After an upsetting loss against the Nebraska Wesleyan Prairie Wolves, the Red Raider football team finished its season with a dominating performance against the Midland Warriors.
On Nov. 14, 21 seniors were recognized for their time as football players at Northwestern. They then took the field and showcased their talents for one last time. Their significance definitely played its role in the final score of 55-6.
Leading the NW offense was junior quarterback Craig Bruinsma. Bruinsma finished the season with three consecutive games where he threw for at least 300 yards. He completed 18 of his 24 pass attempts, totaling 310 yards and four touchdowns. Fourteen of those receptions were shared between three targets: senior wide receiver Dominique Williams, senior wide receiver Sam Rall and sophomore wide receiver T.J. Spykstra. Williams recorded four catches for 99 yards and three touchdowns. Rall recorded five catches for 127 yards and a touchdown for his third straight game with 100 yards. Spykstra added five catches for 45 yards.
NW developed a good ground game that gave its offense early confidence. Senior running back Jessie Riley had 17 carries for 62 yards and recorded his final touchdown on a big goal-line conversion. Sophomore running back Ethan Achterhoff recorded eight carries for 70 yards with a huge touchdown on 41-yard carry.
Giving up only seven first downs and 155 yards, NW’s defense played with discipline. Senior defensive back Nathayn DeHoyos scored a touchdown on a 24-yard interception, giving the Red Raider defense momentum. Together, senior linebackers Court Ecklund, Aric Waltz and Andrew Powell recorded 13.5 tackles. Senior safety Caleb DeHaan added his own five tackles, as well as one interception. Senior defensive end Lawton DeJong had 5.5 tackles and two sacks.
“The win was huge for us,” Riley said. “Being a senior means this was my last game to put the pads on and all the seniors were well aware of that. Our reputation was barely holding on and we did not want to finish with a losing record. We were determined from the start. It was definitely the way to go out. Finishing up a career with a game like this and parents present was definitely an unforgettable experience.”
The Red Raiders’ football season ended with a 6-4 (5-4 in the GPAC) record. Not the season NW hoped for, but a happy ending indeed.