Cedrick Phillips connected with T.J. Brown for a late go-ahead touchdown as (RV) Sterling College edged Northwestern College 28-21 in a match-up played today at DeValois Stadium in Orange City, Iowa. Today's match-up was year two of the GPAC vs KCAC Challenge.
The first ever match-up between the two teams was close throughout and was not decided until the final seconds.
Tied at 21 and with Sterling facing a 3rd-and-10, Phillips rolled to his right and hit Brown in stride with a perfect spiral for a 48-yard touchdown pass with 3:26 left to play. It was the second time the duo hooked up and was the fourth touchdown of the day for Phillips.
Northwestern managed to move the ball inside the Warriors' 30-yard line on its final two possessions after Sterling's go-ahead score but was stopped on fourth down each time.
By the numbers, Northwestern had the edge, outgaining the Warriors 476-361 in total yards. The Red Raiders totaled 23 first downs compared to 19 for Sterling and had nearly a 10-minute advantage in time of possession.
Senior quarterback Jonathan Kodama threw for a career-high 327 yards, completing 27-of-49 passes and two touchdowns to lead the Red Raider offense. J.C. Koerselman had a big day as a receiver, totaling a career-best 11 catches for 132 yards and T.J. Spykstra had five catches for 95 yards and two scores.
Both defenses controlled play early until Sterling broke the scoreless game with a four-yard touchdown run by Phillips with 16 seconds left in the first quarter.
Following a Red Raider punt, Sterling made it 14-0 when Phillips connected with tight end Nathan Frame for a 42-yard touchdown pass, completing a six-play, 76-yard drive at the nine-minute mark.
Northwestern responded with its first scoring drive, marching 75-yards on eight plays, capped by a beautiful 40-yard touchdown pass and catch from Kodama to Spykstra with 5:49 left in the first half. The half ended with Sterling leading 14-7.
The Red Raiders tied the game at 14 with a six-play, 75-yard drive at the start of the third quarter, finished off with another Kodama to Spykstra touchdown pass and catch, this time from 35 yards.
The score remained tied at 14 until Sterling, taking advantage of a Red Raider turnover, punched it in for a 19-yard touchdown pass from Phillips to Brown at the beginning of the fourth quarter. The Warriors converted a pair of 3rd-and-longs and a fourth-and-two on the drive.
Once again, Northwestern responded immediately and tied the game at 21 on a 12-yard run by Jevon Jackson. The Red Raiders converted a pair of third downs on the drive as Kodama hooked up with Reggie Carter for a 15-yard catch and Paul Hutson ran one for yards.
Sterling, however, received the ensuing kickoff with six minutes on the clock and began the game-winning drive on its own 30-yard line, going 70 yards on six plays and ending with the final touchdown from Phillips to Brown.
Jackson led Northwestern's rushing attack, totaling 14 carries for 83 yards and a score in his Red Raider debut.
Phillips led Sterling with 304 yards of total offense (31 yards rush, 273 yards pass) and accounted for four touchdowns. Brown caught 10 passes for 167 yards and two scores while also leading the ground game with 39 yards.
Jerod Hansen sparked the Raider D with two interceptions and Donovan Weldon recorded 6.5 stops. Jacob Jenness totaled five tackles and one quarterback hurry.
Northwestern, now 0-1, will travel to 21st-ranked Dickinson State (N.D.) next weekend.