5/21/2013 Reivers Playing Summer Baseball
5/19/2013 Collie-Minns Crowned National Champion
5/15/2013 NJCAA National Softball Tournament Games
REIVERS COME UP SHORT IN CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIP
By Tony Boone
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – For the second time in a little more than a month, No.7 Iowa Western came up short in the close loss to unbeaten Grand Rapids at Houseman Field.
The No. 5 Raiders (11-0) held off the Reivers 26-24 in the first Midwest Football Conference championship game Saturday when Cody Dickson’s 51-yard field goal try with less than a minute to play landed in the back of the end zone.
IWCC (8-2) had a first down at the Grand Rapids 34 on its final drive, but failed to advance the ball on three plays for its sophomore kicker. Dickson’s kick was on line but fell nearly five yards shy.
After shredding the Raider defense for more than 600 yards in a 56-48 loss on the same field a month ago, the Reivers had less than 400 yards Saturday and scored only three second-half points.
“The first time it was a shootout, and everything we ran was working,” IWCC coach Scott Strohmeier said. “They did a good job of taking (things away) and making it difficult.”
Grand Rapids seemed to have sealed a victory when Terrell Porter intercepted a Jake Waters pass in Raider territory and returned it to the Reiver 17 with 4:38 remaining. But Ty Branz sacked Cody Kater on fourth down at the IWCC 10 to give his offense a final chance.
Iowa Western’s defense came up with big plays throughout the game. It forced the Raiders into four first-half turnovers, which led to a 21-17 halftime advantage for the Reivers, that held the high-scoring Grand Rapids offense to only nine second-half points.
Last month, IWCC allowed 356 rushing yards and more than twice as many points.
“Our defense played great today,” Waters said. “They gave us enough opportunities to score and we didn’t capitalize on them. It’s just frustrating to put that much effort and work into this and come up short.”
Both teams held advantages during a back-and-forth first half. Running back Aaron Wimberly got IWCC on the board first with an 11-yard touchdown reception. He later threw a TD pass to Matt Waters to tie it at 14 after Kater put the Raiders up with a scoring run and pass.
Jake Waters’ TD toss to Glenn Lewis gave Iowa Western its 21-17 lead at the half. However, Jayshon Jackson capped a 14-play, 70-yard Raider drive to open the second half with a 1-yard scoring dive.
The Reivers took their final lead at 24-23 when Dickson connected from 25 yards out with 12:56 remaining. Grand Rapids answered with a Greg Cognetto field goal on the next drive to keep its perfect season intact and national title hopes alive.
Junior college bowl bids won’t become official until after next weekend’s games.
“We’ve done what we can do,” Raider coach Tony Annese said. “It’s hard to be better than undefeated, and we’ve done that. Now, we’ll just wait and see.”
Iowa Western will also play the waiting game. It has an automatic bid to the Graphic Edge Bowl at the UNI-Dome in Cedar Falls on Nov. 20, if it chooses to accept it. Last year, the Reivers opted out of their conference bowl tie to play Snow College in the Top of the Mountains Bowl in Utah.
Until its final destination is official, IWCC must deal with the disappointment from Saturday.
“We’re all a little bummed out right now,” Reiver defensive coordinator Mike Blackbourn said. “I’ve never been more proud of these guys than I am today. We had a chance there at the end. Sometimes it just doesn’t go your way.”
Iowa Western (8-2) 7 14 0 3 – 24
Grand Rapids (11-0) 14 3 6 3 – 26
IW: Aaron Wimberly 11 pass from Jake Waters (Cody Dickson kick)
GR: Elan Banks 69 pass from Cody Kater (Greg Cognetto kick)
GR: Kater 5 run (Cognetto kick)
IW: Matt Waters 11 pass from Wimberly (Dickson kick)
GR: FG Cognetto 32
IW: Glenn Lewis 10 pass from J. Waters (Dickson kick)
GR: Jayshon Jackson 1 run (kick failed)
IW: FG Dickson 25
GR: FG Cognetto 26
IWCC - Wimberly 17-31, J. Waters 10-(-23), Coe 4-(-2), Smith 2-11.
GRCC - Kater 16-31, Jarret 14-76, Jackson 12-73, Searcy 3-22, Team 3-(-12).
IWCC - J. Waters 28-53-2 337, Wimberly 1-1-0 11, Brown 1-1-0 3.
GRCC - Kater 18-31-3 246.
IWCC - Stone 7-59, M. Waters 6-83, Williams 5-58, Wimberly 5-57, Lewis 4-80, Smith 2-11, Ferch 1-3.
GRCC - Smith 9-94, Parker 5-69, Banks 2-71, Sundstrom 1-10, Jaret 1-3.