Persa Impresses

Backup quarterback Dan Persa was among those who had stellar Saturday scrimmages at Kenosha. In this Camp Report, see who else shined in the scrimmage, and who, along with Corey Wootton, was held out of the action.

Courtesy NU Sports.

KENOSHA, Wis. -- Northwestern held its annual Camp Kenosha scrimmage Saturday afternoon at Tremper High School, with both the offense and the defense putting up strong efforts during nine separate series of play.

"We've worked a lot in 11-on-11 the last three days in practice but we have plenty more to do," head coach Pat Fitzgerald said. "I saw some good things and I saw guys competing hard. This was a good chance to see some different combinations and see how guys react in certain situations."

The first series of the day ended when a Mike Kafka pass was picked off by Kenosha native Ben Johnson and returned 62 yards for a touchdown in the only series Kafka would play on the day. Dan Persa then led back-to-back drives that ended in touchdowns for the offense. The first was a 7-play, 74-yard effort that concluded on a 38-yard post-route hook up from Persa to Kevin Frymire. Persa was 3-for-3 through the air for 57 yards on the drive.

The offense then scored again on a 12-play, 59-yard drive capped by a 9-yard completion from Persa to Zeke Markshausen.

The offense made it three TD's in a row when freshman Evan Watkins led a 10-play, 76-yard scoring drive on the next possession, concluding when Alex Daniel scampered eight yards to pay dirt. Watkins was 3-for-4 for 27 yards and also rushed twice for 34 yards (including a 23 yard scramble on third down) on the drive.

The defense kept the offense out of the end zone on the next four drives, including three 3-and-outs. On the final drive of the afternoon, Watkins took the offense 79 yards in 16 plays to score on a 2-yard Jacob Schmidt plunge. Schmidt ran seven times for 31 yards on the final drive, which was kept going by a defensive "penalty" on third-and-seven from the 42-yard line. Schmidt's run was set up by a pass interference penalty in the end zone in which John Plasencia nearly made an incredible catch, reaching around Cooper Gerami and pinning the ball to the defender's back before falling to the ground and attempting to tap the ball to himself as he fell.

Defensive highlights:

Nate Williams blocked a field goal attempt.

Brian Arnfelt burst through the line to make a great tackle-for-loss on Jeravin Matthews to push the offense back eight yards.

Evan Luxenburg recorded the afternoon's only sack, getting to Watkins on third down to force a 42-yard field goal attempt, which was nailed by Steve Flaherty.

Roderick Goodlow drilled Alex Daniel on a rush to force a fumble. On the afternoon the offense made four fumbles but lost none.

Overall, the defense forced four 3-and-out series and ended another via the Johnson interception.

Scrimmage Notes:

After being held for several years at Carthage College, the pre-season scrimmage was moved to Tremper farther south in Kenosha. The NU athletic department provided free Hecky's BBQ to fans, who numbered a little on the north side of 500 on a chilly Saturday afternoon in Wisconsin.

Each team was guaranteed a minimum of six plays per drive, meaning if the offense went 3-and-out immediately, they were allowed to begin a new set of downs instead of yielding the field to the next team.

Per coaches decision, the following student-athletes on the 2-deep who were available to play were held out of the scrimmage: Corbin Bryant, Corey Wootton, Brendan Smith, Sherrick McManis, Brad Phillips, Jordan Mabin.

Scrimmage Statistics:


Dan Persa 8-for-11 for 87 yards and 2 TD's

Evan Watkins 6-for-10 for 73 yards

Mike Kafka 3-for-6 for 34 yards


Jacob Schmidt 11 rushes for 45 yards and a TD

Arby Fields 7 rushes for 27 yards

Alex Daniel 5 rushes for 14 yards and a TD

Evan Watkins 4 rushes for 36 yards

Scott Concannon 4 rushes for 13 yards

Stephen Simmons 3 rushes for 5 yards

Jeravin Matthews 3 rushes for (-3) yards

Dan Persa 1 rush for 13 yards


Kevin Frymire 2 catches for 46 yards and TD

Andrew Brewer 2 catches for 33 yards

Zeke Markshausen 2 catches for 20 yards

Carl Fisher 2 catches for 15 yards

Mark Woodsum 1 catch for 20 yards

Jeremy Ebert 1 catch for 15 yards

Kevin Mitchell 1 catch for 15 yards

Arby Fields 1 catch for 12 yards

Scott Concannon 1 catch for 7 yards

Jeravin Matthews 1 catch for 6 yards

Defensive Leaders:

Nate Williams, 3 tackles

Hunter Bates, 3 tackles

Brian Arnfelt, 3 tackles (1 TFL)

Tim Weak, 3 tackles

Quentin Davie, 2 tackles

Roderick Goodlow, 2 tackles (1 FF)

To reach David Vranicar, publisher of Purple Reign, please write to

Purple Wildcats Top Stories