TOPEKA (KSNT) – Washburn football hosted its first home game of the season on Thursday, welcoming MIAA-foe Missouri Western to Yager Stadium.

With a chance to tie the game in the final seconds, a tipped ball went the way of the Griffons, as the Ichabods lost the game 30-23.

Coming into the game, players and coaches knew it would be a battle in the trenches. Missouri Southern struck gold first, breaking out of a 3rd-and-short QB sneak for a touchdown.

A couple drives later, Washburn returned the favor. His second shot at the play, Ichabod quarterback Kellen Simoncic found the endzone on a QB sneak to tie the game at 7-7.

Both offenses somewhat stalled, but Washburn made field goal range twice in the second quarter, taking a 13-7 lead at half.

The Griffons came out of half on fire, scoring 16-straight points on two touchdowns and a field goal to take a 23-13 lead in the third quarter.

Lightning struck after Missouri Western’s field goal, with Washburn’s DJ Bell returning the ensuing kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown. The Ichabods would get the ball back and kick a field goal on the next possession, tying the game at 23-23.

With three minutes left in the game, Missouri Western took the lead back on a 10-yard touchdown pass to go up 30-23.

Washburn marched down the field at the end of the game. With first-and-goal and under 30 seconds remaining, the Ichabods’ pass was tipped in the endzone and intercepted by the Griffons. Missouri Western kneeled on the next play to end the game 30-23 in favor of the Griffons.

Quarterback Kellen Simoncic was injured near the start of the second half, standing on the sidelines for the remainder of the game with his arm in a sling. Freshman Sam Van Dyne played in his place.

The loss moves the Ichabod’s to 0-2 to start the 2023 season. Washburn travels to Jefferson City to play Lincoln on Saturday, Sept. 16.