The Northwestern Red Raider football team opened GPAC conference play on Sept. 17 with a 9-7 loss at #20 Concordia. NW fell to 0-1 in conference play, 0-3 overall.
In a defensive battle, senior defensive end Sam Van Ginkel led the Raider defense with five tackles and one sack. That sack allowed Van Ginkel to break the GPAC record for sacks in a career. Van Ginkel now has 29.5 sacks for his career, only needing one more sack to break the NW sack record of 30 set by Riley Kleinhesselink (’00).
“For Sam this is awesome because he’s had an outstanding career and this record points to productivity over a long period of time,” head coach Matt McCarty said. “Since he’s been a freshman, every team has game planned for him. To be that productive with that kind of attention takes a lot of talent.”
Concordia opened the game with possession and drove the ball down the field before NW defensive back Miguel Alvarado intercepted a Concordia pass and returned it 76 yards, stepping out of bounds at the 3 yard line. NW scored on the next play with a 3-yard J.C. Koerselman touchdown run, his third of the year, to make the score 7-0 in favor of NW.
Concordia answered the Red Raider touchdown by receiving the ensuing kickoff and marching 64 yards on 10 plays capped off with a one-yard touchdown run. NW blocked the extra point to make it a 7-6 score in favor of the Red Raiders.
Concordia then forced NW into a three-and-out. Concordia capped off a 42-yard drive with a 32-yard field goal to take the lead, 9-7.
NW’s offense controlled the second quarter, but was unable to convert on field goals of 32 and 37 yards on their two trips to the red zone. The defenses dominated the second half which featured eight punts and three turnovers between the two teams.
Senior Jonathan Kodama led the Raider passing attack, going 17-31 for 136 yards. Freshman Jacob Kalogonis, playing his first game for NW, led the Raider rushing attack with 15 carries for 44 yards. The Raider defense was led by Van Ginkel with five tackles and junior Jacob Jenness with four and a half tackles.
The Raiders take the field next when they host Briar Cliff at home this weekend (Sept. 24 at 7 p.m.). This will be a crucial match-up, with the Raiders looking to pick up a win early on in conference play.