CRETE – Doane’s defensive backs have been ballhawks this season.
The Tigers have snagged six interceptions through their first three games, tying No. 2 Morningside and No. 5 Northwestern College for most INTs in the GPAC Conference.
Senior safety and Seward native Seth Majerus is used to looking for passes downfield. He hasn’t had a pick since his sophomore season in 2016. But last week, Majerus caught his first two touchdown passes at the college level in Doane’s 44-13 win over Jamestown in Crete last Saturday in the Tigers’ home opener.
“This last weekend, my number was called a couple of times,” Majerus said. “We basically ran the same play both times. The second one, we ran it with a motion, but I kind of snuck back there both times.”
The goal line package with Majerus bunched tight to the line of scrimmage as a receiver is fairly new, but head coach Chris Bessler had run similar packages in the past.
“We had put a short-yardage personnel package together offensively,” Bessler said. “We had several defensive players that were actually on the field at the same time. It was just a new wrinkle that Coach (Anthony) Dunn, our offensive coordinator and our offensive staff, and it obviously came with a good result.”
While the touchdowns were nice, Majerus hopes to snag a pick for his own soon. Doane had four INTs at Friends on Aug. 25 and two more at Dordt on Sept. 15, but none against Jamestown.
“It’s really exciting seeing your teammates come down with them,” Majerus said. “You always want to come down with an interception every now and then. So, I think my time is coming. As long as we keep doing our job on the back end, I know that those will come.
“We didn’t have any turnovers (against Jamestown), so that was the low point. But, we executed in other areas of the game, so it turned out well for us.”
Majerus’ senior season has already been memorable, though. He blocked a field goal late in the first quarter against the Jimmies, allowing fellow senior and Crete native A.J. Allen to run the ball back 52 yards and put the Tigers ahead 14-0.
That blocked kick halted a 15-play, 53-yard drive that had taken 8:42 off the clock.
“I’ve been on that field goal block unit for awhile,” Majerus said. “I know that’s something Coach Bessler has really taken pride it. Every year, we’ve blocked a handful of field goals, and I guess it was just my turn to get my hands on one.”
Doane certainly likes to block kicks. The Tigers blocked six last season, seven in 2016 and eight in 2014.
When Majerus’ number is called again on the field goal blocking unit, or in goal line situations, or at his familiar safety position, the goal isn’t to rack up a certain number of touchdowns, blocks or picks.
Rather, he hopes the younger players will learn to follow his example.
“If I’m helping a lot of the young guys that have a lot of skill, but maybe not so much experience, I think that feels like an accomplishment for me if I can lead our defense to be one of the top defenses in the nation.”
Doane (3-0, 2-0 GPAC) goes back on the road Saturday to face the No. 5 Northwestern College Red Raiders (4-0, 2-0 GPAC).
Kickoff from De Valois Stadium in Orange City, IA is set for 1:30 p.m. Pregame coverage begins at 1 p.m. on Ol’ Red 99.5 with the “Doane Tailgate Pregame Show.”
Northwestern, who finished 10-2 last season, beat Doane in Crete 31-24 last season. The Tigers turned the ball over six times in the loss.
You can follow Tommy on Twitter @Tommy_NCN.