Wartburg Football Passes Playoff Test; Advances To National Quarterfinals
It's on to the Elite Eight of the NCAA Division-III football playoffs for Wartburg.
The fifth-ranked Knights advanced to the national quarterfinals with a 21-10 come-from-behind victory over No. 13 St. John's (Minn.) at Walston-Hoover Stadium in Waverly this afternoon (Saturday, November 29, 2014).
With the victory, unbeaten Wartburg (12-0) set a school record for most wins in a single season and moves on to the elite eight of the playoffs for only the second time in program history. Facing a fourth-quarter deficit for the first time this season, the Knights rallied with a pair of touchdowns in the final 12 minutes of the game to secure the win.
Brandon Domeyer's (Manchester, Iowa / West Delaware) one-yard run with 11:54 remaining in the game capped a six-play, 61-yard drive that put Wartburg ahead 14-10. Six minutes later, quarterback Logan Schrader (Killdeer, Ill.) faked a hand-off to Domeyer and dashed 56-yards for the second score.
Both touchdowns came after St. John's (10-2) drove deep into Wartburg territory and appeared ready to take control of the game. The Johnnies, however, were forced to settle for a 25-yard field goal on a drive that likely could have given them a seven-point lead.
Facing a fourth-and-one at Wartburg's four-yard-line, St. John's was whistled for a false start penalty after initially opting to by-pass the field goal try. The Johnnies ultimately settled for a 10-7 lead with 14:10 remaining, but the penalty turned the game's momentum in the Knights' favor.
Domeyer's one-yard run came on Wartburg's next possession, putting the Knights' up 14-10.
The Johnnies put themselves in position to retake the lead on their next possession, but the drive ended with their second turnover of the game. Quarterback Nick Martin was stripped of the football while being sacked at Wartburg's 16-yard-line.
The fumble recovery led to Schrader's 56-yard run, which capped a seven-play, 84-yard drive for Wartburg. Schrader's touchdown gave the Knights' a two-possession lead (21-10) with 4:33 left.
Wartburg's defense kept the Johnnies off the scoreboard the rest of the way. Cole Hinders (Dysart, Iowa / Union), Miguel Lozan (Peoria, Ill.) and Zach Twedt (Atkins, Iowa / Benton) each recorded sacks in the final two minutes to help the Knights' secure a game that was scoreless at halftime.
The victory puts Wartburg in the national quarterfinals for the first time since 2008.
Next up for the Knights is top-ranked Wisconsin-Whitewater next weekend, likely on the road. The Warhawks advanced to the national quarterfinals with a second-round victory over No. 14 Wabash, 38-14.