RIVER FOREST, ILL. – The scoreboard operator can always expect a busy day when the Concordia University Wisconsin and Concordia University Chicago football teams get together on the gridiron. This Saturday was no different as the Falcons picked up a Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference victory, 48-42, over the Cougars.
The two teams combined for 1,127 yards of total offense, 696 of those coming through the air. Junior Austin Damaschke (Bristol, Wis.) threw for 380 yards and a touchdown in the win, while adding 53 yards and two touchdowns on the ground. Sophomore LaCurt Evans (Bloomingdale) added 92 rushing yards and two touchdowns for the Falcons.
The Falcons built a 10-0 lead just 3:50 into play. Junior David Gonzalez (Pembroke Pines, Fla.) put CUW up 3-0 with 13:36 to play in the first quarter, which was followed by a 47-yard touchdown pass from Damaschke to junior wide receiver Garrett Wenzelburger (Hartland, Wis.). Wenzelburger put up his usual monster numbers as he caught 11 passes for 129 yards.
The Cougars cut the CUW lead to 10-7 on a one-yard touchdown run, but Damaschke and the offense answered with an eight-play, 49-yard drive capped off by a Damaschke five-yard touchdown run, giving the Falcons a 17-7 edge after one quarter of play.
The Falcon lead reached 27-14 by the end of the first half. CUC scored first in the second quarter on a 48-yard pass from Ryan Fischbach to Elijah Walker. Walker caught seven passes for 105 yards and two touchdowns on the day, while Fischbach threw four touchdowns and had 316 yards through the air.
Evans scored his first touchdown midway through the second quarter, putting the Falcons advantage at 10 points, while Gonzalez added a second-quarter field goal from 37 yards out making the halftime score 27-14.
The second half scoring started with Walker's second touchdown of the afternoon, this time coming from eight yards out and cutting the CUW lead to 27-21. The Falcons had a quick answer, however, as Damaschke scored from eight yards out just 1:09 later, pushing the advantage to 34-21.
CUW then made the lead a game-high 20 points with 2:16 remaining in the third quarter as Evans rushed one in from three yards out. That would be all the scoring until the fourth quarter as the Falcons took a 41-21 edge into the final 15 minutes of play.
The fourth quarter would see three CUC touchdowns as the Cougars did not go away easily. CUC scored with 10:15 remaining to cut the lead to 41-28 but the Falcons went back up 20 points when junior defensive back Brett Waldorf (Hartford, Wis.) intercepted a pass and returned it seven yards for a score. CUC would score twice in the final 5:05 of play, but the Falcons held on for the 48-42 victory.
The Falcons had four players finish with 63 or more receiving yards, led by Wenzelburger's 192. Senior Cody Johnson (Brookfield, Wis.) hauled in three passes for 99 yards, while senior James Saunders (Riverview, Fla.) and Evans added 64 and 63 receiving yards, respectively. Michael Brown added seven catches for 104 yards for CUC.
A big reason for the Falcons offensive success was their ability to gain good starting field position on kickoff returns. CUW averaged 31.2 yards per return on six returns as senior Joe Paul (West Bend, Wis.) and freshman Tyler White (Milwaukee, Wis.) each returned one 48 yards.
Sophomore Luke Scheuerlein (Thiensville, Wis.) led all players with 15 tackles, while adding half a sack. The Falcons finished with five sacks on the day, led by senior Taylor Witty (Milwaukee, Wis.) who recorded two.
CUW improved to 2-0 in conference play with the win and sit tied atop the league standings with Lakeland College. The Falcons and Muskies will break that tie atop the standings next Saturday at Tomasini Stadium with kickoff scheduled for 1 p.m. Live audio, stats and video will be available courtesy of CUWFalcons.com.