AUBURN — Colby Bliss stepped up for Lincoln Lutheran when it needed him most.
The 5-foot 7, 145-pound senior, spearheaded a 14-play, 80-yard game-winning drive, by darting 20 yards out of the wildcat formation for a touchdown with 6:13 to play in the Warriors’ 19-16 upset of Class C-1 No. 4 Auburn on Friday.
Lutheran (5-2) resorted to using the wildcat on the decisive drive, allowing Bliss to be the trigger man, after starting quarterback Cayden Bergt went down in the third quarter with a knee injury.
“We’ve had that (wildcat formation) in since last year in the playoffs,” said Bliss, who finished with 104 yards rushing on 25 carries. “With Cayden getting injured, we felt we could have success running it.
“I’ve got to give a shout out to my O-line. They did a great job giving me holes to run through.”
Bliss’ TD was the only second-half scoring for Lutheran, as the Warriors saw their 13-0 halftime lead disappear before the end of the third quarter.
The Bulldogs (6-1), who squandered three trips inside the red zone in the first half, found the end zone on their first two series of the third quarter.
Senior quarterback Drew Dixon ignited a sluggish offense, busting loose from 40-yards out for a score to cut the lead to 13-6.
Dixon added a 3-yard TD run on Auburn’s ensuing possession as well as a diving effort across the goal line on the two-point try to give the Bulldogs a 14-13 lead.
The Auburn defense forced a Lutheran safety on the next series. Warriors’ freshman quarterback Josh Duitsman was under heavy duress in his own end zone and his errant pass drew a flag for intentional grounding resulting in the two points.
Auburn coach Tony Janssen lamented his team’s slow start, while also praising his defense for its effort.
“We’ve had too many games where we come out without any fire,” Janssen said. “It finally burned us tonight against a good team. Our defense played phenomenal, but we can’t continue to have slow starts.
Even after Bliss’ TD, the Lutheran defense was forced to make a pair of stops to preserve the win.
Tyler Scholz recovered a fumble on Auburn’s second-to-last possession at Lutheran 46. And after forcing one more punt, the Bulldogs drove from their own 26 to the Warriors’ 10. After using their final timeout, Dixon was dropped after scrambling for 5 yards, and the Bulldogs couldn’t get off another snap.
LINCOLN LUTHERAN 19, AUBURN 16
LL--Bergt 11 run (Bergt kick)
LL--Bergt 4 run (kick failed)
A--Dixon 41 run (kick failed)
A--Dixon 3 run (Dixon run)
A--Safety, penalty in end zone
LL--Colby Bliss 20 run (run failed)
RUSHING--LL, Bliss 24-98, Bergt 10-49, Waldo 4-10, LeGrande 1-3, Duitsman 1-0. Aub, Dixon 23-186, Baily Darnell 16-49, Brody Darnell 3-13, R. Dixon 1-2, Ligouri 1-0.
PASSING--LL, Duitsman 4-9-0 60, Bergt 1-2-0 35. Aub, Dixon 3-10-0 27.
RECEIVING--LL, Morrison 3-55, Moll 1-35, Waldo 1-5. Aub, Baily Darnell 1-24, R. Dixon 1-2, Lambert 1-1.