the Spartans 372 to 254 yards and the offense was 9-of-19 on third-down conversions.
- DeGeorge was 22-for-39 for 259 yards, two touchdowns, and one interception. Skarban made nine grabs for a career-high 144 yards and both touchdowns. Williams gained 90 yards on the ground on 28 carries, including a touchdown. Jestin Heimbruch (Manawa, Wis./Little Wolf) and Tanner Behnke (Brillion, Wis./Brillion) led WLC's defense with 10 tacklees apiece. Behnke added three tackles for a loss and Heimbruch made 1.5 tackles for a loss.
- Cole finished 14-for-28 for 145 yards and a touchdown, along with four interceptions. Logiurato caught seven passes for 111 yards and a touchdown. Jake Apple gained 67 yards on 16 carries. Tanner Wilcox piled up a game-high 18 tackles and contributed an interception and a forced fumble.
- Wisconsin Lutheran hosts rival Concordia Wisconsin (5-4, 3-2 NACC) in the Lutheran Bowl and regular-season finale Saturday at 1 p.m. at Raabe Stadium. It will also be Senior Day for the Warriors. Live audio and stats will be available at wlcsports.com.