Lions tamed by huge first quarter for Falcons

Paul Peterson/For the Gazette Finlandia quarterback DeLlontae Johnson (11) fires a pass during Saturday's game versus Concordia (Wis.) at McAfee Field.

HANCOCK — Take away the first quarter of Saturday’s college football game between the Concordia College Falcon and the Finlandia Lions, and you would have had a tightly-contested game.

Unfortunately for the Lions, football is comprised of four quarters and the visiting Falcons easily took control of the contest with three first-quarter scores in posting a 31-3 victory.

“I thought we played pretty decent defense over the last three quarters,” Lions interim coach Travis Wiltzius said. “But they (Falcons) played very well in the first quarter.”

Falcons quarterback Aaron Nixon was a red-hot in the first 15 minutes at McAfee Field, He tossed four touchdown passes and was on target with most of his tosses throughout the day.

For the game, Nixon was good on 26-of-35 passes for 310 yards. Two the scoring passes went to Jake Riportella, including one in that first-quarter offensive blitz.

That resulted in a 21-0 lead and the Lions could never get close to the rest of the way.

The locals did play much better on defense after that, allowing just one further scoring pass by Nixon and a field goal by Jacob Mason.

The Lions got their only points in the second quarter on a 33-yard field goal by Avery Huibregtse.

Wiltzius was most concerned about the inability of his offense to convert third down chances.

“We moved the ball at times, but couldn’t keep drives going. That hindered us,” he said. “We have to be more consistent.”

Quarterback DeLlontae Johnson and tailback Eric Kostreva had decent days for the Lions.

Johnson combined for 182 yards passing and running, while Kostreva, the Michigan Tech transfer, rushed for 38 yards and caught five passes for 49 more yards.

“I thought both of them did pretty well,” Wiltzius noted. “Eric Kostreva is a good back and he’s going to help us as the season goes on.”

The lone scoring for Finlandia was set up a 47-yard kickoff return by Josh Eve that took the ball inside Falcons territory.

The defense of Concordia stopped the drive at their own 18-yard line, forcing the field goal by Huibregtse.

Defensively, Anthony Young, who led Finlandia with 13 tackles, also had an interception along with Kyle Huskey.

Dillion Hueckstaedt (Baraga) came up with eight tackles.

“It was encouraging to see that (interceptions),” Wiltzius said. “I liked the way the whole team stepped up in the second half.”

Finlandia travels to Ripon College to face the Red Hawks on Saturday.


Concordia 21 0 7 3 – 31

Finlandia 0 3 0 0 – 3

First quarter

CU – Jake Riportella 2 pass from Aaron Nixon (Mason kick)

CU – Isaiah Tennette 12 pass from Nixon (Mason kick)

CU – Josh Sanders 20 pass from Nixon (Mason kick)

Second quarter

FU – Avery Huibregtse 33 FG

Third quarter

CU – Riportella 20 pass from Nixon (Mason kick)

Fourth quarter

CU – Mason 28 FG

Game stats: First downs CU 23, FU 10; Rushing: CU 130; FU 67; Passing: CU 324; FU 67.