Welcome to winning Wartburg

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Wartburg snaps 25-game losing streak with 41-0 shut out of Oakdale

By Taylor Crombie

“Welcome to winning.”

That was the first thing Wartburg head coach Kevin Human said in the huddle after the Bulldogs defeated the Oakdale Eagles 41-0 to end the 25-game losing streak was.

After three more disappointing losses to start the season, things finally came together at Oakdale on Friday night, proving that the times are changing for the Bulldogs.

“This was my ultimate goal coming in,” Human said. “I wasn’t expecting to try to come in and turn this into a 10-0 program, but the first step in the process is learning to win. Sometimes kids just don’t know how to win because they haven’t done it, so you have to teach them to finish. That’s one thing I’m proud of tonight is that the kids finished. We played four quarters of football.”

The Bulldogs came out ready to play and scored on their first drive of the game a 22-yard run from Keith Haynes. After a successful extra-point kick, the Bulldogs led 7-0 to start the first quarter.

Wartburg extended its lead to 9-0 with a defensive safety later in the quarter when a high snap from center sailed over Oakdale quarterback Nathen Arrowood’s head into the end zone.

“[It was] just a mountain of mistakes,” Oakdale head coach J.R. Voyles said. “We’re not able to overcome those right now. The last couple of weeks we just haven’t been able to get things on track and it only gets tougher from here.”

Haynes ran in another touchdown before the end of the first quarter, but the extra-point kick was no good, bringing the score to 15-0 Wartburg.

Oakdale did a much better job of stopping Wartburg’s offense the second quarter and had a couple big opportunities of their own on offense, but were never able to capitalize.

Wartburg was not able to generate much more on offense until the final seconds of the second quarter. Dakotah Smith picked off a pass from Arrowood with 22 seconds left on the clock, giving the Bulldogs one last chance to extend the lead before halftime.

Wartburg’s offense was able to move the ball down the field quickly led by freshman quarterback Tyler Davis, making it to the Eagles 25-yard line with three seconds remaining in the quarter. Davis fired a pass to Jesse Melhorn in the end zone to score another touchdown for the Bulldogs as the clock expired, giving the Bulldogs a 28-0 lead at the end of the half.

Haynes scored a touchdown for Wartburg midway through the third and early in the fourth quarter to bring his total to four and give the Bulldogs a commanding 34-0 lead.

Following Haynes’ touchdown in the fourth quarter, Taylor Braddock replaced Arrowood as Oakdale’s quarterback in attempt to change things up. Just like Arrowood in the first quarter, Braddock had a high snap go over his head and into the end zone, but this time the Bulldogs recovered to score another touchdown. Wartburg’s extra-point kick was good to bring the final score to 41-0 and end the losing streak that has plagued the Bulldogs since 2014.

It looked like Oakdale’s Dakota Turner was going to prevent the Eagles from being shut out when he was able to make a break for the end zone with no defenders in sight, but tripped and fell.

“That was our night,” Voyles said. “Even when we made a good play we’d have a penalty or we’d follow it up with something crazy.

We never could get out of our end of the field, never could get a play to get us loose, just couldn’t get on track offensively. It’s a hard road to go when you’re backed up like that all night and you can’t get anything going on offense.”

Even though Wartburg looked like a completely different team than it has in a long time, Human still saw plenty of things that the Bulldogs need to work on in order to turn the program around.

“We still had a lot of silly penalties tonight that we need to clean up, there was no excuse for a lot of them…we had some scores called back because of penalties and that’s real frustrating as a coach because you know they can do so much better,” he said.

With that said, Human is still immensely proud of proud how far the Bulldogs have come and the way they played to pick up the win.

“I’m proud of the kids, they’ve busted their guts since January. I’m happy, but I’m still going to find something wrong because that’s just me… I’m really proud of the way we played defensively tonight, I think we did a lot better than we’ve done all season. I knew those improvements were coming, but tonight we were able to move the ball offensively, so that help us out a lot.”

Wartburg will take this week off before taking on the Sunbright Tigers at home on Sept. 22. Oakdale, meanwhile, will have attempt to bounce back from a two-game losing streak against the 4-0 Coalfield Yellow Jackets this Friday at home.

“That one is going to be tough,” Voyles said. “Coalfield is well coached, lots of athletes, some really good linemen; they’re very solid in all facets of the game.

It’ll be a good challenge for us. Hopefully my kids will take this weekend and get our heads right, get our minds back in the right direction and get focused back on playing football the way it’s supposed to be.”