On his shoulders

More news about: Wartburg
Wartburg missed Logan Schrader when he was injured in last season's national quarterfinal.
Photo by Ryan Coleman, d3photography.com 

Rick Willis says the key to the Wartburg football team’s continued success is consistent play. Fortunately for the Knights, they have a model of consistency in quarterback Logan Schrader.

His unwavering ability has helped Wartburg win several close games this season, and Schrader has become one of the best signal callers to ever play on campus in Waverly.

Schrader became Wartburg’s all-time leading passer Saturday when he completed a 31-yard touchdown pass to Robbie Anstoetter. And later in the Knights’ 31-14 win over Coe, Schrader tossed a 26-yard scoring throw to Zach Hiller to tie the program’s mark for career touchdown passes.

“It’s something I’m really proud of,” said Schrader – who now has 7,697 passing yards, surpassing Nick Yordi’s mark of 7,548, and 59 touchdown passes, tying the record held by Yordi and current Wartburg offensive coordinator Matt Wheeler.

“It’s going to be my name in the record book, but there’s a lot of other people who had a part in that record. It would be selfish of me to think I did it all by myself because I’ve got a great group of O-linemen protecting me up front and a great group of running backs and wide receivers that make plays for me.”

Willis said Schrader’s individual achievements are impressive when considering the quarterbacks who have come through the program.

“We’ve had a run of pretty good guys playing quarterback for us here. For Logan to be breaking those records of those people, I think, is a true testament to his ability and the way he’s progressed and developed as a quarterback,” the coach said.

“He has everything you look for in a quarterback. He’s developed a great knowledge of our system and what we’re trying to do. He’s become a tremendous preparer, in terms of getting ready for each game. He has a strong and accurate arm, and he can make plays with his feet,” Willis said. “And maybe the most important thing doesn’t have anything to do with records, it has to do with success. He’s a confident leader.

“We’re lucky to have him – no question about it.”

Last season, Schrader led Wartburg to its second straight IIAC championship and the team marched to the quarterfinals of the NCAA playoffs.

This season, the Knights are off to a 5-0 start – including a 2-0 mark in league play – but they have had to scratch their way through some close games.

“I think being in close ball games always help your team,” said Willis, whose team was won by an average of 10.2 points this season after posting an average winning margin of 29.8 points per game through five weeks a year ago. “I think you learn in those situations. You learn how to act (and) you learn how to react when you’ve been in back-and-forth games. Teams figure out a way to win. That’s a characteristic that our team has been able to develop.”

“Right now, I feel we’ve got a mentally tough team and a resilient team,” Schrader added.

The coach said his team spent extra time focusing on fundamentals during the team’s open week, prior to kicking off IIAC play. He said the Knights have continued to improve throughout the year.

“We’re in the middle of a process. Every year is its own process and every team is a little different,” Willis said.

The coach added that last year’s playoff run was a valuable experience, which he believes has made a difference this season. “There is no substitute for experience,” Willis said. “I think that’s part of why our team has had some success up to this point this year in some challenging situations and close ball games.”

Schrader agreed, adding that the returning players from the 2014 squad have confidence after playing toe-to-toe with the best teams in the country. The quarterback also said the desire to make another playoff run has motivated the team.

Wartburg will take on Dubuque on Saturday. The Spartans are the only other unbeaten team in IIAC play, so a win would give the Knights the inside track to their third consecutive conference title and their fourth in six years.

“It will be another tough football game,” Schrader said. “We’re preparing for another battle this week, and we’ll do our best to go out there and come out on top.”

MIAC race heating up

The standings in the ultra-competitive MIAC are beginning to take shape as five teams have one loss or fewer.

Gustavus Adolphus is 6-0 for the second year in a row, including a conference-best 4-0 MIAC mark. Mitch Hendricks threw for 383 yards and five touchdowns in the Gusties’ 58-34 win over St. Olaf on Saturday. Gustavus must face the gauntlet of St. John’s, Bethel, Concordia-Moorhead and St. Thomas to close out the year.

St. Thomas (5-0 overall, 3-0 MIAC) remained unbeaten with a 55-6 victory at Augsburg. Jordan Roberts rushed for 111 yards and a touchdown and Jack Kaiser added 95 yards and two scores to lead the Tommies.

Concordia-Moorhead (5-1, 3-1) built a 17-point lead after three quarters and bested Carlton, 27-24; Bethel (4-2, 3-1) got three touchdowns from Marshall Klitzke in a 41-7 win over Hamline; and St. John’s (4-1, 2-1) had a bye.

