Game two turned out to be a defensive brawl as both teams were forced to punt twelve times, which led to Raider punter Levi Ettleman breaking the school record for most punts in a game.
“Any time you hold an opponent to 10 points it’s a great game,” said senior captain Tyler Janota. “This past week against Doane we were able put together a solid four quarters of football defensively.”
The Raiders were the first to put points on the board near the end of the first quarter when sophomore kicker Julian Dittman drilled a 34-yard field goal to give NW a 3-0 lead heading into the second quarter.
After a three-and-out by the Tigers to start the second quarter, the Raiders marched down the field 83 yards and reached the end zone on an 11-yard pass from sophomore quarterback Craig Bruinsma to senior receiver Ben Green. Along with making his first career start Saturday, Bruinsma’s toss marked the first passing touchdown of the quarterback’s career.
Doane avoided a first half shutout when Tiger kicker Cody Samek connected on a 23-yard field goal just before the half, making the score 10-3.
The third quarter was silent offensively as both defenses battled back and forth. Two big offensive stops by the Raiders kept the home team ahead. The first came from senior linebacker Brett Coston, who made a crucial stop by sacking Doane’s quarterback on a fourth down. The other came from junior defensive back Justin Wohlert, who picked off a pass in the end zone to give NW another possession.
With 3:36 left in the game, the Tigers punched in a run from the 2-yard-line to tie the game at 10-10.
Both teams forced each other to punt on their next possessions following the Doane score before the Tigers put themselves in a potential game-winning position on the 40-yard line. The visiting kicker was ready to attempt the 57-yard field goal, but was denied the chance as senior defensive back Jermaine Ambrose came off the edge to block the kick and send the game into overtime.
The Raiders dominated the extra minutes, starting with a score after just three plays of the first possession. Bruinsma connected with tight end Ettleman for an 18-yard pass on second down to give NW a first and goal. Junior running back Jessie Riley put the home team back on top the next play on a 7-yard touchdown carry.
Doane’s final hopes of hanging on were crushed on the first play of their drive when Wohlert snatched his second pick of the game, which finalized the win for the Raiders.
“Offensively we took care of the football a lot better this week,” said Janota. “We had a problem turning the ball over the first week against Bacone and we were able to improve on that part of the game against Doane.”