Isabel Pheifer—Staff Writer
The Dordt University football team suffered a tough loss in week one, but they have not let that dictate their recent games. Since then, the Defenders have won 5 games in a row.
Currently ranked number 4 in the NAIA for both points per game and yards per game, the Defenders have showcased their offensive prowess throughout the season. The past few games have continued the success, seeing Dordt beat their last two opponents each by more than 30.
On Oct. 9, the Defenders went up against the Mount Marty Lancers. The Defenders got to the endzone on their first possession, a touchdown pass from freshman quarterback Kade McDaniel to senior wide receiver Levi Jungling. The Lancers responded quickly, getting in for two touchdowns early in the first quarter. The defensive expertise of sophomore safety Abraham Stoesz got the Defenders back in the game by picking off a pass in the middle of the second quarter. Junior running back Anthony Trojahn was able to get in the endzone from two yards out, and junior kicker Brett Zachman connected on the extra point attempt to even the score. On their next drive, senior quarterback Tyler Reynolds found Jungling to put the Defenders up a score with four minutes left in the half. Junior safety Zade Niklasen got an interception, giving the Defenders a chance at another touchdown before the half. The Defenders capitalized and ended up with Jungling catching a pass with two seconds left in the half, making the score 28-14. The second half went off to a blazing start, as the Defenders were able to score on their first three possessions of the half, all on runs by Reynolds. Sophomore running back Isaac Miller sealed the deal with a one-yard run, as Dordt walked away with a 63-21 win.
“I noticed that the team worked well together to give many players an opportunity to shine,” Dordt junior and self-proclaimed DU football mega fan Greichaly Kaster said.
On Oct. 16, Open Space Park was packed full of current students, alumni, and many other Dordt fans to watch the Defenders take on the Dakota Wesleyan Tigers for Defender Days.
“To see all the alumni back in town and be able to play in front of previous Dordt football players with them supporting us was really special,” junior cornerback Aren Van Hofwegen said.
The Tigers got on the board first with a field goal early in the first quarter. Dordt then scored on its next two possessions, one on a 35-yard run by freshman wide receiver Josh Bush and the other on a pass from Reynolds to sophomore tight end Hayden Large. The Defenders scored again in the second quarter on a 59-yard run by Bush, as well as a field goal by Zachman to make the score 24-6 heading into the half. In the second half, Jungling was able to score twice on catches of 26 and 72 yards respectively. Trojan muscled his way into the end zone to get the Defenders on the board one last time. Dakota Wesleyan got one touchdown late in the fourth quarter, but it was not enough to stop the dominance of the Defenders. Dordt managed to grab an exciting 45-13 win on Defender Days.
“It was a really great atmosphere to play in,” Van Hofwegen said. “It was a good day for football and a fun game,”
The next two weeks will be the ultimate test for the Defenders, as they face two tough opponents. On Oct. 23, the Defenders will face conference foe Morningside, ranked number three in the latest NAIA Coaches Poll. The following week does not get any easier, as Dordt will match up with in-county and conference rival Northwestern, who comes in ranked second in the most recent poll.