It’s not very often that you get to celebrate after a loss. But Washburn’s overtime loss to Missouri Western State University, 21-28 Saturday, was quickly forgotten as the Bods learned Central Missouri State pounded Pittsburgh State 83-21, giving the Bods an outright claim to the MIAA championship.
“This is one of those games you just have to let go. I mean it feels real good. We got some breaks and now were undisputed conference champions. It truly feels good,” said senior wide receiver Cason Lehman.
Lehman, who was the most productive for the Bods on the receiving end, caught five balls for 94 yards, a feat that helped his fellow teammate, sophomore quarterback Jordan Bril, land his mark in Washburn history setting the single season passing yards record at 2,479 passing previous record holder Barry Griffith, who played on the Bods 1988 team.
Although Brill’s record was a great accomplishment, it was overshadowed on Saturday, as the Missouri Western Griffons made sure that would be the only gift he would receive, as the Griffons sacked Brill three times and forced three interceptions, including one in overtime that secured the Griffons victory. Brill even left the game briefly due to an injury.
“We had a lot of momentum at one point, and their kid made a great play. We threw a post route that might be six points, and it’s a little behind and their kid made a legitimate interception,” said Schurig.
The kid was Griffon junior, Greg Carbon, who wrestled the reception out of Bods senior wide receiver Mike Odupitan’s hands, to give the Griffons the ball back right after the blocked punt play by Bods’ sophomore Jake Lebahn, which set up the Bods at the Griffons 26 yard line.
This play was one of many momentum shifts to happen in the fourth quarter, a quarter that showed no love to either team. The Bods would go on to fumble it twice. The Griffons missed a 25-yard field goal attempt and gave up an interception to junior Bod, Fletcher Terrell. The pick set another school record for Terrell, for the most picks in one season, eight. Terrell also had three pass breakups setting the NCAA Division II record for most pass breakups in a career at 58.
But the fourth quarter was just the epitaph of the Bods’ overall performance, as the Bods racked up five turnovers and 10 penalties for 64 yards.
“I wasn’t happy about the game at all today. We just have to practice ball security and work on stupid penalties – that was a major issue today. Winning the MIAA championship really overshadows this loss,” said senior offensive lineman Jim Holland.
As it should. The Bods’ MIAA championship is the first since joining the league, and the first conference title since 1983 when the Bods won the CSIC championship.
“We win and got a share of it last week, and don’t play well. Today we played a better game for four quarters. We got beat in overtime and we are conference champions. It sure would have been fun to run on the field and do it. I don’t get any water splashed on me or anything,” said Schurig.