The Saint Francis Cougars lost the game Saturday, and they lost two of their best players.
Or, in the opinion of coach Kevin Donley, it was actually the other way around.
“Well, we lost Antoin Campbell and Josh Miller early. That’s our one-two punch, offensively. We didn’t do real well after that,” Donley said via phone, after a 23-7 loss to Grand View in Des Moines, Iowa.
Campbell, a running back, had seven touchdowns in the first two weeks of the season, but left the game with a knee injury after only five carries for 16 yards.
Miller, a quarterback, was the reigning NAIA Offensive Player of the Week, and he’d thrown for 573 yards and two touchdowns in the first two weeks. He aggravated an ankle injury after completing 3 of 6 passes for 29 yards Saturday.
“We were struggling to get it going after that,” said Donley, who wouldn’t give an update on their conditions. “I’m not going to say anything until I hear from the doctors.”
David Yoder saw the bulk of the snaps after Miller went out; Yoder completed 9 of 14 passes for 111 yards and a touchdown to Steven Espinoza, after the Cougars were down 23-0.
Without Campbell, the second-ranked Cougars mustered only 28 rushing yards, led by Garrett Harvey’s 26 on 11 carries.
“We couldn’t get in sync offensively,” Donley said. “They’re a good football team. We needed to fire on all cylinders today and we lost. They’re an outstanding football team. I would have liked to have four quarters with the best of our players.”
Seventh-ranked Grand View (4-0, 1-0 in MSFA) was led quarterback Derek Fulton, who completed 34 of 47 passes for 306 yards and one interception.
Ben Hurley made 3 of 4 field goals, the longest from 36 yards.
“(Injuries), it’s part of the game. It happens. You have to be tough enough to recover,” Donley said. “You’ve got to be able to get tougher when your back’s up against the wall. Adversity, you have to find ways to fight back. Defensively, we played hard.”
Kory Stamps had 13 solo tackles for the Cougars (2-1, 0-1).