New Life football: Eagles lose close battle with Concordia Academy in regular-season finaleNew Life Academy finished its first regular season against Tri-Metro competition with a home loss to Concordia Academy by a score of 26-14 on Wednesday, Oct. 19, at Woodbury High School.
By: Patrick Johnson, Sports Editor, South Washington County Bulletin
New Life Academy finished its first regular season against Tri-Metro competition with a home loss to Concordia Academy by a score of 26-14 on Wednesday, Oct. 19, at Woodbury High School.
The Eagles finished the season 2-3 in the league and 3-5 overall.
In the game, New Life parlayed two of its best drives of the season in the first half into a 14-13 lead. Jordan Nieuwsma again led the rushing attack with 73 yards and finished the first drive, a 12-play sequence, with an 8-yard untouched burst through the defense’s right side. Jayme Nelson, who had an excellent game on both offense and defense, according to NLA head coach Paul Mork, and Jacob Jones opened the hole while fullback Max Mattila cleared out the linebackers on the play. Luke Mikhail, who has handled kickoffs, punts, and extra points well throughout the year notched his first of two extra points on the evening following the score.
However, Concordia (5-3; 3-2 Tri-Metro) marched back and moved within a point in the second quarter but missed their extra point kick. At this junction, the Eagles embarked on another long drive, this one 13 plays in length, culminated by a Max Mattila 28-yard touchdown pass to Cameron Mehls. Mehls made an outstanding leaping, contested catch in the end zone for the score.
In the second half, the visiting Beacons got their rushing attack functioning, taking advantage of the Eagles’ being depleted by injuries at outside linebacker and at defensive tackle. The results were two drives for touchdowns and a 2-point conversion for a come-from-behind victory at 26-14.
Nieuwsma, Mattila, Matt Michaud and Matt Etzweiler again performed on both sides of the ball. Cody Linton with several good catches at tight end and Dan LeMay’s blocking on the offensive line made major contributions to the attack, according to Mork.
The battle for third place in the Tri-Metro East Division between NLA and Concordia was a prelude to Section 4AAA playoffs as the same two teams played last night in tournament play at Concordia’s field, after the Bulletin went to press. Concordia is third seed and the Eagles the sixth seed. An NLA win would pit the Eagles against the winner of St. Paul Johnson and Minnehaha Academy at that team’s site on Saturday, Oct. 29.
“We were pleased with many aspects of the game, but, of course, not satisfied with the score,” Mork said. “We will get two of our starters back from the injury shelf for playoffs, and, hopefully, that will strengthen our defense in the rematch. Concordia has a good team.”