Number of the week

36 – as in UW-Whitewater’s 36-game winning streak, which was snapped by UW-Oshkosh Saturday. Branden Lloyd blocked the Warhawks’ field goal attempt with 1:59 to play to help the Titans’ seal a 10-7 victory. Third-string quarterback Jayden Essman played the entire second half following injuries to starter Brett Kasper and backup Connor Senger. Essman completed 11-of-18 passes in the victory. It was the first time Oshkosh beat Whitewater at home since 2002.

The rest of the West

Sean Murray converted a 17-yard field goal with two seconds left as Redlands secured the Smudge Pot Trophy with a 13-10 win at Cal Lutheran. … Linfield racked up 698 yards of total offense in a 77-10 win over Pacific. … St. Scholastica quarterback Mike Mensing compiled 182 yards and three touchdowns on just eight completions as the Saints rolled to a 41-7 win over Iowa Wesleyan. … Jack Eddy started in place of injured quarterback Tom Kelly and threw for 375 yards and four touchdowns to lead UW-Platteville’s comeback win over UW-Stevens Point, 30-27. … Bob Owens became the winningest coach at Chapman with his 50th triumph and Jeremiah McKibbins became the Panthers all-time leading rusher (2,370 career yards) during a 35-13 win at Pomona-Pitzer. … Sam Markham caught seven passes for 129 yards in Central’s 45-10 win over Luther. … Jimmy Sharp plunged into the end zone on the first play of the fourth quarter and Cameron Coe converted the PAT to give Willamette its first win of the year, 10-9, at Pacific Lutheran. … Matt Olson picked up 139 yards and three touchdowns on 11 attempts to lead Martin Luther past Minnesota-Morris, 51-36. … UW-River Falls registered three interceptions and recovered a fumble to win a 10-7 defensive battle with UW-Eau Claire. … Bryan Scott threw more touchdowns (4) than incompletions (3) in Occidental’s 62-15 win over Whittier. Scott completed 24-of-27 passes for 280 yards. … Seven players recorded a sack in Whitworth’s 24-7 win over Puget Sound. … Maurece Herrion capped a nine-play, 75-yard drive with a 5-yard touchdown run. The score came with 44 seconds to play and lifted Dubuque to a 31-24 victory at Simpson. … Westminster (Mo.) rallied from a five point deficit to beat Eureka, 26-18. Latif Adams carried 30 times for 116 yards and three touchdowns. … Joel Oxton caught 11 passes for 143 yards and a touchdown in UW-La Crosse’s 28-21 win over UW-Stout. … Crown’s defense recovered three fumbles in a 22-14 win over Greenville. … Nolan Baumhover passed for 359 yards and six touchdowns to help Loras hold off Buena Vista, 48-41. … Grant Schroeder threw for three touchdowns and Lenana Meekisho ran for three scores as George Fox improved to 3-2 overall with a 49-35 victory over Lewis and Clark. … Alex Arellano caught 11 passes for 156 yards and a touchdown, helping La Verne top Claremont-Mudd-Scripps, 32-27.

Rank ‘em

Eight teams in the West Region were ranked in this week’s Top 25, including five teams in the top 10.

Linfield moved up to No. 2 and received six first-place votes.

UW-Oshkosh vaulted 10 places to No. 5, one spot ahead of No. 6 UW-Whitewater – the former top-ranked team. Wartburg slid two spots to No. 8 while St. Thomas remained ranked No. 9.

UW-Platteville and St. John’s each fell one spot to Nos. 13 and 14, respectively.

Concordia-Moorhead climbed four spots to No. 19.

Gustavus Adolphus (48), Whitworth (32) and Bethel (14) received votes this week.

Be heard

Do you have a story idea for the Around the West column? Contact me about approaching milestones, broken records, break-out players or any other storylines in the Region. Or just drop me a note to let me know what you think of the column. All ideas and feedback are welcome. Email me at josh.smith@d3sports.com or follow me on Twitter @By_Josh_Smith.

More features

September 18, 2019 A half-century at Lycoming Ever since the Beatles broke up, Steve Wiser has been part of the Lycoming football program. And after 50 years, he can stay...
September 18, 2019 Building a new home across town Former Hardin-Simmons quarterback Jordan Neal didn't plan on returning to his hometown of Abilene, but when crosstown rival...
September 11, 2019 That extra jolt of inspiration Jordan McInerney has moments where he’s worn out, where he teeters on the brink of feeling as if he as doesn’t...
September 11, 2019 Finding the medium for the message He's a rising young street artist, who has drawn interest nationally. And he's also a senior offensive lineman for Manchester...

Josh Smith photo

Josh Smith has covered Division III sports for more than five years. He writes for multiple publications, including D3football.com beginning in 2012. He has won multiple awards for reporting and photography and lives in southern Wisconsin near UW-Whitewater, where he graduated with a degree in print journalism.

2011-12 columns: Jason Galleske
2010: Tim Walsh
2003-09: Adam Johnson
1999-2000: Don Stoner 

Other Columnists