Football Closes Season With Tough Loss to MacMurray

Dylan Zimmerman
dzimmerman@css.edu

The College of St. Scholastica football team ended its season Saturday afternoon, falling to the MacMurray College Highlanders by a final score of 34-26 at Public Schools Stadium. The loss puts the Saints in a tie with MacMurray in the standings when looking at conference records (7-2), but with the victory the Highlanders earned the tiebreaker to claim second place for themselves.

The scoring started immediately, with a Highlander touchdown being recorded just a minute and a half after kickoff thanks to a Nathan Randall two-yard touchdown run. It took the Saints over a quarter to answer, but the answer was in the form of a defensive play as CSS earned a safety to cut into the Highlander lead at 7-2.

Eight minutes later, after a defensive stop on the side of St. Scholastica, the offense finally got on the board themselves as Zach Edwards found Aaron Olson from 26 yards out to put CSS on top 8-7. Not to be outdone by the offense, Jonathan Senger and the defensive crew returned an interception 24 yards for a touchdown a minute later to put the Saints up 14-7 heading into the half.

The third quarter would only witness one score, which happened on a one-yard touchdown run by MacMurray to tie the game at 14-14 heading into the final
quarter of play.

The fourth proved to be the most exciting as five touchdowns were scored between the two teams. The first of the five would belong to CSS, who stuck with what was working as Edwards found Olson for the second time in the end zone on the day to give the Saints the lead at 20-14.

The lead didn’t last long, however, as MacMurray scored on the very next play from scrimmage to tie the game at 20-20. CSS was forced to punt on the next possession, and on the kick attempt MacMurray brought it back to the house to take the lead 28-20. Kenneth Jinkins brought the ensuing kickoff back for a touchdown himself, but the two-point conversion would fail to keep things in favor of the Highlanders at 28-26.

After a key defensive stop, the CSS offense would get a chance with under five minutes remaining. The drive was stopped short, as a fumble would be returned
for a touchdown by the Highlander defense to seal the game at 34-26.

Olson had the highlight performance for CSS, hauling in 12 receptions for 200 yards and two touchdowns. Edwards also had a good night, throwing for 318 yards and a pair of touchdowns himself. Defensively, Jinkins led the way with 11 tackles, two of them being for a loss, and one sack. Senger recorded a big interception return for a touchdown in the contest as well.

Of course, the end of the year means the end of some football careers for members of St. Scholastica. When looking back at the past four years, the tough victories and great moments will always be remembered, and so will each individual season.

“I think the year that stuck out to me was my freshman year,” said senior Andy Lawrence. “This was the year I was taught what college football was all about, and the older guys that year brought me under their wing to make the next four years of football as good as it could be.”

“My favorite year was my sophomore year,” said fellow senior Josh Klimek. “The energy and dynamic of the team was incredible, winning the UMAC championship that year was really special and to be a part of that was amazing.”

When specifically pointing out one moment that beat out all the rest, the two veteran offensive lineman shared different perspectives.

“The tough wins against Northwestern,” said Lawrence. “They’re our rival and it is always fun to compete against them and come out with a win. This year was
probably my favorite game by beating them on their homecoming.”

“I have dozens of really great memories with these guys,” said Klimek. “It’s really the small things; the team meals, bus rides, overnights, hanging out in the locker room. But one that stands out to me is standing on the field during senior day and realizing that I’d done it, I had seen my football career through, standing with some of my best friends and my parents by my side.”

The seniors will definitely be missed, but the Saints will start the offseason after some much needed rest and focus on striking with revenge next year in the UMAC.