Football team falls in season opener

Ray Bressette

The Wildcats will hit the road this weekend searching their first win at Quincy University (1-0) in Quincy, Ill. after dropping their home opener to the Northwood Timberwolves, 23-10, Saturday, Sept. 8 at the Superior Dome.

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Head coach Chris Ostrowsky said the ’Cats will keep their heads high.

“Right now, we’re as disappointed as disappointed could be as a program,” Ostrowsky said. “But we’re going to approach tomorrow the same way we would have if we would have won. We’re going to go back to work and keep on doing what we think is right as a program.”

Sophomore quarterback Shaye Brown was 17 for 29 on pass attempts for NMU in the loss, throwing for 214 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. Senior receiver Kelvin Smarwt brought in 99 yards for one touchdown on six receptions, while junior running back Wyatt Jurasin gained 54 yards on 16 rushes.

Despite the loss, Brown said the team maintains confidence moving forward.

“It sucked when we had pretty high expectations,” Brown said. “It’s humble, everything happens for a reason. Maybe we just needed to get humbled up a little bit, but we’ll come back strong and I’m not worried about it.”

Brown found Smarwt for a 31-yard touchdown on fourth down at 14:53 in the second quarter, giving NMU a 10-3 lead. The score would be the ’Cats only touchdown of the game.

 Northwood’s offense controlled the ball the majority of the game, leading time of possession 41:14 compared to the Wildcat’s 18:46 time of possession.

Junior running back Jared Briguglio rushed for 165 yards and two touchdowns on 28 rushing attempts for Northwood University.

Senior linebacker Nick Krause said time of possession was the difference maker in the loss.

“There were definitely some long drives in there, but we have to get off the field on third down,” Krause said. “That’s basically the game. You can’t be on the field for that long and expect to get a win.”

The ’Cats will face a non-conference opponent in the Quincy Hawks at 5 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 13 at Flinn Stadium in Quincy, Ill.

The Hawks are coming off a 29-15 road win over Lindenwood University on Thursday, Sept. 4 in Belleville, Ill.

Ostrowsky said Quincy will be a tough challenge for the Wildcats.

“They’re a good football team, they won their season opener and are pretty excited about how they’re playing,” Ostrowsky said. “It’s their home opener and I’m sure they’re really excited to play us this weekend, and we’re going to have to play well down there to get the win.”

Redshirt junior quarterback Nick Lonergan was 17 for 27 in passing in Quincy’s single game this season, throwing for 231 yards and three touchdowns.

Junior fullback Greg Eilerman led the team in receiving with four catches and 69 yards.

Sophomore running back Chris Harris had 88 rushing yards on 20 attempts.

 On defense, senior linebacker Ike Onike led the Quincy defense against Lindenwood with 10 tackles in the game.

Quincy graduated all-conference senior receiver Justin Dickens one year ago, who led his team, 1,078 yards and eight touchdowns last season.

The Quincy Hawks are a member of the Great Lakes Valley Conference.

In 2013, the Hawks compiled a 1-6 conference record, 2-9 overall and finished eighth out of nine in the GLVC. The Wildcats finished last season with a 3-7 season, 3-8 overall. The Hawks were picked to finish eighth this season as well in the GLVC coaches preseason poll.

Ostrowsky said he expects the ’Cats to return to their winning form this weekend.

“We’re heading back and going more toward our roots of what this program is based on,” Ostrowsky said. “We’re working a little bit harder in terms of being more physical this week, and that’ll be the difference come Saturday.”AV_Football5