The field goal-kicking conditions were less than ideal at Rollie Greeno Field on Saturday. Add in losing the team's starting placeholder and defensive engine to a broken leg in the first quarter, and it was almost as if the powers that be had an ax to grind with University of Jamestown football and its first-year head coach Brian Mistro.
But Mistro and the Jimmies are finally winners. UJ's Daniel Deck snapped a clean ball to backup holder Izaak Myles, and sophomore kicker Sean Fenelon booted home a game-winning 22-yard field goal on Jamestown's fourth possession of overtime, lifting the Jimmies to a walk-off, 13-10 homecoming victory over the Concordia University Bulldogs.
"It just so happened the stars aligned," Mistro said. "We're on the left hash -- it's probably the only place where there hasn't been football played all game. Ike flips it around, gets that thing down and Sean kicks it out.
"For the first time this year I felt like our guys wanted it more and it showed."
Saturday's driving rain reduced UJ's grass field to a bowl of Campbell's Chunky Soup and standout sophomore receiver Garrett Mitchell brought a spoon to overtime.
Tied at 3-3 after regulation, Mitchell hauled in a 22-yard reception on a fourth-and-13 and toe-tapped out of bounds at the Concordia 6, setting up UJ's only touchdown of the game. Three plays later, on a third-and-goal from the 14, UJ quarterback Jordan Mann went back to Mitchell, who hauled in a contested catch between the hash marks and spun into the end zone for the score.
UJ took command 10-3.
"Coach Frederico (UJ quarterbacks coach), he always talks about making plays and I got the opportunity and I just took advantage of it," Mitchell said. "It's not just for us, it's for the whole community. It's for the alumni coming back. It's a great feeling, we're going to celebrate it."
Concordia tied the game at 10-10 on its next possession, which starts on the 25-yard line in OT. Junior running back Ryan Durdon bowled into the end zone from 1 yard out, and both the Bulldogs and the Jimmies would miss field goal attempts from 27 and 32 yards, respectively, on the next two possessions.
Fenelon went wide-left and short from 32, a kick that would've ended the game.
"My feet got stuck," Fenelon said. "We went too early and I told Decker, our snapper, to just calm down, let's do what we do and we'll get it done."
Mann was intercepted by CU's A.J. Jenkins on a fourth-and-15 before the Jimmie defense denied Durdon and the Bulldogs a rushing first down on a fourth-and-1 from the 6. Back with possession of the football, Mitchell was able to draw a pass interference call on an outside route in the end zone, which set the Jimmies up with first-and-goal from the 6.
"The line gave good protection for Jordan," Mitchell said. "We did a double move, set it up on the outside. Realize, you know, muddy conditions. It's not gonna be the best ball so you gotta make adjustments (and) come back to it."
Three plays -- and 1 positive yard later -- the special team's battery of Fenelon, Deck and Myles were back on to attempt the game-winning field goal in the soup. The 22-yarder was a no-doubter.
"I almost went too early and I stopped myself, thank goodness," Fenelon said. "I made sure to get it up. I made sure they weren't going to touch it with their hands. It was the greatest feeling ever."
The contest took a solemn turn on the fourth play from scrimmage in quarter No. 1. Jamestown junior safety, and placeholder, Ross Monson was visibly in pain after breaking up a pass intended for Concordia's Cayden Beran near the Bulldogs' sideline. Monson said after the game he suffered a broken fibula and ligament damage to his lower left leg.
"I was in the hospital and the only thing I cared about the whole time was hearing the game," said Monson, whose 31 tackles is fourth-best on the team. "I'm just sitting here smiling and enjoying it because these guys deserved it. They really did and I'm proud of them."
Mistro said Monson will still be impacting the Jimmies' defense over the final five games.
"Regardless if he's on the field or not, he's still going to be the heart and soul," Mistro said. "You hate to lose a guy like that, but he's done enough for us as a program to where guys need to feed off what he's done in the past. That's just a great young man and I love him to death."
A 32-yard Fenleon field goal gave Jamestown an early 3-0 lead with 5:01 remaining in the first quarter. The score was set up by UJ's play-making senior cornerback Troy Stuard. Stuard stripped Durdon of the football deep in Bulldogs' territory, which was recovered by the Jimmies' Brooks Canfield. Senior linebacker Aundre Purnell led the Jimmies with 14 tackles.
"He wasn't just making tackles. He was making them feel tackles," Mistro said of Purnell. "It was guys stepping up when they needed to. We haven't seen that all year and we saw it today."
The Jimmies churned out 145 of its 190 yards by running through the slop. Junior running back Allen Jevning led the way, tallying 108 yards on 31 carries.
"We knew it was going to be like that," Jevning said. "22 personnel and run it over and over."
Concordia tied the game late in the third on a 27-yard field goal kicked by Jordan Spilinek. Neither team reached 200 yards of total offense, both teams punted six times and each lost a fumble. Concordia coach Patrick Daberkow declined to comment after the game.
"It was just an absolute mud ball," Mistro said. "Who was going to stay on their feet and who was going to possess the football was going to win the game, and I think our guys did a good job staying on their feet and making plays."
Plays that netted Mistro his first career head coaching victory. Jamestown (1-5, 1-3 GPAC) travels to face Doane University (3-3, 3-1) next Saturday in Crete, Nebraska.
"It felt like it was never going to come," Mistro laughed. "Our team goals are still the same. We need to be good people, we need to be accountable, we need to be passionate about being a Jimmie and we need to make sure we're doing our job. We did all four of those things today and it was good to see."
University of Jamestown 13, Concordia University 10 (4 OT)
NW 0 0 3 0 7 -- 10
UJ 3 0 0 0 10 -- 13
J, Sean Fenleon 32 field goal, 5:01.
C, Jordan Spilinek 27 field goal, 1:28.
J, Garrett Mitchell 14 pass from Jordan Mann (Fenelon kick).
C, Ryan Durdon 1 run (Spilinek kick).
J, Fenelon 22 field goal.
TOTAL YARDS: C, 198 (181 rushing). J, 190 (145 rushing).
PASSING: C, Jake Kemp 2-8-0 15, Wyatt Ehlers 1-3-0 2. J, Jordan Mann 3-8-1 44; Cade Torgerson 1-2-0 1.
RUSHING: C, Ryan Durdon 35-118, 14-43, Kemp 3-13, Devin Zeigler 1-3, Martin Solano 3-2, AJ Jenkins 1-2, Ehlers 8-(-2). J, Allen Jevning 31-108, Jimmy Hatch 15-29, Tanner Mathern 3-9, Mann 16-3, Torgerson 1-0, Barry Williams Jr. 1-(-1), James Newman 1-(-3).
RECEIVING: C, Cayden Beran 1-14, Horace Gordan 1-2, Durdon 1-1. J, Garrett Mitchell 3-37, Marcus Giles 1-8.
TACKLES LEADERS: C, Lane Napier 18, Chase Hammons 10, Peyton Mitchell 8. J, Aundre Purnell 14, Aaron Mack 11, Darrick Jones 10, Troy Stuard 7, Mitchell Swartz 7.
SACKS: C, Napier 2-17, Hammons 2-4, Michael Schomer 1-4. J, John Sullivan 1-6.
FUMBLE RECOVERIES: Horace Gordan 1-5. J, Brooks Canfield 1-4.
INTERCEPTIONS: AJ Jenkins 1-0.
RECORDS: Jamestown 1-5, 0-4. Concordia 2-3, 2-2 GPAC.