With a three-point lead as the clock wound down on Saturday, the Red Raider football team signaled for a timeout to extend the nerves of the Concordia Bulldogs and the rest in attendance at Korver Field. Concordia tried for a field goal, but the referees waved it off. The kick was no good. Northwestern’s offense ran their victory formation to seal the win.
The nail-biter ended with a 17-14 score, advancing the Red Raiders to an undefeated record of 3-0 (2-0 in the Great Plains Athletic Conference).
Unlike their game against Dordt College and similar to their game against Tabor, the Red Raiders survived yet another defensive showdown.
Carrying the offense to another victory was junior quarterback Jonathan “Koko” Kodama. Despite his weak ankle and injured shoulder, Koko managed to throw for 227 yards and two touchdowns. His first interception thrown this season was returned for a touchdown by the Bulldogs’ defense.
Knowing his parents were in the stands watching and not via computer, senior wide receiver Dominique Williams was determined to have a great game. Williams connected with Kodama on four receptions for 124 yards.
“I don’t feel like there was anything to prove, but to make up for the lost time [with my parents] that was taken away from me,” Dominique Williams said.
Complementing Williams’s offensive performance was senior wide receiver, Sam Rall, who was on the receiving end of seven receptions for 83 yards.
“We have improved,” said Kodama. “Improvements show in our consistency, focus, completing tasks, and overall in the game. What we do in practice continues to translate to our game field performance.”
Senior strong safety Caleb DeHaan had another great individual performance with nine tackles. Following him was junior middle linebacker Aric Waltz totaling seven tackles. Not far behind was Joshua Treybal, a junior defensive tackle who recorded six tackles.
Together the Raider defense held the Concordia Bulldogs to only 35 yards on 27 attempts and 3-17 on third-down conversions.
“This is a very smart and focused group,” said Matt McCarty, the Red Raiders’ 11th year defensive coordinator. “They have an urge to want to get better, and a humbleness to them which makes them fun to coach, also watch. Weekly, I challenge them to improve regardless of the opponent.”
NW will head to Crete, Neb., for their match up against Doane College at 1 p.m. Saturday. This game is a match up NAIA refers to as the “Game of the Week.”