Korfmacher Sets TU Wins Mark with Senior Day Triumph
UPLAND, Ind. – On a day spent celebrating 70 years of Taylor football and honoring a 20-man senior class, head coach Ron Korfmacher notched his 49th win via TU’s 21-13 victory over Missouri Baptist and became the all-time wins leader for the Purple and Gold.
Korfmacher moved one win ahead of TU Hall of Famer, Bob Davenport, who led Taylor to 48 victories and four Hoosier Collegiate Conference Championships from 1957 through 1968.
Taylor also provided a glimpse into the future, as true-freshman signal caller, Zac Saltzgaber, sparked the Trojan offense in his first collegiate start. Saltzgaber rushed for all three of TU’s scores, averaging 5.3 yards per carry on 10 tries, including scoring rumbles of 13, five and two yards.
Saltzgaber also completed 13 passes for 134 yards, including a perfectly thrown 38-yard connection with Kyle Kempton and added a pass for a two-point conversion.
Josh Saltzgaber also provided a lift for the Taylor attack, rushing 13 times for 61 yards out of the Trojan backfield, while Grant Hohlbein, Kempton and Daniel Boy combined for 13 receptions.
Jace LaMunyon led the defense with 11 tackles and a pair of pass breakups, Cameron Gray notched eight tackles and recovered a fumble to close the game and Dovi Gamble ended with seven hits and his eighth collegiate interception. Jackson Bronkema recorded TU’s lone tackle for lost yardage, stripping the ball away from MBU on the final play of the contest to preserve the win.
Austin Gunderson also turned in a solid day in the TU punting game, averaging 40.8 yards over five attempts and pinning the Spartans inside their own 20-yard line three times.
Taylor outgained Missouri Baptist (3-8, 1-5 MSFA) by a 364-238 margin with 186 yards coming on the ground, as TU dominated the clock with over 36 minutes of possession and converted eight-of-18 third downs and three-of-five fourth downs.
The action took a while to pick up, as both sides started slowly and battled to a 7-0 Taylor lead at the intermission. TU held MBU to 2.0 yards per play over the first two quarters, as the Spartans completed one pass the entire half and managed only 52 total yards of offense.
That number doubled on the first possession of the third quarter, as Missouri Baptist used an 11-play drive to march 65 yards for a game-tying score and the two sides traded punches for the duration of the afternoon.
A 16-yard punt return from Jeff Kaczmarek set up TU’s counter and eventual game-winning score, as Taylor opened a drive late in the third quarter at the MBU 32-yard line and punched it in 10 plays later on Saltzgaber’s five-yard rush for a 13-7 edge, before Saltzgaber recovered a dropped snap on the point-after attempt and hit Kempton for a two-point conversion and the 15-7 lead early into the fourth quarter.
The Spartans struck back on the next play from scrimmage, finding the end zone on a 70-yard completion, but Bronkema broke up the two-point try to protect a 15-13 TU lead and Saltzgaber engineered another scoring drive on the ensuing possession to make it 21-13 with 10:20 to play.
The two sides traded punts over the next several minutes, before MBU marched inside the Taylor 10-yard line with under a minute to play and had three tries from the two-yard line that were stopped by the Taylor defense.
Bronkema and Gray ended MBU’s last hope, as Bronkema stripped the ball away from the Spartan carrier and Gray pounced on it as time expired to seal the 21-13 victory.
Taylor closed the 2017 campaign at 4-6 overall and 2-4 in the MSFA Mideast League. The Trojans will graduate 20 seniors that regularly covered 10 starting spots.