The Lawrence University football team lost to the Grinnell College Pioneers 24-21 this past weekend at the Banta Bowl. Despite a strong offensive showing, the Vikings were unable to secure the win and stop Grinnell’s offense in the second half.
The Vikings had a very confident attitude going into Saturday’s game. “In the locker room before the game, we were all very positive,” said sophomore Pat Pierson. “But we knew they would show up to play, and winning would not be easy.” The Vikings started the game off on a strong note by scoring a touchdown on their first offensive drive off of a 27-yard pass from senior quarterback Luke Barthelmess to junior wide receiver Tyler Lueck. A couple of drives later, Grinnell responded with a 75-yard touchdown pass from sophomore quarterback Sam Poulos to junior receiver Jacob Meixler, knotting the score at 7-7.
Grinnell scored again on their first drive of the second quarter on a 31-yard field goal kick from sophomore Graham Fischer, which brought the score to 10-7 in favor of Grinnell. But Lawrence answered with a solid offensive drive of their own, scoring another touchdown on a Barthelmess pass to senior receiver Dan Dubnicka. The extra point attempt was blocked, however, keeping the score at 13-10 Lawrence going into the half.
The second half consisted of more sustained Lawrence offensive drives, but an inability to finish with a score. After stopping the Vikings at the one-yard line, Grinnell was able to put together a long offensive effort that ended in a one-yard touchdown run by freshman Jacob Bernholtz. With a 17-13 lead, Grinnell scored another touchdown in the fourth quarter, as Poulos hit junior wide receiver Jake O’Polka on a 62-yard strike. With three minutes left on the clock, Lawrence once again put together a strong drive that resulted in a 10-yard touchdown reception by Isaac Barthelmess. The Vikings were able to successfully score a two-point conversion, bringing the score to 24-21 in favor of Grinnell. However, it was too little, too late, as Grinnell was able to run out the clock, securing the victory.
Last weekend’s game was certainly winnable; however, an inability to score in the red zone cost the Vikings. The Lawrence football team looks forward to playing Knox College, a team of similar ability considering their 1-7 record, at the Banta Bowl on Saturday, Nov. 10. “This week we will focus on being more physical,” says Pierson. “We need to play without being afraid to make mistakes. Once that happens, everything will fall into place.”