QUINCY -- A 14-point lead past the midpoint of the third quarter with an offense seemingly in good rhythm should have been enough to push the Quincy University football team to another victory at home.
Yet the Hawks made one critical mistake.
"You could see those young kids kind of exhale a little bit," QU interim head coach Gary Bass said. "And we weren't able to recover."
Winless through its first five games, William Jewell took advantage of QU's three second-half turnovers and scored 31 unanswered points, leaving QU Stadium with a 45-28 victory in Great Lakes Valley Conference play.
"We were allowing circumstances to bother us," QU senior linebacker Nate Rueckemann said. "We were kind of shooting ourselves in the foot."
The Cardinals took advantage of it. Williams Jewell scored 17 points off turnovers and brought the QU offense to a virtual standstill.
The Hawks (3-3, 1-2 GLVC) drove 80 and 85 yards on their first two drives of the second half, both ending in touchdowns and resulting in a 28-14 lead with 8:38 remaining in the third quarter.
On the next four drives, Quincy gained 38 yards and committed three turnovers. Meanwhile, the Cardinals scored on all six second-half possessions.
"Momentum in this game is everything," William Jewell coach Shawn Wiegel said. "If you don't relinquish it, really good things happen."
The reverse holds true as well.
Leading 14-7 at halftime after Dominique Bobo's 2-yard touchdown run with 46 seconds remaining in the second quarter, the Hawks rode the momentum into the second half. It took just two plays to score as Kody Wood hauled in a 64-yard touchdown pass from Andrew Rund just 50 seconds into the third quarter.
"We were moving the ball," said Wood, who had seven catches for 121 yards. "And we had some momentum."
After William Jewell (1-5, 1-2 GLVC) scored on a five-play, 73-yard drive, the Hawks put together the kind of drive they want to have. It took seven plays and more than three minutes to go 85 yards, ending with Bobo's 12-yard touchdown run to make the score 28-14.
A 40-yard kick return set up a short touchdown drive for William Jewell before everything began unraveling for Quincy.
On second and 7 from the Hawks' 23-yard line, Rund threw a short pass to the left flat that Cardinals linebacker Kendall Spencer intercepted. The QU defense held this time, holding William Jewell without a yard and leading to a 39-yard field goal that pulled the Cardinals within 28-24.
"If the offense turns the ball over, defensively we can stop the momentum," Rueckemann said. "We have to be able to respond better to certain circumstances and situations. We have that mentality of bend but don't break. We were breaking quite a bit."
It happened moments later.
Three plays after the kickoff, Bobo stretched for extra yardage at the end of a run over the right side and lost the football when he hit the ground, resulting in a fumble that the Cardinals recovered at the QU 49-yard line.
"Like I tell those guys all the time, if you hand the ball back to the official, they can't call a fumble," Bass said. "You take it out of (the officials') hands."
The ensuing seven-play drive ended with Trejuan Mask scoring on a 3-yard run to give William Jewell a 31-28 lead with 13:37 to play.
A three-and-out by the Hawks followed, and after the Cardinals scored on an 11-play, 75-yard drive to go up by 10, Quincy had the chance to answer. Two plays into the drive, senior tight end Owen Schoenenberger caught a 2-yard pass on second and 10 and seemed to have his forward momentum halted.
However, before any official blew the play dead, Cardinals linebacker Quayde Bauman ripped the ball out of Schoenenberger's hands and the Cardinals recovered.
"That happens. That's football. Not every call is going to go your way," Wood said.
The Hawks didn't respond to it very well.
Rund finished with 272 yards passing, completing 22 of 34 passes with two interceptions. Freshman running back Dylan Rosado had 94 yards rushing on 15 carries after replacing injured senior Chris Harris in the first quarter.
QU finished with 449 yards of total offense, its second highest output of the season.
"When you turn the ball over four times, it doesn't matter," Bass said. "You give them four added possessions, and it's going to cost you."
William Jewell 45, Quincy 28
21 First downs 22
42-180 Rushing 33-177
258 Passing 272
438 Total yards 449
15-31-1 Comp-Att-Int 22-34-2
1-1 Fumbles-lost 3-2
7-82 Penalties-yards 8-96
William Jewell 7 0 17 21 -- 45
Quincy 7 7 14 0 -- 28
WJ -- Keelon Vann 27 pass from Brad Strauss (Dalton Dye kick), 6:15
QU -- Dylan Rosado 1 run (Michael Klotz kick), 1:30
QU -- Dominique Bobo 2 run (Klotz kick), 0:46
QU -- Kody Wood 64 pass from Andrew Rund (Klotz kick), 14Ú10
WJ -- Chance Nelson 10 run (Dye kick), 11:55
QU -- Bobo 12 run (Klotz kick), 8:38
WJ -- Trejuan Mask 3 run (Dye kick), 6:06
WJ -- Dye 39 FG, 4:08
WJ -- Mask 3 run (Dye kick), 13:37
WJ -- Mask 2 run (Dye kick), 5:11
WJ -- Bulla Graft 8 run (Dye kick), 2:34
Rushing -- William Jewell, Trejuan Mask 21-73, Brad Strauss 14-65, Bulla Graft 5-32, Chance Nelson 2-10. Quincy, Dylan Rosado 15-94, Dominique Bobo 8-56, Chris Harris 5-22, Andrew Rund 5-5.
Passing -- William Jewell, Strauss 15-31-1-258. Quincy, Rund 22-34-2-272.
Receiving -- William Jewell, Keelon Vann 4-92, Frankie Gomez 1-40, Wyatt Miller 2-26, Graft 2-24, Clay Stulce 1-19, Alex Jimenez 1-19, Ethan Weilant 1-17, Mask 1-15, Zack Gaudette 1-4, Ian Burch 1-2. Quincy, Kody Wood 7-121, Owen Schoenenberger 6-72, Bobo 5-34, Brendan Saak 3-31, Troy Johnson 1-14.