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Football cedes second place standing to Central

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Sam Houlihan (‘18) stiff arms a Central defender.

Sam Houlihan (‘18) stiff arms a Central defender.

Gillian Klein (‘20) | Chips

Gillian Klein (‘20) | Chips

Sam Houlihan (‘18) stiff arms a Central defender.

Gillian Klein, Staff Writer

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Luther Football lost to Central College 21-23 on Sturday, Nov. 4. Prior to the game, Luther was tied with Central College for second place in the IIAC. Luther is now tied for third with the University of Dubuque.

The loss to Central follows a thrilling triple overtime victory against Coe College on Oct. 20. Luther’s record now drops to 5-4 on the season.

During the first quarter of the game, the teams were evenly matched, and the quarter ended with a 0-0 score.

Central scored first early in the second quarter, when Jon Alberts made a 27-yard field goal, bringing the score to 3-0. Luther responded with an 11-yard touchdown by Sam Houlihan (‘18) and an extra point by Cory Wirth (‘18) which put Luther in the lead with a score of 7-3 at halftime.

According to Mattew Foundos (‘19), lots of thought goes into a successful game plan.

“Our​ ​defensive​ ​coaches​ ​watch​ ​a​ ​lot​ ​of​ ​film​ ​and​ ​game​ ​plan​ ​against what​ ​our​ ​opponents​ ​do,” Foundos said.​ “​We​ ​game​ ​plan​ ​to​ ​remove​ ​their​ ​strengths.​ ​Every​ ​Friday,​ ​the​ ​coach​ ​gives us​ ​an​ ​equation​ ​for​ ​success​ ​that​ ​might​ ​not​ ​even​ ​involve​ ​football​ ​but​ ​a​ ​lot​ ​of​ ​motivation.”

Early in the third quarter, Central’s quarterback Blaine Hawkins ran an 11-yard touchdown, followed by a successful extra point attempt from Jon Alberts to give Central College a 10-7 lead.

In the same minute, Luther’s Anthony Hollingshed (‘21) completed a 20-yard touchdown to put Luther in the lead once again, with a score of 14-10.

At the end of the third quarter, Central again took the lead, 17-14, with another touchdown.

The fourth quarter began with a 9-yard touchdown by Luther quarterback Brady Letney (‘18) and extra point by Wirth.

Hawkins made a 2-yard pass to running back Danny Groezinger which brought the score to 23-21. Alberts’s extra point attempt was not successful, so Central settled for the two point lead.

In the final minute of the game, Luther drove down the field into kicking territory and called on Wirth for the field goal. With seconds on the clock, Wirth missed the kick, giving Central College the 23-21 win.

Roughly 1,000 spectators were in attendance, according to the Box Score summary of the game. Houlihan said the spectators were a source of energy for the players.

“The crowd’s energy is contagious and our fans are a very committed group,” Houlihan said. “Once the players sense that energy, we all feed off one another and nothing stops us at that point. It oftentimes feels as though there are more spectators there than actually are present because of the cheering.”

According to Head Football Coach Aaron Hafner, the winning record of this year’s team reflects the leadership that the upperclassmen demonstrate.

“The leadership from the upperclassmen plays a large role [in our winning record] because they are resilient,” Hafner said. “Out of the five wins we have, there are three comeback victories, which displays this resilience.”

Hafner also offered an insight into the coaching philosophy at Luther.

“Just​ ​like​ ​in​ ​life​ ​and​ ​in​ ​football,​ ​you​ ​can’t​ ​sit​ ​around​ ​and​ ​worry​ ​about​ ​your mistakes,” Hafner said “​You​ ​gotta ​move​ ​onto​ ​the​ ​next​ ​play​ ​and​ ​make​ ​sure​ ​you​ ​are​ ​mentally​ ​strong​ ​enough​ ​to make​ ​it​ ​through​ ​the​ ​game.​ ​Don’t​ ​let​ ​the​ ​play​ ​before​ ​impact​ ​your​ ​next​ ​play.”

Luther will next play Loras College on Saturday, Nov. 11 in Dubuque, Iowa. Loras is currently 3-4 in the conference.

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The student news site of Luther College in Decorah, Iowa