SIOUX CITY | It was another frustrating Saturday for the Briar Cliff football team.
Opportunities were there but the Chargers were unable to seize enough of them in a 35-7 loss to Concordia at Memorial Field on senior day.
“We still have not put a full game together,” Briar Cliff Coach Dennis Wagner said. “It has been two phases or one phase, and we have one game to do that. Our guys have never stopped, they keep playing hard and they never stopped, but we would love to see them have a victory and let it pay off to them.”
The Chargers (0-10, 0-7) had the running game going early as junior Noah Ylagan ran for 82 yards on eight carries in the first quarter. However, turnovers stopped two promising drives as Dylan Desmarais was picked off twice by Tarence Roby.
The first pick came with the Chargers just past midfield and led to the first score of the game as Riley Wiltfong found Jared Garcia on a 26-yard strike. Garcia finished the game with three caches for 78 yards to become Concordia’s all-time leader in receiving yards.
The second interception came two plays after Ylagan put several moves on Bulldog defenders to roll 42 yards down to the 11 before Desmarais threw an ill-advised pass into the end zone Roby easily got his hands on.
“The long ball that was thrown down here early in the game where they got the interception was a questionable call,” Wagner said. “I think that changed the momentum of the football game at that point and they really got themselves moving.”
The Bulldogs (6-3, 5-4) again made Briar Cliff pay for the turnover as Wiltfong hit Kiyoshi Brey, who made a nice adjustment to the pass, with a leaping catch in the end zone from 15 yards out to make it 14-0 early in the second quarter.
Ylagan, who played much of the game on a gimpy ankle, ran for 138 yards giving him the ninth 100-yard game of his career. That tied former teammate Mitch Heikes for the most in program history, and he also extended his record single-season rushing mark to 1,246.
“I banged up my ankle pretty early today and it was pretty disappointing because I was ready to run, ready to roll,” he said. “I saw (Heikes’) hard work early and that is what I had to do in order to be doing the same thing. It is a big accomplishment for me.”
Ylagan’s hard running and determination is the kind of effort his coach was looking for.
“He is a great kid and a great leader,” Wagner said. “We need to find more guys like him. It was a good effort by him but we talk about 11-man football, and no matter what he does he needs the help of the others around him.”
Concordia’s Ryan Durdon, who ran for 162 yards in the first half and 192 in the game, would add a 4-yard rushing touchdown and Wiltfong and Garcia connected for the second time in the half from 33 yards out to close out the scoring in the first half.
Briar Cliff’s inability to convert on third down on offense kept the defense on the field a lot as it gave up 386 yards on the ground. T.J. Austin was the second Bulldog runner over 100 yards in the in the game with 160.
The Chargers, who were shutout the last two times they played the Bulldogs, would get on the board late in the quarter. Dillon Ruelas, who replaced Desmarais after his second INT, threw a 33-yard strike to Logann Freeman for the touchdown. Ruelas was a strong 4 of 6 for 80 yards in the first half.
The Charger special teams came up with a field goal block from 44 yards to end the first half.
The lone score of the second half came in the fourth quarter when Austin found the end zone from three yards out for the Bulldogs.
“I thought we were in sync on offense in the second half and I thought our defense made a couple good adjustments and played better,” Wagner said.
The loss was the 20th straight for the Chargers since its last victory over Waldorf 23-19 to begin the 2016 season, but Ylagan sees brighter days ahead.
“I wish we could of brought a win for the seniors this year because they have worked hard,” he said. “It is tough having to see that scoreboard. Soon enough it is going to be turned around.
“I don’t like to speak ahead of myself, but next year is going to be turned around. We have a lot of guys out here ready to play, ready to roll.”
Briar Cliff closes out its season Saturday when it travels to Sioux Center to take on Dordt.