Mike Byker, Sports Information Director
SIOUX CENTER – The Morningside Mustangs fought off a valiant comeback attempt by the Dordt Defenders in GPAC play on Saturday afternoon in Sioux Center. The Mustangs led by as many as 18 before getting two defensive stops inside their own 20 late in the fourth quarter to secure the five point win.
Morningside (6-0) got a stop on the first Dordt possession of the game to set the tone for what was a defensive struggle in the first half. After Dordt turned it over on downs at the Morningside 20 on the initial drive neither team was able to sustain a drive.
Morningside got on the board with the first of two big plays in the first half when Joe Dolinchek found Reid Jurgensmeier for a 70 yard score with 5:46 left in the first quarter.
Dordt (5-2) got on the board with a field goal early in the second quarter on a drive set up by a David Kacmarynski interception. Zachman knocked the 25 yarder through to cut the gap to 7-3 but Morningside answered on the next drive with AP Ponder breaking off a 49 yard run to the Dordt one and Anthony Sims eventually got the score on second and goal.
Dordt had an answer to make it 14-10 when Noah Clayberg found Hayden Large for an 18 yard scoring pass and that’s how the teams went to the break.
Morningside scored on drives of 41 and 52 yards to extend the lead to 28-10 with 8:20 left in the third quarter.
Dordt got back in the game with a 75 yard drive on the next series and Noah Clayberg ran 59 yards for the score on the sixth play of the drive for a 28-17 deficit. Dordt’s Nathan Kabongo picked off a Dolincheck pass on the first play from scrimmage on the ensuing drive and Clayberg finished the drive with a 13 yard run to get Dordt within 28-23 wit 4:54 remaining in the quarter.
Morningside capped the wild third quarter with a 76 yard drive and led 35-23 entering the fourth quarter.
Dordt had its chances in the fourth quarter. Clayberg scored on a two yard plunge to end a 75 yard drive with 13:39 left in the quarter got Dordt within 35-30.
Dordt had two more chances with the first drive ending at the Morningside 14 on downs. Dordt’s defense then forced a Morningside punt and Dordt took over at its own 44 with 5:18 left in the game. Dordt converted two third down tries and another fourth down attempt in working the ball to the Morningside 5. With just over a minute to go Clayberg was pressured and Tyler Wingert picked off the errant pass and ended the Dordt upset bid.
The Defenders ran for 274 yards and passed for 210, while Morningside had 216 yards rushing and 219 passing.
Noah Clayberg ran for 182 yards on 33 attempts and was 20-36 passing for 210 yards.
Jayden Huisman caught eight passes for 86 yards and Ben Heuvelhorst had six catches for 58 yards.
Carter Schiebout ran 17 times for 53 yards.
Morningside’s AP Ponder ran 28 times for 165 yards and Joe Dolincheck was 11-21 passing for 219 yards and two touchdowns.
Dordt’s Josh Mrazekhad five solo and four assisted tackles with three tackles for loss and Nathan Kabongo and David Kacmarynski had one interception each.
Dordt is idle until November 14 when the Defenders host Hastings in the home finale.