/seasons/2010/contrib/20101106ugg0ms

Knights earn automatic playoff bid, share of league title

More news about: Wartburg

PELLA – Wartburg College head coach Rick Willis was thinking a total team win after his No. 13-ranked Knights toppled Central 20-17 Nov. 6.

And, with good reason.

"The final drive (11 plays – 85 yards) showed the character of this team," Willis said. "Our staff kept telling the team that we needed to work through our opportunities at halftime. The guys hung together for a big win."

The Orange and Black received big plays from all sections during the victory. Special teams figured in, as Wartburg took advantage of a blocked punt from sophomore Garret McGrane and a blocked field goal from sophomore D.J. Looft of Armstrong. McGrane's blocked punt set up a second quarter touchdown run from sophomore running back Reese Thompson of Van Horne, while Looft's blocked field goal, of a 47-yard attempt by the Dutch's Jake Viggers, preserved the three-point win in the waning moments.

The defense came in big. Junior defensive end Matt Tschetter of Milford had a fumble return that led the Knights' first touchdown, a seven-yard run by junior quarterback Danny Stiefel of Sterling Heights, Mich., while the "D" added four sacks of Central quarterback Nate Snead. Wartburg held the Dutch offense to 275 total yards.

Wartburg's offense, despite being limited to 245 yards, still managed to find the end zone three times. Along Steifel and Thompson's rushing scores, Thompson turned in the game-winning score on a five-yard run with 2:41 left. His two scores and 86 yards led the ground attack. Stiefel upped the Knights' current string of 100-yards-or-more passing games to 41 with 127 through the air. Junior wide receiver Levi Helbling of Malvern was the top receiver with seven receptions for 82 yards.

"The final drive (11 plays – 85 yards) showed the character of this team," Willis said. "At halftime, our staff kept telling the team that we needed to work through our opportunities. The guys hung together for a big win.

"I've got to credit our entire staff (for this)," he added. "Our assistants do so many things behind the scenes, and it's showed all year."

Wartburg clinched a share of its 12th title and second in the last three years and the conference's automatic bid to the 2010 NCAA Division III playoffs. The title ties them with Simpson for the second-most in league history.

 "This is a tribute to what four hard years of work can do," senior center Morgan O'Connor of Fort Dodge said.

The Knights close the regular season with a 1 p.m. kickoff at Simpson College's Buxton Community Stadium in Indianola Saturday, Nov. 13. A win would give the Orange and Black its first unbeaten regular season since 2003.

Nov. 18: All times Eastern
Final
Husson 23, at Springfield 21
Video Video Box Score Recap Photos
Final
at Berry 34, Huntingdon 20
Video Video Box Score Recap Photos
Final
at Delaware Valley 35, Western New England 0
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at Brockport 66, Plymouth State 0
Video Box Score Recap Photos
Final
Frostburg State 35, at Wittenberg 7
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at Mount Union 21, Washington and Lee 0
Video Box Score Photos
Final
at Wesley 45, RPI 27
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at Washington and Jefferson 31, Johns Hopkins 28
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at Trine 63, Monmouth 24
Video Box Score Photos
Final
at Mary Hardin-Baylor 50, Chapman 6
Video Box Score Recap
Final
Case Western Reserve 28, at Illinois Wesleyan 0
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at UW-Oshkosh 63, Lakeland 0
Video Box Score Recap Photos
Final
at St. Thomas 47, Eureka 8
Video Photos Video Recap Photos Box Score
Final - OT
at Wartburg 35, Franklin 34
Video Preview Box Score Live stats Photos
Final
at North Central (Ill.) 17, St. John's 7
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at Linfield 27, Hardin-Simmons 13
Box Score Photos
Nov. 25: All times Eastern
12:00 PM
Wesley at Brockport
Video Preview Live stats Audio
12:00 PM
Case Western Reserve at Mount Union
Video Preview Preview Live stats Audio
12:00 PM
Frostburg State at Washington and Jefferson
Video Live stats Audio
12:00 PM
Husson at Delaware Valley
Video Live stats
1:00 PM
Berry at St. Thomas
Video Live stats Live stats Audio Audio
1:00 PM
North Central (Ill.) at UW-Oshkosh
Video Live stats Live stats Audio
1:00 PM
Linfield at Mary Hardin-Baylor
1:00 PM
Trine at Wartburg
Video Live stats
Nov. 19: All times Eastern
Final
at Alfred 29, Stevenson 16
@ University of Delaware
Video Box Score Recap
Nov. 25: All times Eastern
12:00 PM
Wesley at Brockport
Video Preview Live stats Audio
12:00 PM
Case Western Reserve at Mount Union
Video Preview Preview Live stats Audio
12:00 PM
Frostburg State at Washington and Jefferson
Video Live stats Audio
12:00 PM
Husson at Delaware Valley
Video Live stats
1:00 PM
Berry at St. Thomas
Video Live stats Live stats Audio Audio
1:00 PM
North Central (Ill.) at UW-Oshkosh
Video Live stats Live stats Audio
1:00 PM
Linfield at Mary Hardin-Baylor
1:00 PM
Trine at Wartburg
Video Live stats