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Eric Peterson, Published September 24 2012

Unbeaten Cobbers earn national recognition

MOORHEAD – A couple days after beating its top rival, Concordia received national recognition.

The Cobbers cracked the NCAA Division III Top 25 in the American Football Coaches Association poll, which was announced Monday.

Concordia earned the No. 24 spot in the poll after Saturday’s 31-21 victory against St. John’s at Jake Christiansen Stadium. The Cobbers entered the Top 25 for the first time since Sept. 14, 2009.

“It’s nice to see that,” said senior linebacker Jordan Doschadis, who had a sack against the Johnnies. “It makes us feel good about our team. But all that really matters is next week.”

The Cobbers (4-0, 2-0 MIAC) are off next Saturday after two solid Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference wins against St. Olaf and St. John’s.

Both those teams were picked ahead of Concordia in the MIAC preseason coaches poll. Saturday’s win against St. John’s was the first time Concordia had beat St. John’s at Jake Christiansen since 1986.

“I wish we could kind of be playing,” Doschadis said. “I think we’re rolling off those last two wins.”

The extra week off could be good for the Cobbers.

Head coach Terry Horan said junior running back Trent Johnson (foot) and senior Evan Sammon (leg) could be ready for the team’s Oct. 6 showdown at No. 7-ranked Bethel. Both players have yet to see the game field this fall.

“If we could mix them in to what we’re doing on both sides of the ball, certainly it would help us,” Horan said.

Horan said the bye week will also give his team a chance to recharge after an emotional victory against St. John’s. Before Saturday, the Cobbers hadn’t beaten the Johnnies since 2008, a 9-6 victory in Collegeville.

“The positive piece of it is coming off an emotional game to get yourself back to that level the very next week isn’t easy to do,” Horan said. “You just can’t stay at that high forever. You’ve got to work yourself back to that, so having a (extra) week really helps us.”

Sophomore quarterback Griffin Neal has guided Concordia to four wins in his first year as the starter.

The former Fargo South standout has been steady, completing 37 of 59 passes for 463 yards and six touchdowns. Neal had a critical 15-yard touchdown pass late in the first half against St. John’s.

“He put the ball in to our playmaker’s hands and made some key throws and good reads,” Horan said. “He’s just been steady.”

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Eric Peterson at (701) 241-5513.

Peterson’s blog can be found

at peterson.areavoices.com