Wildcats finish successful season with playoff loss to nation’s top team

  • December 4, 2023
  • David Leder

The CWU football team completed its most successful campaign in more than a decade on Saturday, falling to the No. 1 team in the nation in the quarterfinals of the NCAA Division II Championships.

The Wildcats hung tough with the Colorado School of Mines in the first half, scoring twice in the second quarter to tie the game at 14-14. But the Orediggers proved too strong down the stretch, going on a 24-0 run to end CWU’s valiant postseason run by a score of 38-14.

Darius Morrison caught a pair of touchdown passes from quarterback Kennedy McGill as the ‘Cats finished the season at 9-4 overall. After a 7-3 regular season, CWU won its first two NCAA tournament games, defeating Western Colorado 16-13 in overtime on November 18 and Bemidji State 21-17 on November 25—after trailing 17-0 in the first quarter.

tanner-volk-main-1.pngHead coach Chris Fisk said he is hopeful the Wildcats can carry over momentum from their deepest postseason run since 2009.

“I think it has a tremendous impact on recruiting because I think generally athletes want to go play for a winner,” he said. “We’ve certainly been able to do that for the last five years.”

Among the players the Wildcats hope to see back next year is junior safety Tanner Volk, who led NCAA Division II with 13 interceptions this season and recorded 124 tackles. The national player of the year finalist also contributed a key fumble recovery in Saturday’s loss.

Volk was named the Super Region 4 Defensive Player of the Year and was one of four Wildcats named to the All-Region team. He was joined by second-team selections Slade Edwards (offensive line), Tyler Flanagan (running back), and Brett McCalla (linebacker).

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