Football team earns first win of the season

Ray Bressette

The Wildcats continue their road play this weekend as they take on the Hillsdale Chargers at 1 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 20 in Hillsdale, Mich., coming off their first win of the season.

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The ’Cats defeated the Quincy Hawks by a score of 31-14 on Saturday, Sept. 13 in Quincy, Ill. Wildcat sophomore quarterback Shaye Brown was 16 for 23 in the victory, throwing for 220 yards, one touchdown and one interception. Senior receiver Kelvin Smarwt led the game in receiving with 114 yards and one touchdown on six catches. Junior running back Wyatt Jurasin rushed for 135 yards and two touchdowns on 29 attempts. NMU’s offense totaled 377 yards.

Junior wide receiver Marcus Tucker said the team is finding a rhythm as the season progresses.

“We executed throughout the game a lot better than we did in our previous outing, and we had more time under out belt to get a little more chemistry throughout the week which transpired on the field and we did pretty well,” Tucker said. “We’re going to continue playing tough, working hard and adding a few tweaks to our gameplay, and if we get guys to stay healthy and play hard we’re going to continue doing well.”

The win improves the ’Cats’ record to 1-1 on the season and are fifth of eight in the GLIAC North Division.

The Wildcats will hit the road to take on GLIAC opponent, Hillsdale, in the Chargers’ home opener.

The Chargers enter the weekend 1-1, sitting third out of eight in the GLIAC North Division. Hillsdale is coming off a 48-41 win at Lake Erie on Saturday, Sept. 13.

Sophomore Hillsdale quarterback Mark Laprairie was 21 for 39 in passing, throwing for 426 yards and three touchdowns in the win. Junior receiver John Haley brought in eight catches for two touchdowns and set a Hillsdale record of 268 receiving yards in the game. Haley set another school record in the win averaging 33.5 yards per catch. The Chargers offense as a whole also set a school record with 611 yards.

Sophomore linebacker Zach Swaffer had two sacks, Joe Duff brought in one interception.

Hillsdale dropped their season opener in week one 46-38 at Findlay University Saturday, Sept. 6 in Findlay, Ohio.

NMU head coach Chris Ostrowsky said the ’Cats will need to play disciplined to get the win this weekend.

“Going up against them, you have to be efficient and mistake-free as they’re pretty efficient and don’t make a whole lot of mistakes,” Ostrowsky said. “It’s pretty important that we try and match their discipline. They have good players, which is very critical to their success. Their quarterback is outstanding, they’ve had a deal of success in the past and they’re just continuing that process, and they’re going to be a challenge.”

Last season, the Chargers finished with a 5-6 record finishing fifth out of eight in the North Division.

Junior linebacker Levi Perry said the Wildcats are familiar with Hillsdale’s offensive approach.

“Hillsdale runs a very similar offense as us, so we’ll know what to expect,” Perry said. “We’re going to need to continue stepping up with our communication as we did last week, and once we do that we can go lock in and get it done.”