Mike Byker, Sports Information Director
FREMONT, Neb. – The Dordt Defenders played from in front the entire Saturday afternoon and won a 22-14 decision in GPAC play over Midland in the football opener for both teams.
Dordt got on the board with a nine play-56 yard drive capped by a Noah Clayberg touchdown run from six yards out for a 7-0 lead after the Brett Zachman point after with 2:13 left in the first quarter.
Midland fumbled on the ensuing drive and Dordt took advantage of the short field, going 20 yards on four plays with Clayberg finding Ben Heuvelhorst in the end zone for a six yard completion and an eventual 14-0 lead.
Midland wasted little time in scoring to make it interesting with EJ Stewart finding Darrin Gentry for a 71 yard pass and run with 12:04 left in the first half. Midland threatened again late in the half when it appeared they completed a pass in the end zone but Jalen Placide was able to knock the ball away from Omuiri Garcia to end the half and preserve the 14-7 lead.
The Defenders appeared poised to add to the lead midway through the third quarter but a fumble stopped their drive at the Midland 12. The Warriors were forced to punt after failing to pick up a first down and the snap was low and rolled out of the end zone for a safety.
Leading 16-7 the game went to the fourth quarter and it was finally Dordt that got into the end zone with Carter Schiebout darting in from 15 yards out. The point after was blocked and the difference was still two scores at 22-7.
A touchdown pass for Midland on the next drive made it interesting with EJ Stewart finding Austin Harris for a 31 yard score.
Dordt’s next possession sealed the win. Dordt faced fourth and one at their own 34 and Schiebout found three yards behind the left side of the line. Dordt was eventually forced to punt but Midland could only run one play from deep in their own territory and David Kacmarynski picked a lateral off in midair to end the game.
“Today was a great team win,” Dordt head coach Joel Penner said. “Our guys have been through a lot this first few weeks and their toughness andunity showed today. We threw a number of freshmen in the fire today and they were outstanding. I’m really proud of this team and I know some special things are in store for this group.”
Dordt managed to win despite getting outgained 388-328. The Defenders rushed for 196 yards while limiting Midland to 90 yards on the ground. ‘
Noah Clayberg rushed for 83 yards on 22 carries with one score and he completed 12 passes for 133 yards. Ben Heuvelhorst caught three passes for 55 yards and one score.
Jalen Placide had six solo and five assisted tackles with an interception and broke up a pass.
Dordt is 1-0 overall while Midland falls to 0-1. This is the sixth year in a row Dordt and Midland have played to a single-score difference. The two teams have evenly split those games.
Dordt travels to Mitchell, South Dakota on Saturday, September 26.