Dordt keeps playoff hopes alive with win over Dakota Wesleyan

Defenders win 23-12 to finish 8-3
Defenders beat Tigers 23-12
Published: Nov. 12, 2023 at 2:07 AM CST
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SIOUX CENTER, IA (Dakota News Now) - A late touchdown by the Defenders pushed them to a 23-12 victory Saturday afternoon over Dakota Wesleyan, November 11 in Sioux Center, Iowa in the regular season finale for both teams.

Nick Wellen raced 72 yards for a touchdown to put the game away with 3:45 left and gave the Defenders a two-score lead after Wesleyan had cut the lead to 17-12. Brendan Pieper scored on a three-yard touchdown run with 10:16 left in the first quarter to end a 39 yard drive after Dordt’s defense limited Wesleyan to three-plays and a punt. Dordt added another score on a Kaden Harken 40 yard catch and run to go up 14-0.  Wesleyan got on the board as it capitalized on an interception near midfield and settled for a field goal as time expired in the half.

Wesleyan added another field goal midway through the third period but Leinen knocked his second field goal of the day through with 3:23 left in the quarter for a 17-6 Dordt lead.

From there the defenses took over with Wesleyan scoring its only touchdown on an eight-play, 70 yard drive to cut the lead to 17-12 but Wellen’s run less than a minute later made the final 23-12.


  • Dordt gained 108 yards passing and 282 rushing for 390 total.
  • Wesleyan passed for 202 and ran for 73 for 275 total.
  • Kolson Kruse was 4-8 passing for 78 yards and Kade McDaniel was 2-7 passing for 30 yards.
  • Nick Wellen ran for 153 yards on 17 carries and Preston McCoy ran 10 times for 70 yards.
  • Isaac Looker caught three passes for 60 yards for Dordt and Kaden Harken had two catches for 40 yards.
  • Jamin Arend ran 22 times for Dakota Wesleyan and had 66 yards.
  • Austin Lee was 21-34 passing for the Tigers for 202 yards and Aren had six catches for 69 yards.
  • Dordt’s Abraham Stoesz had 13 tackles and a sack and Drew Daum had eight stops.
  • Derke Paup and Doug Walls each had a sack as Dordt had four total.
  • Grant Hixson picked off his third pass of the season to end Dakota Wesleyan’s final drive.
  • Dordt is 8-2 overall and finished in a tie for second place in the GPAC. Dakota Wesleyan closes the year 6-5 overall and 5-5 in the conference.


Dordt will find out Sunday, November 12 if it qualifies for the 20-team NAIA National Championship field with an at-large berth.