Noah Oswald’s injured throwing hand epitomized a frustrating first half of Midland’s season.

The Omaha Roncalli grad threw for more than 500 yards in the Warriors’ first two games — Midland won its opener before losing to No. 5 Northwestern on a last-second field goal.

But while he was at home, Oswald cut his index finger. It was severe enough to require four stitches. That basically sidelined the senior for the next three weeks.

Midland, which received votes in the NAIA Top 25 early in the season, lost all three of those games, two by less than a touchdown. Suddenly a team that expected to be among the GPAC leaders was 1-4.

“We wanted to finish out the season strong,” Oswald said. “I know me and a lot of the guys wanted to bounce back and win out.”

Bouncing back is what the Warriors have been doing. They’ve won three straight to get back to .500 with the offense averaging 51.7 points and 520 yards per game during the winning streak.

Oswald is leading the way. He’s accounted for 17 touchdowns (13 passing, four rushing) during the past three games. Last week against Jamestown, he rushed for 108 yards and a TD and passed for 178 yards and three TDs.

“Noah’s played some excellent football,” Midland coach Jeff Jamrog said. “He’s a great young man, he’s waited for his opportunity. The coaches believe in him, players believe in him. He’s done a great job of leading this football team.”

The offense overall is churning out yards, too, despite the skill positions being hit by injuries. Maximus Wold, a freshman from Bellevue East who Jamrog said was fifth on the depth chart to start the year, has topped 100 yards rushing the past two weeks. Receivers Austan Daniels and Austin Harris have combined for 13 TD catches.

A key, Jamrog added, has been the offensive line staying healthy. It’s anchored by three seniors from Omaha: Daniel Jahn, Ethan Butler and Clayton Wittmayer.

“The line is playing really well. Coach (Scott) Reilly has been coaching them up real well,” Oswald said. “The protection has been good, the run game has always been good.”

Midland has three games left this season, beginning Saturday at 3-5 Concordia. Four of Concordia’s losses have been by a touchdown or less.

Jamrog said it’s a credit to his team’s character that it has recovered from a disappointing start. For Oswald, he just wants to keep the momentum going.

“It means a lot (to play well) since it’s my last year here,” he said. “I’ve always wanted to do well for this team, worked hard for four years and it’s paying off.”

Other games

Central Missouri (8-0) at UNK (5-3), noon: No. 11 Central Missouri averages 49 points a game and is led by Lincoln North Star grad Brook Bolles, who has thrown for 2,469 yards and 27 TDs. UNK is third in Division II in rushing, averaging 317.4 yards per game.

Wayne State (3-5) at Minnesota State (8-0), noon: Wayne rushed for 311 yards last week in a 26-23 win over Mary. 

Peru State (0-8) at William Penn (3-4), noon: Peru is averaging 12.3 points a game.

Chadron State (4-4) at N.M. Highlands (1-6), noon: Chadron, winner of three straight, has scored at least 40 in three straight games.

Morningside (7-0) at Doane (4-5), 1 p.m.: Bellevue West grad Joe Dolincheck leads the NAIA in passing efficiency (210.9) for No. 1 Morningside while Omaha Burke’s Arnijae Ponder needs 7 yards for his second straight 1,000-yard rushing season. 

Loras (3-4) at Nebraska Wesleyan (3-4), 1: QB Jonathan Curti broke his own single-game school records last week for total offense (497), completions (39) and pass attempts (67).

Dordt (5-3) at Hastings (2-5), 1: Dordt has shut out Doane and Concordia the past two weeks.

Northwestern (7-0) at Briar Cliff (5-3), 1: Northwestern has held five opponents to a touchdown or less, and Briar Cliff has allowed 17 points or less seven times.

Northeastern State (0-8) at Northwest Missouri (7-1), 1:30: The No. 16 Bearcats are heavily favored today as they gear up to play two of the MIAA’s best teams to end the regular season, Fort Hays State and Central Missouri.

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