Briar Cliff ran for a school record 338 yards but couldn’t punch it in on a 4th and goal at the 1 yard line in overtime as Dordt escaped with the 36-30 victory Saturday in Sioux Center, Iowa.
Two Charger running backs surpassed career milestones in the contest as Noah Ylagan blew by 3,000 career rushing yards with a 199-yard performance and Kwame Johnson eclipsed 1,000 yards in his BC career with 59 yards in the game. Ylagan, the career rushing leader for the Cliff, now sits at 3,118 yards while Johnson is up to 1,003 in his tenure with the Blue and Gold.
Dordt initiated the scoring with a 24-yard pass from Brock Lamle to Jake Dodge, but Briar Cliff responded to 16 unanswered points and seemed to control things in the first half. Johnson took a run for 28 yards for the first BC score and Ylagan scored from one yard out to start the second quarter to give the Chargers their first lead. Ylagan missed the extra point attempt, but connected on a 27-yard field goal on the team’s next drive to open the game up at 16-7.
Brett Gaines would put a 30-yard field goal attempt through the uprights with 5:49 left in the first half to narrow the Briar Cliff lead to 16-10, but the Chargers came right back with a 67-yard score on a pass from Jacob Diaz to Elijah Brown to stretch the lead to 23-10. The touchdown reception was Brown’s 10th this season, tying a Briar Cliff single-season record.
Needing to turn momentum, the Defenders were able to put together a seven play drive that spanned 68 yards for a touchdown when Lamle found Keithen Drury for 31 yards with 1:46 to play in the second quarter. The Chargers hoped to put up points of their own in response, but an interception allowed Dordt’s offense to position the Defenders for a last second field goal from 36 yards out that Gaines hit to send the teams to the locker rooms with Briar Cliff leading just 23-20.
“We had too many penalties and critical mistakes,” said BC head coach Dennis Wagner. “Our players played hard. Our inability to kick field goals and extra points really hurt us.”
Dordt outscored Briar Cliff 10-0 in the third quarter thanks to a five yard touchdown pass from Lamle to Dodge and a 20-yard field goal from Gaines to make it 20 straight points for the Defenders and a 30-23 lead heading into the fourth quarter. BC did end the quarter driving the ball deep into Dordt territory and capped the drive off early in the fourth with Ylagan’s second touchdown from one yard out. Ylagan booted the ball through the uprights to even up the score at 30 points each.
Briar Cliff would move the ball beyond midfield in two of the final three drives of regulation, but never close enough to try a field goal to take the lead and the teams needed extra football to decide a winner.
The Chargers got the ball first in overtime and things started well with a 15-yard run from Ylagan to set up a first and goal. Ylagan got another carry right after and got the ball four yards from the end zone. A third down run by quarterback Jacob Diaz put the Chargers at the one yard line, but Ylagan was unable to get his third TD from one yard away as he was stopped at the line of scrimmage by Dordt’s Connor Bosma and Nic Byl to put the Defenders in a position to win with any score on their first possession of overtime.
Dordt capitalized on its chance with four runs by Drury to put Dordt at the eight yard line and Levi Jungling ended the game with a touchdown on a sweep.
Briar Cliff out rushed Dordt in the game 338-260, but Dordt had the edge in total yards by a narrow 519-506 mark. Dordt did have two players rush for more than 100 yards with Drury tallying 123 yards on the ground and Levi Schoonhoven finishing with 103. Lamle finished 17-of-27 passing for 259 yards and three touchdowns. The Defender QB was picked off once. Diaz completed 10-of-24 passes for 168 yards and a TD with two interceptions.
Jungling led all receivers in catches and yards with nine receptions for 155 yards. Brown was the top pass catcher for the Cliff with four hauled in for 97 yards and a score.
Caleb Wilson was the top tackler in the game with 15, including two for loss. Reece Alvaradohad 10 tackles for the Blue and Gold. Dordt had three defensive players reach the 10 tackle mark with Bryan O’Neil and Bosma recording 11 and Casey Byker finishing right at 10.
The win gave Dordt its sixth win, the most ever in a season for the Defenders. Dordt improved to 6-2 overall and 5-2 in the GPAC.
Briar Cliff is still looing to hit six wins for the first time in school history and will have to try again next week. The Chargers dropped to 5-4 with a 3-4 league record. The Blue and Gold host (RV) Midland on senior day next Saturday.
“We have to regroup and stay undefeated at home,” said coach Wagner. The Chargers have won four contests this season at Memorial Field.