The Carthage College football team (1-1, 0-0 College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin) lost to Wartburg College (2-1), 27-10, on Saturday, Sept. 21 at Walston-Hoover Stadium in Waverly, Iowa.
On a crisp, cool, Iowa afternoon that felt more like mid-October than mid-September, Wartburg took a 6-0 lead at 5:27 first period when Brandon Domeyer ran the ball in from the 24-yard line, capping a six-play, 52-yard drive. A 15-yard keeper by quarterback A.J. Simoncelli at 14:20 second period got the Red Men on the scoreboard, and Brett Bukari's point-after gave Carthage a 7-6 lead. The 6:02 scoring drive went 82 yards on 15 plays.
The Knights went back up, 13-7, at 8:07 second period on a six-yard scoring carry at Domeyer that capped a 19-play, 74-yard drive. On the ensuing Carthage drive, back-back big plays put the Red Men on the Knights 10-yard line. A.J. Simoncelli ran for 41 yards and completed a 25-yard pass to Robert Anderson. However, and eight-yard sack of Simoncelli on third down led to a 35-yard field goal by Bukari that cut the lead to 13-10 at 4:43. Wartburg fumbled the Carthage kickoff. The Red Men took over on the Knights' 19-yard line were stopped by Wartburg on a fourth-and-goal at the one-yard line with one minute to play in the half, leaving the score at 13-10.
The game turned on that last drive of the half and two Carthage turnovers in the third period. Carthage was intercepted twice in the third quarter, the second of which led to a Wartburg score. Logan Pitz returned the second pick for 48 yards, and one play later, quarterback Logan Schrader completed a 37-yard touchdown pass to Taylor Jacobsmeier, and the Knights led, 20-10, at 8:39 third period. Wartburg opened the final period with a 30-yard TD pass from Jacobsmeier to Donald Miller at 14:25, and that closed out the scoring at 27-10.
The game was about even on the statistics sheet. Wartburg collected 343 total offensive yards, 147 rushing and 196 passing, while Carthage had 316 yards, 111 on the ground and 205 in the air. The Knights had 17 first downs and the Red Men 16, while Carthage had a narrow edge on the time-of-possession, 30:24 to 29:36.
Wartburg quarterback Logan Schrader completed 11-of-17 passes for 93 yards and ran for 54 yards on six carries, with Donald Miller catching seven passes for 71 yards. Brandon Domeyer rushed for 48 yards on 21 carries. For Carthage, A.J. Simoncelli (So. Downers Grove, Ill./South) completed 23-of-42 passes for 184 yards and ran for 72 yards on 14 carries. Jamahl Wright (So., Brookfield, Wis./Hartland-Arrowhead) led the Red Men receiving unit for the second-straight week with eight catches for 57 yards. Richard Motter (Fr., Dayton, Ohio/Butler), Terrance Allen (So., Woodridge, ll./Downers Grove-South) and Sean Cleveland (So., Wheaton, Ill./North) had eight tackles apiece for Carthage.
"We came here to battle," said Carthage coach Mike Yeager, "but we didn't take advantage of the opportunities when we had them. We had receivers open, we dropped some balls, and we missed some tackles. You play a good football team like Wartburg, and you're not going to come out on the winning end when you do that. Even though we didn't score at the end of the half, we were still in great shape at 13-10. We would have liked to run the ball a little bit better, but we did move the ball up and down the field. We need to put points on the board in those situations, and when we get a defensive break, we need to hold them to field goals, not touchdowns. Had we held them to two field goals in the second half, it's a completely different game. We're excited about playing at home this week. We'll go work on Monday and get this thing fixed. We're not going to let one game determine our season."
Carthage closes out its non-conference schedule on Saturday, Sept. 28 and plays its home-opener against Adrian College in a 1 p.m. game at Art Keller Field in Kenosha, Wis.