Wartburg knocks down Central; Slager sets tackle mark

More news about: Eureka | Grinnell | Kalamazoo | Misericordia | Wartburg
JoJo McNair carries a Central tackler. (Wartburg photo by Julie Drewes)
JoJo McNair scored on a 56-yard touchdown run, a 13-yard touchdown pass and a 9-yard touchdown pass in Wartburg's win.
Wartburg athletics photo by Julie Drewes

Wartburg brought an end to Central's unbeaten run and threw the ARC title chase into a four-way tie, while Misericordia scored twice in the final 61 seconds to win and Grinnell's Ryan Slager set the record for most career tackles in Division III history in Saturday's Division III football action. Meanwhile, Eureka and Kalamazoo continued their undefeated ways.

Ryan Slager gets congratulated by teammates after setting the Division III career record for tackles. (Grinnell photo by Justin Hayworth)
Ryan Slager gets congratulated by teammates after setting the Division III career record for tackles.
Grinnell photo by Justin Hayworth

Tackles record: A history

2000: NCAA officially recognizes tackles as a stat and defines how they should be tracked.
2003: Capital's Ron Swearingin sets career mark with 499 total tackles (282 solo).
2005: Kenyon's Casey McConnell come back after missing the 2004 season and sets the record at 531 (294 solo).
2011: Luther's Kyle McGivney finishes his career with a record 545 total tackles (255 solo).
2018: Grinnell's Ryan Slager passes McGivney and has 561 career tackles (248 solo) through Oct. 20.

The Knights, who went to the national quarterfinals in 2018, rolled out to a 47-6 lead against previously unbeaten Central, which was ranked No. 20 in the coaches poll, and cruised to a 47-20 win. Matt Sacia tied the school record with five touchdown passes, two of them to sophomore JoJo McNair, while Sacia found three additional receivers and McNair ran for a 56-yard TD as well. Central quarterback Blaine Hawkins was knocked out of the game in the first half, having completed just five of 12 passes, and freshman third-stringer Brayden Egli finished the game 11-for-21 with two TDs.

The win leaves four teams at the top of the American Rivers Conference with one loss apiece heading into the final three weeks of the season. "For us to have a chance to be in the race, we had to win today, and we got that done. It makes the next three weeks really big for us," said Wartburg coach Rick Willis.

Simpson defeated Loras 38-33 to remain in the first-place tie, while Dubuque did so as well, rolling past Buena Vista 38-7.

Misericordia did it once again, rallying from a double-digit deficit in the fourth quarter, defeating FDU-Florham 37-33. Brian Williams threw three touchdown passes in fourth quarter, two of them in the final 61 seconds of the game, to lead the Cougars back from a 33-21 deficit. Williams completed 24 of 42 passes for 277 yards and four touchdowns, while running for a TD as well.

Ryan Slager racked up 18 tackles, nine of them solo stops, in Grinnell's 24-0 loss to Lake Forest, becoming the Division III career leader in tackles in the process. He needed just three on Saturday to surpass the previous mark, set by Luther linebacker Kyle McGivney in 2011. The record stop came on a 3-yard run midway through the first quarter.

LeAnthony Reasnover was the workhorse once again for Eureka, as he paced the Red Devils with 282 yards and five touchdowns on 29 carries in a 50-20 win vs. Benedictine, keeping Eureka undefeated at 7-0. Eureka ran for 420 yards and held the ball for 37:35 in the win. After a 70-minute delay because of lightning before the game started, Kalamazoo continued its unbeaten run on the season as well, defeating Alma 17-10. Kalamazoo improved to 7-0, with Alma falling to 1-6. Kalamazoo finished with 234 yards of total offense while holding Alma to 230. The Scots scored a touchdown with 1:23 left, but the onside kick was recovered by Kalamazoo and the Hornets ran out the clock to secure the win, clinching their best start since 1962.

