Concordia Football: Cardinals open season with strong road victory

(Owensboro, KY) – Concordia football opened the 2019 season when they traveled to Kentucky Wesleyan on Saturday afternoon.  The Cardinals looked to claim their 3rd straight season-opening win over an NCAA Division II program.  After pulling ahead early, CUAA survived a late comeback effort from Kentucky Wesleyan to earn a 17-14 victory.

Keirell Jackson (SO/Westwego, LA) led the rushing attack with 93 yards on the ground.  Omar Sinclair (SO/Norcross, GA) added 53 rush yards and a touchdown, and Parker Graham (SO/Livonia, MI) served as a running quarterback scampering for 47 yards and a touchdown.  Roger Engle (SR/Lorain, Ohio) threw for 163 yards in the game.

Defensively, Alex Hinojosa (JR/Allen Park, MI) and Mark Wilson (JR/Highland Park, MI) tied for the team lead with 9 total tackles.  Ryan Fish (JR/Allen Park, MI) made a critical interception in the game.  Andrew Foerster (JR/Swartz Creek) and Amaan Payne (SR/Holt, MI) were tied with a team-best 2 sacks.

Concordia received the ball to begin the game.  After the Cardinals’ opening drive stalled at the Kentucky Wesleyan 47-yard line, freshman punter Kenneth Webb (FR/Scottsboro, AL) pinned the Panthers at their 5-yard line.  The CUAA defense forced a three-and-out on Kentucky Wesleyan’s first three possessions.

Concordia took a 3-0 lead after a 15-play, 70-yard drive.  A 41-yard reception from Omar Sinclair moved the Cardinals down the field, and Wyatt Mast (JR/Delton, MI) drilled a 22-yard field goal to put the team ahead.  CUAA special teams maintained the shutout by blocking a field goal just after the start of the 2nd quarter.

The Cardinal defense came up big again when Ryan Fish made an interception to stop a Kentucky Wesleyan drive.  Concordia extended their lead with a touchdown to make it 10-0 just before halftime.  Roger Engle escaped pressure and found Roderick Dailey (SR/Detroit, MI) on a 36-yard completion to the 4-yard line.  Parker Graham was able to punch in a 2-yard rushing touchdown with 5 seconds left and CUAA led 10-0 at halftime.

Kentucky Wesleyan pulled within 3 points with an interception returned for a touchdown.  The Cardinals responded with a 6-play, 65-yard scoring drive on their next possession.  A 27-yard rush from Parker Graham led to an 11-yard touchdown run by Omar Sinclair.

The Cardinal defense forced a three-and-out on the next series with Andrew Foerster coming up with a sack on 3rd down.  Both teams traded defensive stops and Concordia maintained a 17-7 lead after the 3rd quarter.

After Kentucky Wesleyan forced an interception, Hunter Maynard (JR/Plain City, OH) made a fumble recovery on the next series to give the ball back to the Cardinals.  However, the Panthers’ defense held strong and Kentucky Wesleyan scored on their next series to pull within 3 points.

The Concordia defense had to step up one more time in the final minutes to secure the win.  Kentucky Wesleyan drove to CUAA’s 22-yard line, but two deep passes to the endzone were defended well and fell incomplete.  After a sack on 3rd down by Amaan Payne, the Panthers attempted a game-tying 45-yard field goal which went wide left.  The Cardinals were able to kneel down to finish the game and claim the 17-14 win.

Concordia will remain on the road next week when they travel to (RV) Olivet Nazarene on Saturday, September 14.  Kickoff is scheduled for 2pm.