The Wartburg Knights football team suffered a heartbreaking loss in overtime Saturday afternoon at the hands of arch-rival Luther Norse, 28-27.
The loss was the first at home against Luther since 1986, and drops Wartburg to 5-4 (4-3).
It looked like the Knights would be on their way to an easy victory when quarterback Matt Sacia found Riley Brockway on a 53-yard pass on the first play from scrimmage.
The Luther offense, however, was all about fullback Christian Moore. Moore finished the game with 178 yards on 38 carries and also accounted for two Norse touchdowns.
Head coach Rick Willis said he doesn’t believe a tired defense was responsible for the offensive output for Moore.
“It was just them driving the ball, I actually think our defense was actually getting better grasp on it through the fourth quarter.
After a Connor Schrader touchdown put Wartburg up by seven in overtime, Luther responded two plays later with a run from Moore for a touchdown.
Luther then went for the win on a two-point conversion and Cooper Nelson scampered into the endzone to seal the victory for the Norse.
Sacia led the way offensively for the Knights, finishing with 275 total yards and a passing touchdown to Brockway, while Schrader and Haberman combined for three rushing touchdowns.
After the game Sacia said the offense was strong, but made a couple mistakes.
“With the way their offense goes, you’re only going to get a limited number of opportunities,” Sacia said.
“We squandered a few of the ones we needed, but we had a really good game plan coming in.”
One of the biggest squandered opportunities came near the end of the first half after Luther scored their first touchdown.
Sacia was sacked on a blindside hit and was stripped of the football.
Luther recovered the football and Luther scored another quick touchdown to take a 13-7 lead going into the half.
The Knights got big plays on the defensive side from linebacker Brendan Schott, who finished with 17 tackles, and defensive back Peyton Imhof, who intercepted a pass and blocked a punt.
While Wartburg may have not played their best game defensively, they did not play poorly by any means.
Wartburg’s next game will come next week at Walston-Hoover Stadium when the Buena Vista Beavers, 3-6 (3-4), come to town.
This game will also be the celebration of Senior Day for the Knights and they will honor all of the seniors on their roster for their commitment to the program.
Willis said the team will have to make a few adjustments during practice in order to have a different outcome than this week.
“Have a good attitude, work hard, continue to get better, and show up ready to go,” Willis said.