Courtesy of Midland Athletics
MITCHELL, S.D. – For the second time on the road this year, Midland University played an opponent in a one-possession game. Unlike their season open, Midland was on the short end as they suffered a one-point loss, 33-32, to Dakota Wesleyan University in conference play. The loss drops the Warriors to 2-1 overall and 1-1 in the Great Plains Athletic Conference (GPAC).
After both teams exchanged punts on their opening possessions, Midland found the endzone on its second. On the drive, the Warriors converted a fourth down and one from the Dakota Wesleyan 46-yard line, when Garrison Beach carried the ball for a two-yard gain to extend the march. Four plays later, Tyson Denkert carried the ball in from 10 yards out, to put Midland ahead 7-0 after Jared Quinonez‘s extra point, with 6:04 left in the opening quarter.
The Tigers came right back, engineering a 10-play, 74-yard drive for a score. Austin Lee connected with Kiel Nelson on a 15-yard touchdown pass, on fourth down and nine. The Jaxon Patrick PAT made it 7-7 with just over a minute to play in the first quarter.
Early in the second quarter, both teams would exchange punts again. Midland forced a punt from the DWU 4-yard line and Denkert returned it 20 yards to the Tigers’ 25. Two plays later, Midland recaptured the lead when Beach carried the ball in from five yards out. A bad snap on the PAT kept the Warriors lead to just six, 13-7, with 8:33 left in the half.
On the next possession, the Warriors’ defense forced the Tigers into a three-and-out. Denkert would get another solid return on the punt, this time 31 yards, to the Dakota Wesleyan 37-yard line. Another quick drive resulted in points for Midland. Beach completed a 14-yard pass to Maximus Wold for a touchdown, on the third play of the drive. Quinonez’s point after putting MU up 20-7 with 5:49 left before halftime.
Dakota Wesleyan cut into the lead right before the break with a 9-play 65-yard drive. Lee connected with Nelson for a touchdown for the second time on the day, this time from 16 yards away. The point-after-attempt by Patrick was blocked by Midland’s Noah Ethan, and the score was 20-13, Midland, with 1:12 left in the half.
A four-play march in the final moments of the half resulted in a touchdown for Midland. Beach hooked up with Tariq Brown on a 60-yard score with thirteen seconds left in the half. However, the Quinonez extra-point attempt was blocked. Midland took its 26-13 lead into the halftime locker room.
Midland forced DWU to punt on its opening drive of the third quarter. However, the Warriors turned the ball over, five plays later, when Beach’s pass on third and five was intercepted by the Tigers’ Ethan Engen and returned to the Midland 38-yard line. Three plays later, Dakota Wesleyan scored when Lee threw his third touchdown pass of the game, a 38-yarder to Wyatt VanDenTop. Patrick’s extra point made it 26-20.
The Warriors had the lead going into the final quarter. After a Midland punt, DWU took the lead for the first time. A 9-play 71-yard drive was capped off as Lee threw his fourth touchdown pass of the day. He found Nelson in the end zone from 15 yards out and after the Patrick PAT, DWU led 27-26 with 11:59 to play.
On the ensuing kickoff, an excellent return by Midland’s Preston Williams set up the offense at midfield. Four plays later, Beach connected with Brodie Anderson on a 7-yard touchdown pass, with 10:19 to play. A two-point conversion pass from Beach to Brown failed, and Midland led 32-27.
The Tigers put together their longest drive of the game, 15 plays for 73 yards, as they marched down the field looking to regain the lead. On the 12th play of the drive, Lee threw a pass good for eight yards and a DWU first down. Three plays later, running back Jamin Arend carried the ball in from the one-yard line to put DWU up 33-32. A two-point conversion pass from Lee to Arend failed, giving Midland hope with 1:22 left on the clock.
On the kickoff, the Warriors’ Tegan Lemkau returned the ball to the 30-yard line. With 1:16 to play, Beach completed five of six passes to move the ball near midfield, to the Midland 48-yard line. As the Warriors faced a fourth down and two, Beach’s pass to Anderson fell to the turn and DWU took over the ball on downs with 13 seconds remaining. The Tigers went to a knee and handed the Warriors their first loss of the season, 33-32.
Dakota Wesleyan ran the ball 34 times for 107 yards. Through the air, they were 22-of-32 for 229 yards. The Tigers ran 66 plays for 336 yards of total offense.
The Warriors ran the ball 18 times for 69 yards and were 27-of-35 passing for 261 yards. Midland ran 53 plays for 330 yards of total offense.
The Tigers’ Austin Lee was 22-of-32 passing for 229 yards and four touchdowns. Jamin Arend led the ground attack. He carried the ball 25 times for 86 yards and a score. Lee’s top receiver was Kiel Nelson. He caught 10 passes for 118 yards and three touchdowns. Wyatt VanDenTop caught two passes for 45 yards and a score.
Defensively, Ethan Engen led the Tigers with seven tackles. He also intercepted a pass and blocked a Midland PAT attempt. Hunter Cordell and Kale Stevenson had six tackles each, and also one tackle-for-loss, a piece. Adam DeJong had five tackles and a tackle for loss, plus added a pass breakup. Jaiden Walton added four tackles and sacked Warrior quarterback Beach once, for a nine-yard loss.
Offensively for Midland, Garrison Beach completed 27-of-35 passes for 261 yards, three touchdowns, and had one interception. Tyson Denkert led the Warriors in rushing as he carried the ball four times for 32 yards and a touchdown. Beach also carried the ball five times. He officially recorded zero yards but had a five-yard touchdown run.
Tariq Brown had a big day receiving for MU with seven receptions for 117 yards and a touchdown. Maximus Wold hauled in five passes for 44 yards receiving and a touchdown. Brodie Anderson was also on the receiving end of a Beach touchdown pass. The sophomore tight end caught three passes for 17 yards.
Xavier Green led the Warrior defense with 12 tackles, two of which were in the backfield. Gabriel VanWinkle added seven tackles, with a tackle for a loss of three yards. Tray Kingsland had six stops and also had a tackle for a loss of six yards. Uiti Moe had three tackles on the day, plus a tackle in the backfield. Tayver Thornbrugh was active from his defensive back position with two tackles and added three pass breakups on the day.
With the Tigers’ homecoming win, DWU improves to 3-1 overall and 2-1 in conference play. They’ll be back in action next week at Concordia. Midland falls to 3-1 on the season and 2-1 in the GPAC. They will be on the road next week at Morningside. Kickoff between the Warriors and Mustangs is set for 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, September 23 at Elwood Olson Stadium.