Braxton Williams spoiled Midland University’s upset bid Saturday at Heedum Field.
The junior kicker connected on a 22-yard field goal with :05 left to lift 11th-ranked Northwestern to a 26-25 win over the Warriors.
Northwestern quarterback Tyson Kooima connected with Shane Solberg on a 23-yard touchdown to cut Midland’s lead to 25-23 with 5:08 remaining in the game. A two-point conversion try failed.
The Red Raiders forced a three-and-out by MU and — following a punt — Northwestern got the ball back at the Red Raiders’ 20 with 2:56 remaining
Kooima connected with Michael Storey on a 40-yard pass play to the MU 40. Midland linebacker Trevor Havlovic then sacked Kooima for a 12-yard loss, but the quarterback responded with a 22-yard pass to Josh Fakkema. A personal foul penalty on MU moved the ball to the Warriors’ 15.
Five plays later, Williams connected on the game-winning kick.
The field goal was the only time the Red Raiders led in the game as the Warriors broke to a 15-0 lead.
“They have a heck of a team so give them credit,” Midland coach Jeff Jamrog said. “At the end of the day, they made more plays than we did.”
Adrian Kellogg’s 8-yard touchdown run capped a six-play, 65-yard scoring march by MU on the opening series. The key play on the drive was quarterback Noah Oswald’s 40-yard completion to Austan Daniels.
After Kellogg’s TD, a direct snap to Wahoo native Theo Blum resulted in a successful two-point try and put the Warriors up 8-0.
The Warriors made it 15-0 later in the opening period when sophomore Austin Harris hauled in a 2-yard TD pass from Oswald and Camdon Griffiths made the conversion kick.
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“I was hoping (Blum’s conversion) was going to be the difference in the game,” Jamrog said. “It’s a good thing when you can go up by 15 because then they have to score three times.”
Jacob Kalogoonis’ 2-yard TD run and Solberg’s 10-yard scoring reception helped the Red Raiders close to 15-14 at halftime.
Midland’s defense forced a three-and-out on the Raiders’ first offensive series. The Warriors then drove 75 yards in 13 plays. Kellogg scored on a 1-yard run on fourth-and-goal. Griffiths’ kick made it 22-14 with 9:10 left in the third quarter.
The Red Raiders had a chance to get closer, but Kooima fumbled on fourth-and-goal at the MU 1 and was stuffed by Jett Hampton and Ashton Ellis for a 2-yard loss.
Tanner Machacek intercepted an Oswald pass minutes later to set up a 24-yard field goal by Williams to make it 22-17, but the Warriors responded.
Oswald and Daniels connected on a 42-yard pass play that helped set up Griffiths’ 21-yard field goal with 7:02 remaining.
Kooima was 23-for-38 passing for 377 yards and two scores. Solberg hauled in 10 passes for 145 yards, including both of the passing touchdowns.
“We had our chances, but we gave up some big pass plays,” Jamrog said. “We played hard and our effort was there, but again they just made one or two more plays than us.”
Oswald was 11 of 26 for 196 yards. He had one TD pass, but was picked off three times. Kellogg ran 30 times for 81 yards while Keenan Smith, bothered by a sore ankle, had 11 attempts for 47 yards.
Cornerback Ray Rush and linebacker Hampton led the Warriors with seven tackles each, while Havlovic added two sacks.
The Warriors, 1-1 and 0-1 in the Great Plains Athletic Conference, will face top-ranked Morningside, 2-0 and 1-0 in the GPAC, at 1:30 Saturday afternoon in Sioux City, Iowa.