SIOUX CENTER, IOWA (KCAU) – The journey to the Red Banner began across the country on Saturday for opening round play of the NAIA Football Championship Series, as #14 Dordt defeated Ottawa (KS) 35-7 in the Defenders’ first home playoff game and first postseason win in program history.

Defenders entered the day making their 2nd postseason appearance as a program and first ever meeting with the Braves.

It was Ottawa striking first midway in the first quarter as Wynton Ruth broke free for a 73-yard touchdown run to put the Braves ahead 7-0.

But the Defenders didn’t sulk. Later in the quarter, Brendan Pieper got the call and showed off the strength, bouncing off tackles and into the end zone for the 13 yard TD to tie it at 7-7.

Dordt kept it rolling in the second quarter. Kolson Kruse would run the right side option then pitch it to Pieper who found pay dirt again on the 22 yard TD run giving Dordt its first lead 14-7.

Under two minutes before the half Dordt was back in the red zone. Yet again, Pieper got the call and bullied his way in for his 3rd score. The sophomore running back finished the day with 110 rush yards and 4 total TDs in a monster performance towards the 35-7 win, creating history for a Dordt football program who’s only been around since 2008.

“It means so much especially being from Sioux Center. Seeing the history of Dordt through the years and to where we are now it’s just a testament to the coaching staff, to this team, to the university,” Dordt junior linebacker Tyler Wieringa said.

“It feels amazing I mean the win is absolutely huge. Coach Penner has been talking all week about “Keep Swinging’. It’s just a culture really,” Dordt sophomore running back Brendan Pieper said.

“I just think about workouts and team meetings and practices. The blood, sweat and tears that goes into making a day like this possible it’s not just coming out and playing hard for 60 minutes. It’s all the little things that add up and there’s not a better group of guys to accomplish this so I’m just proud I guess,” Dordt head coach Joel Penner said.


#14 Dordt at #1 Northwestern – 12pm CST (November 25)

#10 Morningside at #6 Indiana Wesleyan – 11am CST (November 25)