MILWAUKEE – Senior wide receiver Josh Stodola (Denmark, Wis./Denmark) hauled in a school-record 12 receptions to help lead the Wisconsin Lutheran College football team past Olivet 38-14 Saturday in the home opener at Raabe Stadium. The win gave the Warriors their second 2-0 start in program history and their first since the 2002 season.
Stodola and the offense didn't get things rolling until the second quarter as neither team tallied any points over the first 15 minutes. WLC struck first with 12:46 remaining in the second when Josh Ruppel (Cedar Grove, Wis./Cedar Grove-Belgium) finished off a six-play, 43-yard scoring drive with a 22-yard field goal for a 3-0 Warriors lead.
Olivet wouldn't let the lead last long, however, as the Comets needed just two plays to take the lead when Tony Phillips hit Dominik Givens for a 62-yard touchdown pass putting OC up 7-3 with 12:06 remaining in the first half.
The Comets' only lead of the football game lasted just 15 seconds thanks to the blazing speed of Donavin Tucker (Brookfield, Wis./East). Tucker took the ensuing kickoff 91 yards to the house and put Wisconsin Lutheran on top 10-7 with 11:51 left in the first half.
The Warriors struck again with 8:13 remaining in the opening half when Stodola hauled in a 21-yard pass from quarterback Zach Shaw (Gurne, Ill./Warren Township) for a 17-7 WLC advantage. The 10-point lead would hold until halftime.
In the third quarter, WLC used excellent field position to score its first touchdown as the Warriors needed just two plays and 25 yards on their first second-half scoring drive to jump out to a 24-7 advantage. Shaw found Stodola on a 24-yard pass completion that set up a one-yard quarterback sneak from Shaw for a 17-point margin. The Shaw touchdown was the only third quarter score.
In the fourth quarter, Mike Reeves (Hoffman Estates, Ill./Hoffman Estates) and Taylor Pelot (Fond du Lac, Wis./Campbellsport) added rushing touchdowns for a 38-7 Wisconsin Lutheran lead. Olivet added a touchdown with just over a minute to play for the final score of 38-14.
Stodola had a monster day for WLC as his school-record 12 catches went for 203 yards and a score. The previous record was 11 receptions held by both Eric Treske and Paul Nelson. Shaw finished the contest completing 22-of-39 passes for 318 yards and a touchdown. The 318 yards was the third most in school history and the first time Shaw eclipsed 300 yards in a game for his career.
Tucker had a successful day on the ground for WLC as he rushed 17 times for 89 yards. Reeves and Pelot added 44 and 32 yards, respectively. Wisconsin Lutheran ran for 172 yards, out-gaining the Comets 493-219 in total offensive yards.
Phillips threw for 113 yards and a touchdown to lead Olivet, while Givens tallied two catches including the 62-yard score.
Defensively for the Warriors, Jason Kramer (Oconomowoc, Wis./Wisconsin Lutheran) and Sam Dunham (Winneconne, Wis./Winneconne) led the team with six tackles apiece, while Kramer added an interception. Aaron Allister (Lake Mills, Wis./Lakeside Lutheran) also picked off a pass in the end zone. Eric Zeitler (Waukesha, Wis./Wisconsin Lutheran) added five tackles, 2.5 for a loss, and a sack, while Josh Gordon (Bradenton, Fla./Southeast) and Zach Brandt (Menomonee Falls, Wis./Kettle Moraine Lutheran) also had quarterback sacks.
The Comets (0-2) were led defensively by Matthew Zajac as the linebacker recorded a game-high 14 tackles and broke up one pass.
Wisconsin Lutheran (2-0) returns to Raabe Stadium next weekend when it hosts Adrian (1-1) as part of the MIAA/NAC Challenge. The non-conference kickoff between the Warriors and Bulldogs is set for 1 p.m.