Morningside offense overpowers Midland in record smashing day
The (1) Morningside Mustangs football team had a huge offensive day in its 77-21 victory over the (RV) Midland Warriors. The win not only moved the team to 6-0 overall and 4-0 in the GPAC, but gave both Trent Solsma and Connor Niles new places in the Morningside record book.
In the first half of play, Solsma threw his 122nd career touchdown pass, besting Ryan Kasdorf’s record of 121. Kasdorf played for the Mustangs 2013-2015. By the end of the day, Solsma brought the number to 125. Solsma also threw seven touchdown passes in the game, which tied a record Ian Gilworth set twice in 2008 and Ryan Kasdorf also set twice in 2015. Solsma also tied his own record of 528 passing yards in a game, which he originally set in 2017 against Tabor.
Connor Niles was on the receiving end of three Solsma passing touchdowns, which aided him in setting a new single-game receiving record of 307 yards. That smashed the record that was first set by Trae Johnson in 2005 and tied by Beau Kildow in 2009.
The offense wasted no time in getting the Mustangs on the board. After Midland was forced to punt in its opening drive, it took two plays for Solsma to land a 74-yard touchdown pass in the hands of Niles. Midland would answer with a 48-yard run for a touchdown from Payton Nelson and a failed extra point attempt, and then it was all Mustangs the rest of the first half.
Solsma and Niles would connect three more times before the half, with Niles catching 44-, 83-, and 39-yard bombs from Solsma. Arnijae Ponder, who rushed for 103 yards on the day, added a touchdown. Bo Els also scored two touchdowns that helped bring the score to 49-6 in favor of the Mustangs at the half.
The Mustang offense would continue its march in the second half, though most of the starters exited the game in the third quarter. Bo Els added a third touchdown to his tally after catching a 21-yard pass from Solsma, and would finish the day with nine catches for 201 yards. Anthony Sims would run in two touchdowns for the Mustangs, with 79 yards on the ground for the day, and Ethan Stratman added a touchdown and rushed for 37 yards during the game.
Midland was able to respond with two more touchdowns. Dalton Tremayne scored on a 90-yard kickoff return, and Darrin Gentry nabbed a 36-yard pass from Payton Nelson.
Overall, the Mustangs had 606 passing yards and 226 rushing yards for a total offense of 832, compared to just 224 yards of total offense for the Warriors.
The Morningside defense continued its solid work after pitching two straight shutouts in previous matches. Joel Katzer had an interception and Seth Maitlen posted a sack. Klayton Nordeen led the team with 12 total tackles, followed by Jesse Faltys with 7 and Deion Clayborne with 6.
The Mustangs entered Saturday’s game leading the nation in passing offense and scoring defense. Solsma had the top spot in the country for both total offense and passing per game, and Connor Niles was second in the nation for receptions.
The Mustangs head back to Sioux City in preparation for their homecoming matchup against Doane (3-2, 2-2) next Saturday, Oct. 13, at 1 p.m.