Connor Van Hulzen and Luke Drooger – Staff Writer
\A week after a disappointing but unsurprising loss to perennial NAIA powerhouse Morningside, the football team endured the long journey to Jamestown, ND to get back in the win column—and break a school record—against the University of Jamestown Jimmies.
The 5 ½ hour drive to Jamestown also included a stop in Brookings, SD at South Dakota State University to get in a light walk-through—in which players go over what plays they’ll run—and a stop at a Fargo, ND hotel for the night before the game.
Despite these less-than-optimal circumstances, the football team rolled into Jamestown ready to play. Senior wide receiver Levi Niesen and sophomore quarterback Tyler Reynolds scored on two four-yard rushing touchdowns on both of their first two drives, giving the Defenders an early 14-3 lead at the end of the first quarter.
A somewhat slow second quarter saw only one score by either team, with sophomore tight end Lucas Warner catching a 6-yard touchdown pass from freshman quarterback Kaleb Maresh to put Dordt up 21-3 heading into halftime.
Coming out of halftime, the Defenders turned to the run game to grind away time on the clock. A nearly six-minute-long drive resulted in a 3-yard rushing touchdown for senior running back Levi Schoonhoven. One successful Jamestown drive later, the Defenders held a 28-10 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
The fourth and final quarter saw Dordt seal the game emphatically. Another Tyler Reynolds rushing touchdown expanded the lead to 35-10. On the Defenders’ next offensive drive, a fumble returned for a touchdown meant that Jamestown brought it just a little closer, to 35-16, though it would prove to be too little too late.
One rushing touchdown later by sophomore Reece Schnell, the Defenders had the game all wrapped up with a new record to boot. Schoonhoven rushed the ball thirty-five times for a Dordt record of 298 yards.
“I wasn’t getting touched until I was five or six yards past the line of scrimmage on every play,” Schoonhoven said. “I could tell their game plan was to stop our option game because we weren’t really able to get outside and to the sideline.”
After the game, running backs and tight ends coach Devin Eekhoff said, “The offensive line had an amazing focus up front and were able to be very physical and dominate. [Levi] Schoonhoven ran tough and really helped us secure this win.”
This week, the Defenders move on to play Dakota Wesleyan at home at 1:00 pm.