Dramatic Season-Opening OT Thriller

Sophomore Andy Gravdahl weaves his way through the La Crosse defense. He scored one of the two Cobber TDs on the day. (Photo courtesy of Vince Arnold)
Sophomore Andy Gravdahl weaves his way through the La Crosse defense. He scored one of the two Cobber TDs on the day. (Photo courtesy of Vince Arnold)

LA CROSSE, Wis. (9/07/19)---If the opening game of the year is a harbinger of things to come then the 2019 season will be filled with many exciting moments and a whole bunch of drama.

Concordia staged a last-minute comeback to tie Wis.-La Crosse 14-14 and force overtime before falling in the first extra session 21-14. The Cobbers trailed 14-7 with 1:18 left to go in the fourth quarter when senior Willie Julkes III blocked his second punt of the game. That gave Concordia the ball at the La Crosse 27-yard line and seven plays later quarterback Blake Kragnes found Matt Bye on a 12-yard,  back-shoulder pass in the end zone that brought CC within one point. Senior Alex Diaz converted the point after and the teams would head to overtime deadlocked at 14-14.

La Crosse had the ball first in the overtime period and scored on their fifth play after starting at the 25-yard line. The Cobbers then fumbled the ball on the very first play of their possession and the Eagles were able to fall on the ball to end the game.       

Concordia's first touchdown in the game gave CC a 7-0 lead midway through the second quarter and came courtesy of a 45-yard touchdown run from sophomore Andy Gravdahl. La Crosse would tie the game on the very next possession when they were able to connect on a 73-yard touchdown pass.

The Eagles took the lead towards the end of the third quarter when they went 86 yards in seven plays and scored on a 42-yard touchdown pass.

The Cobbers came away with 241 yards of total offense which included 155 rushing yards. La Crosse had 321 total yards with 251 coming through the air.

Concordia fumbled the ball three times and had one interception while La Crosse had one fumble in the game.

Kragnes went 6-for-22 for 86 passing yards and ran the ball 16 times for 32 yards.

Gravdahl only rushed the ball one time but came away with a game-high 45 passing yards. He also had three receptions for 17 yards. Logan Hatfield carried the ball 12 times and finished with 42 yards.

Bye had the other three catches for Concordia. He also had the one TD catch and ended the game with 69 receiving yards.

The senior linebacking tandem of Sam Michel and Alex Berg combined for 15 tackles. Michel had eight total with six solo tackles while Berg added seven total tackles.

Berg also stood out with his punting duties. He averaged 46.2 yards on his five punts and had three kicks finish with La Crosse getting possession inside their 20-yard line.

UP NEXT: Concordia will stay inside the WIAC for their second non-conference game. The Cobbers will host No.3-ranked Wis.-Whitewater on Saturday, Sept. 14 at 12 p.m. The Warhawks beat Dubuque 42-7 in their season opener on Saturday.