This weekend, the Trojans traveled to Sioux City to take on the Chargers of Briar Cliff University. Dakota State got their only win against the Chargers last year in Madison. The Trojans found their running game they had been lacking all year. The Trojans hung in there and pulled out their first win of the year with a score of 35-28. This moved the Trojans to 1-6 on the season.
‘’I have been saying it from day one, to win football games you have to run the ball and stop the run,” said Head Coach Josh Anderson
In the first quarter, the Chargers got on the board first with 7:48 left in the first quarter. Brandon Large and company answered right back and scored on a 11 play 87-yard drive capped off with a 12-yard touchdown catch by Stacey Berg. Briar Cliff went deep on the second play of the drive and scored on a 78-yard touchdown pass to go up 14-7. The offense went into their two-minute offense and drove down and scored on a six-yard touchdown pass from Large to his cousin Carl Curtis. The Trojans and the Chargers were deadlocked at 14.
The offense got the ball first in the second half and went right down and scored. Kris Dearie scored on a nine-yard touchdown run to give the Trojans a one-touchdown lead. Briar Cliff then went on a 14-0 run to put them up one touchdown on some mistakes by the offense when they had the ball in scoring position. The Trojans finally got back in rhythm and went down into Charger territory and tied it up with a one yard run by John Niesen. The game was tied up at 28 and the defense got a big stop to force the Chargers to punt. The punt was kicked out of bounds, giving the ball to the Trojan offense at the Briar Cliff 32–yard line.
Brandon Large gave the ball to John Niesen on a one-yard dive and he was stood up and the ball was stripped and flung into the air right to where Stacey Berg was standing. Berg caught it and scored to grab the lead 35-28. There were two minutes left in the game and the Chargers had three timeouts left. They got to Dakota State territory and had some bad penalties that backed them up. The Trojans got some much needed sacks to keep the clock running and to seal the victory for the Trojans.
“It was a sloppy game, by both sides, with the penalties. But we stuck together and made plays when they counted. We also ran the ball very well today, which made it easier for me to sit in the pocket and hit our open guys” said quarterback Brandon Large.
Large was 27-40 with 317 yards and two touchdowns. He completed passes to eight different players making it harder for the defense to key on one player. Tight end Bobby Tisch had eight catches for 86 yards. Berg and Curtis both added 4 catches and a touchdown respectively. Zach Ely had three catches for 58 yards. John Niesen led the running attack with 36 carries for 169 yards and one touchdown.
“I really have to tip my hat to the line, they played outstanding today. They opened up a lot of holes for the running game”, said senior running back John Niesen
Eric Liles, Chad John and Aaron Gronwald lead the team with four solo tackles. Freshmen safeties Preston Powell and Ben Kullos both added three solo tackles. Craig Hertz had a interception late in the third to help the Trojans to victory.
“The offense helped us out a lot putting together long drives and keeping us fresh and it really paid off for us in the fourth quarter,” said senior defensive end Blake Schlagel
“It felt really good to get my first win at the college level, but we need to build on this game and come out hungry for another win next week,” said freshman Preston Powell
The Trojans faced some tough opponents earlier this year. But these last three games were some very winnable games. Next Saturday they travel to Sioux Center to take on Dordt College. Kickoff is set for 1 P.M.
Photos provided by DSU Athletics