The Ichabods played in a game that was longer than usual thanks to two separate lighting delays. In the end, the two hours worth of delays did not hinder the Bods on their way to victory as they defeated Truman State 35-24.
Washburn got out to an early lead on their first drive when quarterback Mitch Buhler connected with tight end Ryan Mertz, followed by an extra point by place kicker Jeremy Linn. As the rain started to fall, so came the lightning and shortly after the first score, the first delay came.
In the second quarter, linebacker Willie Williams went down with a neck injury while making a tackle. On that same drive Truman was able to get in field goal range and cut the lead down 7-3.
“An offensive lineman put a nice hit right on the back of my neck,” said Williams. “It was like getting whiplash in a car and it knocked my helmet off. My neck was so weak, i couldn’t move.”
Williams had been fighting with a nagging injury to his neck already which he initially experienced during summer workouts. When the hit came, the seriousness of the situation was quickly realized.
Williams was able to work through the pain, knowing that his team needed him. He is does not only lead by his actions but he is also an emotional leader as well. He is always coming up with new and inventive ways to keep his teammates fresh.
“I like to keep the team motivated with something crazy every week like a different chant or hairstyle,” said Williams.
On the next defensive series, after the Ichabods offense went three and out, Williams willed himself onto the field. He had been preparing for this exact scenario all season long.
“I put the effort in the weight room and I push myself to the limit at practice,” said Williams. “When diversity hits in a game, I’m ready to go.”
Persistence paid off for Williams when during that series he intercepted a pass and ran it back for a touchdown.
“I saw nothing but open field and ran until I was in the back of the end zone,” said Williams.
On the next drive by Truman, they were able to punch in a 1-yard run for a touchdown. The score would remain 14-10 going into halftime.
During the halftime break, the second delay due to lighting came.
In the third quarter, it was apparent that running back Hayden Groves was beginning to establish his dominance ending his day with 162 rushing yards and a touchdown. Groves’ touchdown came early in the third quarter extending the Bods lead to 21-10.
After another score by the Ichabods on their next series to put them up 28-10, it seemed that Washburn was pulling away. Truman would not go away, however, and was able to fight back and answered with a touchdown of their own after a long drive.
With the lead 28-17, the victory was sealed when defensive back Devon Connors mirrored his fellow teammate Williams, intercepting a pass a returning it for a touchdown of his own.
Truman scored a touchdown late in the fourth quarter to finish out the game 35-24.
Linebacker Jaime Myers was very happy with his teammates performance not only during this game but overall for the season to this point.
“I think our team got closer with each other,” said Myers. “This was the first time during warm-up that every player was loud. Everyone fed off each others energy and it felt great.”
Washburn travels to St. Charles, Mo., on Saturday to face the Lindenwood Lions. The Bods moved up one rank in the national poll and are currently tied with Emporia State at No. 18.
The road to the playoffs is tricky and the Ichabods will need to play close to perfect in hopes that they can make it to post-season gameplay.
“We all understand what it is going to take,” said Myers.
Just what that was, he specifically stated, was “discipline,” Myers went on to further explain that discipline for them means “making key catches, stopping the run and no missed tackles. All the little details so we can put full games together the rest of the season.”