Northwestern took on Hastings in a showdown with big playoff implications on Sat., Nov. 11. For Raider football, the recipe was simple: win and you’re in.
The Raiders handled the pressure well, and physically dominated the line of scrimmage on both sides, leading to a 31-12 victory over Hastings. Sophomore Jacob Kalogonis rushed for a career high 264 yards behind the Raiders’ “big hogs” up front. Those include senior Taylor Kooi, junior Brad Mould, sophomore Grahm Kenobbie, freshman Dustin Brown and senior Tyler Alger. Mould recorded numerous pancake blocks throughout the game, completely humiliating his clearly weaker opponent. To celebrate his pancake blocks, Mould enjoyed a big stack of pancakes from IHOP after the game.
NW came out of the gates like Seabiscut, scoring 17 points within the first 12 minutes of the game. It was the Raiders day from the get-go. Shortly after the game started, the rain started to come down, but this could not dampen the Raiders’ spirits or weaken their momentum in the game. The Raiders repeatedly gave the ball to Kalogonis, 35 times in all, and trusted that their “big hogs” would pave the way for him.
On defense, NW was led by linemen senior Cody Bauman, junior Nate Bennett and junior Jed Van’t Hof. Together they held Tahj Willingham, one of the top rushers in the NAIA, to just 26 yards on 12 carries. The linemen don’t typically get much attention, but NW’s linemen played a vital role in bringing home the bacon against Hastings.
Kalogoni’s 264 rushing yards in the game is the fourth most all-time for a single game in NAIA. He put up 1,426 rushing yards this season which is second most all-time in a season for NW.
NW’s next matchup will be in the first round of the NAIA playoffs, as they travel to Oklahoma and take on Langston University at 2 p.m. on Sat., Nov. 18.