Ichabods dominate Rams in HOT Bowl NCAA Div II game
By TJ MAXWELL
Two interceptions for touchdowns by the Washburn Ichabods led the way in their 41-25 win over the Angelo State Rams in the NCAA Division II bowl game as part of the 17th Annual C.H.A.M.P.S. Heart of Texas Bowl college football doubleheader Saturday at Bulldawg Stadium.
“We had some good breaks in the game, too, but, the defensive scores were huge in the game,” said Washburn head football coach Craig Schurig. “They have such an explosive offense so I thought that was the key.
“It feels really good. We came up short last year and didn’t end this season the way we wanted with our conference schedule. It’s nice to get this win, especially for our seniors. That’s what we really wanted it for.”
Holding a narrow 7-3 lead in the second quarter, Ichabod defender Peter Pfannenstiel jumped the route and intercepted the pass of Angelo State quarterback Jake Faber before returning it for a score and the 14-3 lead.
“I was really struggling in the first half,” said Peterson. “Then when Pete Pfannenstiel got that pick six, that really picked me up and the whole team up. That was huge. The defense played the best game they’ve played all year in my opinion. Offensively, we didn’t do what we needed to do today but the defense got it done.”
Washburn increased their lead to 21-3 at half time on a nine-play, 63-yard scoring drive capped by a 10-yard run by senior quarterback Blake Peterson.
A fumble then set up the Rams first score of the contest on a one-play drive. A double pass resulted in a 33-yard touchdown pass from wide receiver Tashani Bibbs to receiver Lawson Ayo for the 21-10 score with 11:41 left in the third quarter.
Another pick six, this by Will Bolster for 57 yards, flipped the momentum back to the Ichabods and a fumble recovery on the next possession put Washburn in complete control after a five-play drive resulted in a 59-yard touchdown pass from Peterson to junior James Brania-Hopp for the 35-10 lead with 56 seconds left in the third.
“We played well and our defense played outstanding today,” said Peterson. “Our offense struggled a little bit. We didn’t have one of our best games but the defense really picked it up with two scores on the defensive side out the ball. That really helped us out a lot.”
A pair of late field goals by junior Parry Schmiedeler from 25 and 41 yards capped the scoring for the Ichabods.
Late scores from Angelo State pulled the Rams within two scores but it was too little, too late.
The Rams cut the lead to 21, 38-17, on a 12-play drive that resulted in an 11-yard touchdown ass from Faber to sophomore Keith Henson II with 6:12 remaining.
The Rams then answered the 41-yard Washburn field goal with a six-play drive that began at their own 35.
A two-yard plunge by freshman Tyrese Nathan capped the drive.
Peterson finished the night 18 for 25 passing for 235 yards and one touchdown to lead the Ichabods and earn the MVP award for Washburn. He also had 10 carries for 36 yards and another score.
“It feels awesome,” Peterson said about the win. “It was a long trip so I definitely wanted to come away with a victory for that long ride home. It’s a lot tougher bus ride after a loss.”
Brania-Hopp led the Ichabod receivers with four catches four catches for 111 yards and a score. Sophomore Austen Hubert added three grabs for 44 yards.
Senior Mickeel Stewart led the Washburn rushing attack with 13 carries for 63 yards.
Senior Cedric Gonzalez led the Ichabods defense with six tackles while Pfannenstiel had two interceptions.
Faber was 16 of 35 passing for 250 yards and one touchdown with three interceptions.
Ayo was his favorite target with four grabs for 112 yards and a score. While Nathan added two catches for 54 yards and Henson II added 37 yards and a score on three grabs.
Senior Josh Stevens led the Rams’ rushing with 16 carries for 75 yards and Nathan added 17 yards and a score on nine carries.
Red-shirt freshman Leddy French led the Angelo State defense with eight tackles.