The Old Dominion Athletic Conference had four great finishes on Saturday. Sophomore Rhett Andersen's career-long 46-yard field goal as time expired lifted Hampden-Sydney to a 38-35 win over visiting Guilford. The winning kick capped a nine-play, 64-yard scoring drive that started on the Tigers' 7. A 17-yard completion on third down from Alec Cobb to Major Morgan down to the Quakers' 29 with 14 seconds left in regulation kept the drive alive. Hampden-Sydney spiked the ball to stop the clock and set up Andersen's winning kick. Hayden Bauserman was credited with a 20-yard touchdown pass to Justin Ayres with eight second left in a crazy game against Emory & Henry, but the two-point conversion failed and Shenandoah lost 52-50. Hunter Taylor threw six TDs for the Wasps in the win. And after giving up a 17-0 lead, Randolph-Macon scored with 3:59 left to tie and went on to defeat Bridgewater 44-41 in double overtime. Tre Frederick ripped off his third TD of the day, the second of 60 yards or more, to tie the game at 41-41 and Burke Estes found tight end Robby Owens open for the TD in overtime as the Yellow Jackets remained unbeaten in ODAC play. Frederick had 31 carries for 238 yards in the win. And in the late game, Ferrum scored to tie the game at 35-35 with 4:52 left, but Washington & Lee's Jarrett Wright connected on a 31-yard field goal as time expired to win 38-35.

Merchant Marine posted another fourth-quarter rally as quarterback Krystian Abbott's rushing touchdown with 38 seconds remaining and Gavin Gartner's extra point helped cap a furious Merchant Marine comeback. The host Mariners (6-1, 4-1 NEWMAC) recovered from a 24-0 halftime deficit to defeat WPI 25-24 and remain in contention for a playoff bid. Abbott ran for 127 yards on 33 carries on the day.

Franklin rolled up a school-record 789 yards of total offense and cruised past Earlham 64-20. It was also the 51st consecutive loss for Earlham, putting the Quakers in sole possession of the longest losing streak in Division III football history. Earlham put up 384 yards as well, a season high.

Averett remained unbeaten in the USA South, picking off three passes in a 45-17 win vs. Huntingdon. Huntingdon got within a touchdown on its first possession of the third quarter, but Averett scored the next four touchdowns to put the game away, including one on a 36-yard scoop and score by Joseph Ledbetter. Maryville is unbeaten in the conference as well after a 37-17 win vs. LaGrange.

UW-Eau Claire snapped a 13-game losing streak to WIAC opponents, and did so in a big way, rolling over UW-Platteville 40-16. With a defensive extra point return, UW-Platteville cut Eau Claire's lead to 13-9 shortly before halftime, but the Blugolds scred three consecutive TDs in the second half to quickly put the game out of reach. Eau Claire put up the 40 points with just 248 yards of total offense, scoring with an interception return and a punt return.

Baldwin Wallace led 21-6 and 35-20 but had to hold on at the end and run out the clock on a 35-33 win vs. Wilmington. Kyle Barrett hit Luke Richardson on a 41-yard pass to cut the lead to 35-26 with 4:55 left but the Quakers (1-6, 1-5) failed to convert on a two-point attempt. Barrett then hit Ace Taylor 92 seconds later to cut the lead to 35-33 but the onside kick went out of bounds and BW converted two first downs to run out the clock.

Castleton scored 28 points in the second quarter to go into the half only down by seven, but the SUNY-Maritime offense would not be stopped as the Privateers rolled to a 68-41 win in Vermont. Thomas Wright threw for three touchdowns and ran for one more in the victory. Four Castleton quarterbacks combined to go 9-for-21.

Kyle McKinnon scored four touchdowns including the game-winning 1-yard run and two-point conversion as Western Connecticut came from behind to defeat Bridgewater State 50-48 in four overtimes. McKinnon scored the game's first touchdown, also a 1-yard run, and sandwiched a pair of 8-yard TD rushes on a night when the Colonials came back from a 14-point deficit in the fourth quarter and improved to 7-0 on the season. He finished with 72 yards on 20 carries and accounted for eight total points with a pair of two-point conversions in extra time.

Dec. 14: All times Eastern
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at Mount Union 28, Johns Hopkins 20
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