2010 ends with 24-10 win
Nick Merlino (23) congratulates Walt Labuz after one of his two TDs on Saturday
Nick Merlino (23) congratulates Walt Labuz after one of his two TDs on Saturday
Mon, Nov. 15, 2010 - [Football]

The Loras College football team closed the 2010 season with a 24-10 win over the Luther Norse on Saturday in the Rock Bowl and sent their 19 seniors out with a victory in the process.

Ryan Baez carried the ball 34 times for 125 yards and Walt Labuz caught four passes for 120 yards to lead the Duhawks to their fifth win of 2010.

The Duhawks deferred to the second half and quickly forced the Norse into their first 3-and-out of the day. On the first play from scrimmage for the Loras offense quarterback Vaughn Gesing connected with Labuz for an 80 pass over the middle for a touchdown. Labuz caught the ball near midfield and headed for the far corner of the end zone to make it 6-0. Tyler Wilker converted the extra point.

Luther kicker Seth Streeter made it 7-1 with six minutes remaining in the first quarter when he knocked a 32-yard field goal through the west uprights of the Rock Bowl.

Matt Hillard extended the lead late in the first quarter after a Tommy Jahnke interception was returned to the two yard line. Hillard crossed the goal line on the first play and extended the lead to 14-3.

A scoreless second quarter included one interception by each team, including Jahnke's second of the day.

Luther struck first in the third quarter, scoring their only touchdown of the day after Trevor Theobold's second pick of the afternoon. Five straight running plays ended with a Ryan Monroe 2-yard touchdown run to get Luther within four points at 14-10.

With momentum on the visitors' side, Loras quickly shifted things back in their favor on the ensuing drive.

Ryan Baez rushed the ball four straight time to get the Duhawks into the red zone. The second of those rushes was a 40-yard effort up the Loras sidelines. Walt Labuz capped the drive with an acrobatic and spirited catch along the side of the end zone to give the Duhawks 11-point lead back.

Loras once again took control of the clock in the fourth quarter - holding the ball for nearly 11 of the 15 minutes. Tyler Wilker's 25-yard field goal with two minutes left was the only score of the final frame and essentially closed the door on any Luther comeback.

The Loras defense held Luther to 200 yards of total offense and just 2.8 yards per play. They finished with four sacks, three interceptions (Nick Lloyd added a late one to seal the victory), and one fumble recovery on a hit by Nate Suchomel on Chris Reynolds that jarred the ball loose. Ben Coleman recovered for Loras.

Prior to the win, the Duhawks honored their 19 seniors in a ceremony involving their families, teammates, and coaches. Tommy Jahnke, Andrew Gall, Nick Lloyd, Michael Hutchins, John Ingersoll, Pat O'Malley, Michael Schaefer, Walt Labuz, Joe Gruben, Ben Driscoll, Ryan Piechocinski, John Blesz, Rudy Rinas, Shawn Irwin, Dominic LaFace, Nick Merlino, Dustin Chapman, Kile Beaver, and Cody Snitker each played their final game as Duhawks.

They left the Rock Bowl winners in their final game as Duhawks.

Loras completed the year 5-5 and 4-4 in the Iowa Conference, tied for fourth place in the standings with the Norse, but victorious in the head-to-head matchup.