Tom Mix, Published September 01 2012
Cobbers open football season with win over Jamestown College
Neal – a sophomore – settled in to his new role nicely, helping the Cobbers to a 42-26 win over Jamestown College at Rollie Greeno Field in Taylor Stadium.
The former Fargo South standout finished 12 of 16 passing for 144 yards and three touchdowns. Other than a few minor hiccups, Neal played like a seasoned veteran operating the Cobbers’ offense efficiently.
“I feel pretty comfortable throwing the ball,” Neal said. “The offensive line does a great job protecting. It was the first game and a close game at first. I didn’t pay attention to the clock, and we got a delay of game penalty because of me, but these guys really do make it easy for me.”
Neal also rushed for 43 yards and led Concordia
(1-0) to scores on six of its nine possessions in the game.
“I thought Griffin had a great game,” Concordia head coach Terry Horan said. “He read the defense well and made a lot checks on the line. That is pretty impressive for a sophomore quarterback to do that.
“In fact, there were more audibles in this game than we had all of last season. That’s a tribute to him and how he has studied. I’m proud of him. That was a great first performance.”
The win is the first opening-day road victory for the Cobbers since 2004 when they defeated Minnesota State Moorhead at Alex Nemzek Stadium in 2004.
Neal connected with junior running back Ben Wolf for a 24-yard pass in the first quarter for his first collegiate touchdown throw.
Wolf had to do a little campaigning, but convinced Neal to open up the offense and go for a big play.
“Ben came to me and said the flat was open the last time,” Neal said. “I trusted him. He got a step on them. It was still triple coverage, but the defenders were all a step behind. He made a great catch for the touchdown.”
Neal followed up his first touchdown toss with two more. He connected with junior running back Matt Peterson for a 26-yard strike later in the first quarter and junior wide receiver Mark Whiting for an 18-yard score in the second quarter.
“He looked really good,” Whiting said of Neal. “We were really impressed with what he did during two-a-days and practice during the week preparing for this game. We knew he would come out and perform.”
Jamestown College (0-2) kept up with the Cobbers most of the game by taking advantage of some mismatches in the passing game.
Matt Wilson totaled 150 yards receiving on eight catches and scored one touchdown, hooking up with quarterback Gus Ramasco for a 34-yard TD pass on fourth-and-6 late in the third quarter. That cut the Cobbers’ lead to 28-19.
Brett Baune answered with a 7-yard TD run on Concordia’s next possession, but the Jimmies refused to go away.
Ramasco scored on a
1-yard touchdown to make it 35-25, but Jimmies head coach Shawn Frank elected to kick rather than attempt a 2-point conversion to make it a one-possession game with 5:36 left in regulation.
After a failed onside kick, Concordia’s Luke Gotta scored on a 3-yard run to a cap a seven-play drive and the victory for the Cobbers.
“We have to find a way to play four complete quarters of football in every facet of the game,” Frank said. “We had some opportunities to make some plays and we didn’t make those. We got to find a way to finish the deal.”
Prior to Saturday, the last time Concordia and Jamestown College had played in football was 1947. Concordia now holds an 8-3 series lead over the Jimmies.
CC 14 7 7 14–42
JC 6 6 7 7–26
CON–Wolf 24 pass from Neal (Wagner kick)
JC–Dohmann 5 pass from Ramasco (kick failed)
CON–Peterson 26 pass from Neal (Wagner kick)
CON–Whiting 18 pass from Neal (Wagner kick)
JC–Johansen 1 yard run (kick failed)
CON–Wolf 11 run (Wagner kick)
JC–Wilson 34 pass from Ramasco (Anderson kick)
CON–Baune 7 run (Wagner kick)
JC– Ramasco 1 run (Anderson kick)
CON–Gotta 3 run (Wagner kick)
First downs 26 21
Rushes-yards 41-211 42-122
Passing 144 227
Comp-Att-Int 12-16-0 18-34-1
Punts-Avg. 80 144
Fumbles-Lost 3-11 0-0
Penalties-Yards 11-68 8-84
Time of Possession 39:52 20:08
RUSHING: CON, Baune 16-71, Neal 7-43, Gilson 4-34, Wolf 6-31, Gotta 5-24, McLean 2-6, Fraboni 1-2. JC, Johansen 15-65, Mithaugen 15-34, Smith 3-11, Ramasco 8-8, Klawon 1-4.
PASSING: CON, Neal 12-16-0–144. JC, Ramasco 18-34-1–227
RECEIVING: CON, Wolf 4-61, Peterson 3-40, Gilson 2-10, Starke 2-5, Whiting 1-18. JC, Wilson 8-150, Johansen 3-25, Dohmann 2-14, Mithaugen 2-11, Sena 1-14, Erbes 1-8, Spanton 1-5.
Readers can reach Forum reporter
Tom Mix at (701) 451-5651