MEQUON, Wis. – Matt Grams (Milwaukee, Wis./Pius XI) knocked home the game-winning 23-yard field goal in the second overtime as the Warriors defeated NACC rival Concordia Wisconsin 23-20 to retain the Luther Cup for the second straight year on Saturday afternoon at Tomasini Stadium.
- Final Score: Wisconsin Lutheran 23, Concordia Wisconsin 20 (2 OT)
- Records: Wisconsin Lutheran (5-5, 4-2 NACC), Concordia Wisconsin (3-7, 3-3 NACC)
- Location: Tomasini Stadium, Mequon, Wis.
HOW IT HAPPENED
- On the first play of the game, Dakota Eland (Menominee, Mich./Menominee) forced and recovered a CUW fumble at the Falcons' 27-yard line. The Warriors needed just four plays to find the end zone with a one-yard touchdown run by Anthony Rodriguez (Kissimmee, Fla./Gateway) to put WLC ahead 7-0.
- Wisconsin Lutheran continued to put on the pressure with its next possession. The Warriors offense used a nine-play, 65-yard drive capped off by a 17-yard touchdown catch by Mitch Skarban (Appleton, Wis./Fox Valley Lutheran) from Rodriguez to increase the lead to 14-0.
- Concordia Wisconsin responded with a six-play, 75-yard drive as Aaron Nixon completed a two-yard touchdown pass to Derrick Estfan to pull within 14-6 after a missed PAT.
- The Warriors continued their momentum, using Grams' 23-yard field goal to extend the lead to 17-6, capping off an 11-play, 64-yard drive.
- The Falcons cut into the Warriors lead in the second quarter. Nixon found Estfan again in the end zone, this time from three yards out, to make it 17-13 at halftime.
- After both teams exchanged turnovers, CUW took its first lead of the contest on Andrew Gatz's five-yard touchdown run, putting the Falcons ahead 20-17.
- Concordia Wisconsin missed a 26-yard field goal attempt with 10:49 remaining in the fourth quarter.
- Two drives later, Jim D'Angelo's (Fredonia, Wis./Ozaukee) sack forced a four-and-out to give Wisconsin Lutheran the ball at its own 38-yard line.
- The Warriors moved the ball 44 yards in six plays to set up a 35-yard field goal for Grams. The kick sailed right down the middle to tie the game at 20-20.
- After a WLC fumble, CUW looked for the game-winning drive with 0:42 seconds remaining, but Trevor Seewald (Coleman, Wis./Coleman) intercepted Nixon to send the game to overtime.
- Both teams failed to score on its first possessions in overtime.
- On Wisconsin Lutheran's second possession, Grams' field goal was good from 23 yards to put WLC ahead 23-20.
- Concordia Wisconsin had a final attempt to tie the game, but the 38-yard field goal attempt went wide left to send the Warriors back to Milwaukee with the Luther Cup for the second consecutive year.
INSIDE THE BOX SCORE
- The Warriors narrowly out-gained the Falcons 461-454 in total yardage. WLC piled up 295 yards through the air and 166 yards on the ground. The Warriors' 166 rushing yards marks their most of the season.
- Rodriguez was 25-for-43 for 288 yards which marks a career-high. He also had 73 yards rushing and tossed one passing touchdown and two interceptions.
- Skarban had eight catches for 132 yards and a score.
- Jared Bruemmer (Hanover Park, Ill./Hoffman Estates) carried the ball 20 times for 79 yards.
- Grams tied a WLC single-game record with three made field goals.
- Jake Engels (Coleman, Wis./Coleman) and Tanner Behnke (Brillion, Wis./Brillion) led Wisconsin Lutheran with nine tackles each. Larry Meeks (Burlington, Wis./Burlington) had 1.5 sacks, 2.5 tackles-for-loss, and a fumble recovery.
- Engels and Eland each forced a fumble and Seewald and Behnke had an interception.
- Nixon was 23-for-41 with 314 yards passing with two touchdowns and two interceptions.
- Gatz ran for 136 yards on 16 attempts and a score.
- Estfan had seven receptions for 123 yards and two touchdowns.
- Michael Ledesma recorded 11 tackles with 3.0 sacks, four tackles-for-loss, and a fumble recovery.
- The Warriors secured their sixth .500-plus season in the last seven years.