A losing streak continued for Lawrence football this past weekend as the Vikings lost to the Carroll University Pioneers in Waukesha, WI. Utilizing their very strong running attack, Carroll got hot early and could not be slowed down. By the end of the first half, the Pioneers led the game 41-0, a lead Lawrence could only trim by seven points.
A majority of the credit for the win has to go to junior running back Lamont Williams, who ran for 216 yards and four touchdowns on 19 carries (11.4 yards per carry). Apart from being unable to stop the run, the Vikings made several key mistakes in the first half that Carroll capitalized on. Namely, the Pioneers scored off an interception in the first quarter and a blocked punt at the end of the second quarter.
Despite having such a rough first half, Lawrence returned strong in the second half, getting into the game when sophomore cornerback Zach Eichhorst returned an interception for a touchdown with 22 seconds left in the third quarter. It was both the first interception of Eichhorst’s career and the first for the Lawrence defense this year. The terrific pick-six was followed by another score midway through the fourth quarter, when senior quarterback Luke Barthelmess threw a 13-yard touchdown pass to senior wide receiver Dan Dubnicka.
“It was just too little too late. We have to be able to get that full effort from top to bottom if we want to succeed,” said senior safety Sam Wagner. The loss brought Lawrence’s record to 0-5 overall in what has been a very difficult season.
“We are struggling a little bit,” commented Wagner. “Too many of us are more worried about making a mistake than we are about putting 100% in all the time. That’s largely due to the fact that we have so many young guys playing.”
However, it hasn’t been all bad news for Lawrence football this year and many players, such as Wagner, have had great individual performances as the season has progressed. Along with holding several school passing records, quarterback Luke Barthelmess currently leads all Midwest Conference QB’s with 434 rushing yards for the season. And despite averaging only 13.5 points, the Vikings offense ranks second in the nation in time of possession with a 38:22 per game average.
On the defensive end, senior linebacker Andy Paider was just named Midwest Conference Defensive Player of the Week following his 14-tackle game against the reigning MWC champion Illinois College, last week. Of his 14 tackles, 7 were for a loss, a career high for Paider and a season high within the MWC. Paider was also placed on the NCAA Division III Team of the Week.
Regarding the future of the Vikings football program Wagner said, “We definitely have a good young core. Everyone’s buying into the system and the future of Lawrence athletics, for football in particular, is very bright.” Lawrence will face division rival St. Norbert College at home this Saturday, Oct. 19.