Second-half surge carries QU football team to third stright victory heading into GLVC play


Quincy University linebacker Peyton Plunkett, left, pressures Northern Michigan quarterback Mariano Valenti during Saturday's game at QU Stadium. | Matt Schuckman photo

QUINCY — An air of frustration in the Quincy University football team’s locker room seemed inevitable.

Twice during the second quarter of Saturday’s game against Northern Michigan, the Hawks forced and recovered fumbles that gave them possession at the Wildcats’ 27-yard line both times. Neither time did Quincy score.

First, the Hawks missed a 43-yard field goal. Then, they turned the ball over on downs. So a 14-10 halftime advantage could have been much larger.

“We’ve done a much better job this year of playing team football,” QU coach Gary Bass said. “We’re not allowing anything to affect us negatively. Our defense gets some turnovers in the first half, but we don’t score on them, which we need to. We had done such a good job of that the first three games. We have to make sure we take advantage when teams make mistakes.

“But we didn’t let that cripple us. We came back in the second half and made plays in the second half.”

The Hawks scored on all five of their second-half possessions, pulling away for a 45-27 victory at QU Stadium that sends them into Great Lakes Valley Conference play with a 3-1 record and riding a three-game win streak.

“We’re going to keep competing, keep going hard in practice,” QU junior defensive lineman Dale Dambek said with the Hawks scheduled to face Southwest Baptist at 1 p.m. next Saturday. “We’re ready.”

A defensive stand gave the offense the boost it needed to pull away Saturday.

Northern Michigan took the opening kickoff of the third quarter and drove 83 yards to the Quincy 2-yard line. On second down, Hawks safety Joseph Webb stuffed Wildcats running back Brock Franklin for a 1-yard loss. On third down, QU linebacker Peyton Plunkett pressured Northern Michigan quarterback Mariano Valenti into an incompletion.

The Wildcats settled for Michael Karlen’s 20-yard field goal to trim the lead to 14-13.

“We talked about being consistent in the second half,” said Dambek, who had two tackles and a sack. “We made some checks in our alignment. We stuck to it and got the job done.”

So did the offense. The Hawks answered the field goal with an eight-play, 73-yard drive that culminated with Drake Davis’ 4-yard touchdown run.

It put the first-half struggles to bed.

“That’s a great thing to see,” said Davis, QU’s starting quarterback who transferred from Northern Michigan during the offseason. “When bad things happen, you get down on yourself. You don’t fold. That’s the sign of great teams. When something bad happens, you just keep moving forward to the next play.”

The offense never took its foot off the pedal. JQ Brown scored on a 5-yard run, Michael Owens kicked a 35-yard field goal, Marlin Washington turned a pass over the middle into a 69-yard touchdown and Travis Isaac capped the scoring with an 8-yard TD grab.

Davis completed 25 of 40 passes for 352 yards with three touchdowns and one interception, while also rushing 11 times for 53 yards. Issac caught eight passes for 107 yards.

“Offensively, we got our footing,” Bass said. “When we did, we kind of broke through and kept scoring.”

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