After a close game against the Grinnell College Pioneers Saturday, the Vikings suffered a loss 17-15 in the Banta Bowl.
The defenses of both the Vikings and the Pioneers held the game to low scores. Grinnell had a field goal from the 27-yard line during the first quarter, which was the only scoring of the first half.
On the first drive of the second half, Grinnell got a touchdown and scored on a fake field goal. The Vikings scored on their last drive of the third quarter to bring to score to 10-6. Sophomore quarterback Luke Barthelmess connected with junior receiver Ty Mazur for 21 yards to bring the Vikings into the red zone, and Barthelmess rushed for the remaining distance.
Sophomore Andy Paider was a major contributor for the Viking stop on the Pioneers first possession of the fourth quarter. Paider had a sack for a loss of 12 yards, sophomore Luke Galle had a tackle for a loss of three yards, and their drive ended with a blocked punt and recovered ball by Paider. After two incomplete passes and a sack, Lawrence was forced to punt. Sophomore Dyllan Eichhorst’s field goal was good from the 29-yard line, cutting the Grinnell lead to only one point.
The Vikings’ defense worked to keep the team’s momentum going, as senior Jon Hope forced a fumble and senior Robbie Ulloa recovered it at the Grinnell 27. However, the offense could not move the ball, and the Pioneers took over.
Grinnell scored again on a trick play, when a receiver in the wildcat formation took the snap, handed it to another receiver who then passed the ball for another seven yards into the end zone.
The Vikings responded quickly with a pass to Mazur for a 58-yard touchdown run past the Pioneer defense. Lawrence went for the two-point conversion to tie the game, but Barthelmess’s pass attempt was intercepted. The Viking’s last attempt failed when their onside kick for their last attempt but failed to kick the ball the required ten yards, and the game ended 17-15.
Barthelmess went 41-18-1 Saturday for 185 passing yards. Mazur led in receiving yards with five catches for 102 yards and one touchdown.
The Vikings had an exceptional day defensively against Grinnell. Senior Mats Jonsson, Paider and Hope led the defense with seven tackles. Jonsson had one interception and a broken up pass, Paider had 2.5 tackles for losses, a blocked kick and one sack, and Hope had two tackles for losses, a forced fumble, a broken up pass, and a sack. Senior Nick Kerkman also had a fumble recovery and a sack.
“We as a football team have taken great strides in the program this year, and continue to get better day by day. Rome was not built in a day, and we will continue to battle through many challenges to bring this program back atop of the Midwest Conference,” said sophomore Gabor Busker, who just recently returned from year-long knee injuries.
The Vikings have the capability to win, so hopefully some adjustments will be seen in the upcoming game against Lake Forest this Saturday, the last home game of the season.