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Slow Start Dooms Regents

Darion Hornickel
Darion Hornickel

ROCKFORD, Ill. - The RU football team played its first home game in nearly a month on Saturday when the Regents welcomed the Wisconsin Lutheran College Warriors to Sam Greeley Field. Saturday's game had a little extra meaning as both the Warriors and Regents were coming off tough conference loses last week and seeking their first NACC win of the year. Unfortunately it was Wisconsin Lutheran who came out firing on all cylinders scoring 35 first half points en route to a 45-21 victory.

The game got off to a difficult start as nothing seemed to go Rockford's way. The Regents turned the ball over on their first possession of the game to give the Warriors a short field to work with. Wisconsin Lutheran promptly took advantage as it took the Warriors just 2 plays to find the end zone and take a quick 7-0 lead. The Warriors continued to flex their muscles scoring a touchdown on each of their next three possessions to jump out in front 28-0. They then closed the half with one final score to take a 35-0 advantage into the intermission.

Rockford played much better in the second half as the Regents found the end zone on their first two possessions. The first score came on a 6-play, 57-yard drive capped off with an 8-yard touchdown pass from Darion Hornickel (Lowell, Ind.) to Kalan Miller (Cordova, Tenn.). The Regents continued to cut into the Warrior lead as they scored their second touchdown in the closing moments of the third quarter. Hornickel led the Rockford offense down the field using a big 40-yard pass play to Miller, which moved the ball into Wisconsin Lutheran territory. A few plays later with Rockford facing a third and goal from the five yard line, Hornickel tossed his second touchdown of the afternoon this one to fellow freshman Drake Barlow (Amboy, Ill.) pulling the Regents back to within three scores. 

Unfortunately the Warriors answered right back with a touchdown early in the fourth quarter to take a commanding 45-14 lead. The Regents however would not surrender as they scored one final time in the closing moments of the game. Hornickel threw his third touchdown pass of the afternoon when he connected with Chance Manning (Durand, Ill.) for a 53-yard score. However, it was not enough as the Regents fell by a final score of 45-21.

Offensively it was the Rockford passing attack that led the way. Freshman quarterback Darion Hornickel completed 16 passes for a season-high 266 yards and 3 touchdowns. Freshman Kalan Miller also had an outstanding day as he put together his second straight 100-yard receiving game. Miller hauled in 6 passes for a team-high 105 yards and one touchdown. 

Defensively Rockford was led by the trio of Michael Watson (Schaumburg, Ill.), Jose Robles (Round Lake, Ill.) and Jacob Cremeens (Roscoe, Ill.). Watson finished with a game-high 15 tackles and 1 pass breakup. Robles had a career-high 9 tackles and a fumble recovery. Cremeens also recorded 9 tackles including a tackle for loss and 0.5 sack.

The RU football team returns to action next Saturday, October 15 at Concordia University Chicago. Kickoff is set for 1:00 PM.