CRETE — Midland football coach Jeff Jamrog was a little grumpy at halftime. A 29-point second half, however, did wonders for his disposition Saturday at Papik Field.
The Warriors wiped out a six-point halftime deficit by scoring touchdowns on their first four possessions after intermission en route to a 35-22 Great Plains Athletic Conference win at Doane before an estimated crowd of 1,200.
“I was a little fired up at halftime,” Jamrog said after his Warriors improved to 7-2 overall and 5-2 in the conference with their third straight win. “I told them this is not the kind of football we envisioned in the first half. But I also said that I think we took their best punch, that we need to go out and play our kind of football and see what that looks like.
“To be up 20 points (35-15) with nine minutes left in the game was pretty rewarding,” Jamrog added. “I thought we played extremely well in all three phases.”
In his first start of the season, Midland quarterback Noah Oswald threw four touchdown passes in the second half, completing 17-of-30 attempts in the game for 236 yards.
Two of the scoring tosses went to Darrin Gentry for 36 and 5 yards. Gentry also caught an 11-yard TD pass from Garry Cannon from a wildcat formation in the opening period for the Warriors’ only first-half points.
The Warriors exploded for 339 of their 463 total yards after intermission.
Gentry, a junior from Stockton, California, finished with five catches for 82 yards, while Mike Seawell had seven receptions for 92 yards. Seawell, a senior from Valley Springs, California, also had 74 yards rushing on just two carries, ripping off a 59-yard jet sweep in the second half.
Midland lost its starting quarterback Payton Nelson for the season to a meniscus tear in the third quarter of last week’s win over Dakota Wesleyan. Nelson not only had thrown for 1,631 yards and 15 TDs through eight games, but he was also Midland’s leading rusher with 568 yards.
“It was definitely different taking reps with the No. 1s this week, but I came in prepared and we had a great game plan,” said Oswald, a 6-foot-2, 195-pound junior from Omaha Roncalli. “We just did our jobs, and mine is to get the ball to our playmakers. We have some talented wide receivers and running backs who can put a lot of pressure on a defense.”
Doane (4-4, 3-4) led 12-6 at halftime after a 6-yard TD pass from Jack Kalina to Joaquim Robinson on its first possession of the game, a safety later in the first period when Oswald fumbled the ball and Tiger defensive tackle Riley Homolka tackled him in the end zone, and a 19-yard field goal by Bryce Cooney on the last play of the half.
Cooney added a 40-yard field goal to give the Tigers their final lead at 15-13 with 7:54 left in the third quarter. Midland responded with 22 unanswered points before a 13-yard TD pass from Kalina to Travalle Calvin produced the final score with 6:14 left in the game.
Kalina was 29-of-48 for 262 yards.
“They did some things after halftime that I thought in the first half we had defended pretty well,” Doane coach Chris Bessler said. “They hit some power sweep plays out on the edges, we didn’t defend those correctly and they turned into big plays.
“Same thing in the passing game; in the third quarter we couldn’t get ourselves off the field because of some penalties in key situations,” Bessler added. “When you have trouble getting the defense off the field, that throws your offense out of rhythm.”
Defensively, Ashton Ellis tied a career high with 10 total tackles and two forced fumbles. Wyatt Tremayne notched seven tackles of his own while Tyler Koch recorded a career high three sacks for a loss of eight yards.
Midland faces Briar Cliff at 1 Saturday afternoon in Sioux City, Iowa.