Zach Debeltz weaves his way through traffic on his way to a 74-yard punt return TD in CC's 24-17 win over Willamette.
Cobbers Debelt(z) #8 Willamette 24-17








#8 Willamette



Game 1:

Sept. 5, 2009

1 p.m.

Jake Christiansen Stadium

Moorhead, Minn.




- Recap
- Box Score

- Picture Gallery
- Audio Interview
(Head Coach Terry Horan - 4:11)



Courtesy of, Release: September 5, 2009

Concordia vs. Willamette Box Score - Now Online!


1st - 14:11 - WU - Lowe 38 yd fumble recovery (Rowan kick)
1st - 01:16 - CC - Justin Branter 1 yd run (Carl Hauser kick)
2nd - 09:16 - CC - Andrew Larson 2 yd run (Hauser kick)
2nd - 01:51 - CC - Carl Hauser 21 yd field goal
2nd - 00:18 - CC - Z.Debeltz 74 yd punt return (Hauser kck)
4th - 08:50 - WU - Rowan 24 yd field goal
4th - 02:47 - WU - Brandon Whitman 4 yd run (Rowan kick)


Key Play of the Game:
Cobber junior Zach Debeltz returned a punt 74 yards for a touchdown with only :18 left to go in the first half. Debeltz' crisscross scamper completed a 10-point scoring spree for the Cobbers in the final 1:51 of the second period. During that time Concordia pushed a 14-7 lead into a 24-7 margin.

The Quote:
Cobber quarterback
Andrew Larson on the play of the Concordia defense:Those guys are just nasty. You can’t ask for more plays than that. The plays they made today just won the game, definitely.”

The Leader:
Who else? Junior defensive back Zach Debeltz returned a punt for touchdown and also had two interceptions in the game. And to top things off, he also had a game-high 9.0 tackles and one pass break up.


MOORHEAD, Minn. (09/05/09)-- It wasn't the way the Cobbers wanted to start the game, but it certainly was the way they wanted to finish as Concordia scored 24 consecutive points in the first half and downed No.8-ranked Willamette 24-17 in Moorhead on Saturday. The victory avenges last year's season-opening 35-21 loss to the Bearcats in Salem, Ore.

The Cobbers fumbled on the second play of the game from the line of scrimmage and watched as Bearcat defensive end Cory Lowe scampered 38 yards to give Willamette a 6-0 lead just :49 into the opening period.

The turnover was an eerie reminder of last year's three-game slide at the end of the year that cost the Cobbers the MIAC title and was one of head coach Terry Horan's big points of emphasis heading into 2009.

After Concordia went three and out on the next series, the Cobber defense came up with probably the biggest play of the game when they forced a fumble after Willamette had a second-and-five situation at the Concordia 20-yard line. Senior defensive back Xavier Carroll stripped the ball and Troy Henne fell on the ball to give the Cobbers a huge break.

Concordia senior quarterback Andrew Larson then engineered a 17-play, 72-yard touchdown drive that ate up 7:41 and harkened back to the days of 2004 and 2005 when CC routinely went on long power drives on their way to back-to-back NCAA appearances. The touchdown drive was capped by a 1-yard plunge from senior fullback Justin Brantner.

The scoring drive ate up most of the first quarter and then the Cobber defense took over until the final five minutes of the game. Concordia did not allow a first down to the high-powered Willamette offense in the second quarter and third quarters and only allowed 52 yards of total offense in the middle two periods of play. In the second frame the Bearcats could only muster 11 total yards and then were held to 41 in the third period.

During that decisive stretch, the Cobber offense held the ball for 16:41 and ground out 34 plays for 192 of the team's 265 total offensive yards for the game.

The most decisive stretch of the game came at the end of the first half when Concordia posted 10 points in the final 1:51 of the period. After Larson gave CC a 14-7 lead at 9:16 of the second quarter, senior kicker Carl Hauser connected on a 21-yard field goal. The Cobber defense then forced a punt after Willamette gained one first down but then threw two incomplete passes and were sacked at their own 32-yard line.

Concordia junior Zach Debeltz then turned in the play of the game on the ensuing punt. Debeltz took the Willamette kick at his own 26-yard line and then went left, right and center as he wove his way up the field, through the defense and into the end zone for a 74-yard punt return touchdown. It was the second longest punt return for a TD in school history and longest since 2002 when Bobby Clark went 70 yards against Hamline.

The third quarter was a struggle for both offenses as the teams started show the wear and tear from a hot afternoon. Neither team scored in the third period nor did either team o get the ball past the opponent's 45-yard line.

The fourth quarter was more of the same until Larson fumbled on his own 18-yard line. The Cobber defense then came up with another huge stand as they held the Bearcats to only three yards and forced WU to settle for a field goal at the 8:50 mark.

Willamette then held the Cobbers and went on a 65-yard, 10-play drive capped off by a Brandon Whitman 4-yard TD run. Whitman was the team's backup quarterback and entered the game after WU starting QB Ryan Whitcomb rolled his ankle early in the third quarter.

The scoring drive finished at 2:47 and the Cobbers were able to hold onto the ball for six plays and used up all but :09 on the game clock. Willamette's pair of desperation long pass attempts were knocked down by the Cobber defense and CC held on for the seven-point win.

Debeltz turned out to be the player of the game as he added a pair of interceptions to his 74-yard punt return. He also had a team-high 11 tackles. Fellow secondary mate Xavier Carroll also came up with an interception as CC forced four turnovers.

For the game, Concordia outgained the Bearcats 265-229 in total offense. The Cobber's senior running back Justin Brantner led all players with 69 rushing yards. Larson was 6-for-14 for 98 yards in the air and also added 60 yards on the ground.

Willamette was led by senior tailback Deon Horne who rushed for 44 yards on 12 carries. Wide receiver Scott Schoettgen made a game-high four catches for 59 yards. Defensively, Lowe had a pair of fumble recoveries to go along with 4.5 tackles. Andrew Ross recorded a game-high 12 tackles.

Concordia will travel to Valley City, N.D. next weekend to play Valley City State on Saturday, Sept. 12 at 1:30 p.m.