Football suffers first loss at home

Yager Stadium was alive once again for the opening football game at home last Thursday. Earlier in the day, there was plenty of rain to keep tailgaters from coming, but the rain soon cleared off for fans to enjoy the pregame festivities. Multiple school organizations and alumni held their traditional tailgates and the stands were filled with fans rooting for the Ichabods. 

 The football team took on the Northwest Missouri State Bearcats. The Ichabods started off strong, going into halftime with a 14-14 tie. After halftime, the Ichabods scored a field goal, but the rest of the game did not yield much for them. The Bearcats would go on to score 24 unanswered points to defeat the Ichabods 38-17. 

The Bearcats received the ball to start the game off and took the ball all the way down to the Washburn 21-yard line. Then, Corey Ballentine forced a Bearcat fumble and Malick Fall recovered the ball. The Ichabods would not get much rolling on their ensuing drive.

 The Bearcats then took the ball down to the 15 yard-line. On the fourth down, the Bearcats decided to run the ball and Isaiah Strayhorn took the ball all 15 yards for a touchdown. After a successful extra point attempt, the Bearcats were up 7-0.

Washburn’s offensive line hit the ground running. The Ichabods would then drive the ball 50 yards before quarterback Blake Peterson found wide receiver James Letcher, Jr. for a 24-yard touchdown pass. The Ichabods would tie the game 7-7 following an extra point by Perry Schmiedeler. 

On the next defensive drive, the Ichabods forced the Bearcats to punt. The Bearcat punter, Matt Thorman, wound up shanking the punt to help setup the Ichabods with great field position at the Bearcat 44-yard line. Washburn and Northwest would trade punts on the next two drives.

With 13:04 left in the first half, the Ichabods got their offense rolling again. On the opening set of downs, the Ichabods faced a short third down. Peterson dropped back and fired the ball 35 yards to a diving James Letcher, Jr. The completed pass made its way onto SportsCenter’s Top-10 plays.

After a couple of plays, Peterson hit James Brania-Hopp for a 39-yard touchdown pass. Schmiedeler’s extra point attempt was successful and the Ichabods gained a 14-7 lead.  

After the ensuing kickoff, the Bearcats took the ball over from the Northwest 38-yard line. They would promptly take the ball down the field in 9 plays- spanning 62 yards- that developed into a Bearcat touchdown. 

The final seven minutes of the half saw both the Ichabods and the Bearcats trade possessions without either of them scoring.

At the beginning of the third quarter, Peterson passed to James Brania-Hopp for a huge 43-yard gain. Washburn would have to settle for a field goal after three straight plays with little-to-no gain. 

The Bearcats then carried the ball 77 yards in 11 plays to regain a lead of 21-17. From there on, the Ichabods would fail to gain any momentum.

The next Ichabod drive would stall out in two running plays that accumulated a total of three yards and an incomplete pass. The Bearcats would take the call over at their own 26 yard-line. They drove the ball down and tacked on to their lead with a field goal. At the end of the third quarter, Northwest Missouri State led 24-17.

The Bearcats scored a touchdown on their first drive of the fourth quarter, making the score 31-17. 

Washburn would take over and put together their best drive of the quarter. They took the ball all the way down to the Northwest 10-yard line. Failing to gain a first down on third-and-2, the Ichabods went for it in fourth down. The drive was ultimately unsuccessful after Hunter Browning was stopped in the backfield for a loss of 4 yards.

 he Bearcats would score again on the next drive, making the score 38-17. The Ichabods let the time run out on their last possession of the game, losing to the Bearcats 38-17. 

This loss was the first of the season for the Ichabods and set their record at 1-1.

“It’s one game, we’ll get past it. We’ll be back next week,” Letcher said. 

Passing was the only thing that went well for the Ichabods, as Peterson threw for a total 275 yards. Seventeen of 33 attempts were completed. Two touchdowns resulted from passing, and one ensued after an interception. Peterson’s favorite receivers were Letcher, Jr. and Brania-Hopp. Brania-Hopp had three receptions for a total of 94 yards and one touchdown. Letcher had five receptions for a total of 85 yards. 

The Ichabods will take on the Fort Hays State Tigers at 7 p.m. this Saturday. The Ichabods will be looking to avenge last year’s 37-20 loss at the hand of the Tigers.