Jacks win season’s final home game

Heather Mangan

Heather Mangan

The Jackrabbits’ last home game ended much better than their first.

The No.-24 ranked SDSU beat William Penn Nov. 4, 34-3, sending the Jacks into their longest winning streak since 1963.

But it wasn’t quite the win the 6-3 Jacks had hoped for.

“Looking around that locker room, there wasn’t any excitement and I praised them for that,” said Head Coach John Stiegelmeier. “We can play better and we recognized that. We weren’t fooling ourselves.”

The Jacks started the game off strong, ending the first quarter leading 21-0, and out-gaining the Statesman 188-6 in yards.

But they hit a wall in the second quarter. After the Statesmen, 4-6, blocked a field goal and intercepted a pass, they managed to get three points on the board before the half.

The Jacks scored another two touchdowns in the third quarter and kicked a field goal in fourth, scoring a season high total against the NAIA school.

“We talked about being perfect this week,” said senior running back Anthony Watson. “Coming out strong, because we hadn’t had a game like that this year. Efforts like stalling in the first half and slowing in the second half – we can’t be doing that against (conference) teams.”

Even though William Penn was not a conference opponent, the team knew it could not overlook the Statesmen. The Jacks opened the season against a similar opponent, Wisconsin-LaCrosse, and were stopped dead in their tracks, suffering a 17-3 defeat.

Eric Schroeder, a sophomore defensive lineman, said the team kept Wisconsin-LaCrosse in the back of their minds while preparing for William Penn. The team knew that if they came out with their heads too high, not ready to play, they would be beat.

Despite losing junior running back Cory Koenig to injury, SDSU’s rushing game was still in force with Anthony Watson rushing for 159 yards on 15 carries. Junior Trevor Hohn also earned 105 yards on 11 carries. Overall, the team gained a season- high 227 yards on 39 carries. Koenig went out after three carries due to persistent shoulder problems.

Koenig was not the only Jackrabbit starter to sit out some on Saturday. Senior quarterback Andy Kardoes completed his first six passes for 111 yards, but watched the entire second half from the sidelines while the three backup quarterbacks took their shots at William Penn. Many other reserve players were thrown into the mix to keep starters fresh for the two conference games ahead, Stiegelmeier said.

“I think its kind of exciting to get your younger guys in and we have the opportunity to do that,” he said.

The Jacks will face the last two games of the season on the road against Great West Conference opponents Southern Utah and North Dakota State University.

#1.884007:3158101896.jpg:sdsuvswilliam05.jpg:SDSU’s Reed Burckhardt tries to break though two defenders.:#1.884006:236721048.jpg:sdsuvswilliam02.jpg:Anthony Watson, 22, breaks free of William Penn defender Cody Hackett during the game Saturday afternoon.:#1.884005:1237084488.jpg:sdsuvswilliam01.jpg:South Dakota State’s Cory Koenig is brought down by a William Penn defender during their game Saturday afternoon. Koenig only rushed three times before leaving the game with an injured shoulder.: