MEQUON, Wis. -- Concordia University Wisconsin's passing offense is potent to say the least and might be the most dynamic not only in its league, but in all of NCAA Division III.
The Falcons' spread offense keeps the opposition off balance with a variety of receivers who can score on any given play. After making a dramatic switch in the type of offense they ran after week two of last season, the points started piling up faster than the scoreboard operator could push the buttons.
CUW's passing game will be an interesting element to watch this season after it passed for 2,547 yards last year, ranking second in the Northern Athletics Conference and 51st in the nation. Much of the credit for the impressive numbers goes to quarterback Austin Damaschke and a talented group of receivers.
"We have ability across the board," said offensive coordinator Henny Hiemenz. "You may take certain players away at certain times, but we have people to step up if that happens."
At the head of the passing game is Damaschke (Bristol, Wis.), who had a breakout season under center in 2012. He threw 211 completions for 2,440 yards and 25 touchdowns in his sophomore campaign. He set team records for touchdown passes (25) and completion percentage (66.1%), and was subsequently named Wisconsin Football Coaches Association Private College Player of the Year.
"He took a big jump last year," said Hiemenz when talking about the Falcons' signal caller. "Our hope is to keep building on the progress he made."
Damaschke surely can throw the ball and the numbers will continue to get better as several of his favorite targets return with years of experience under their belts. Juniors Garrett Wenzelburger (Hartland, Wis.) and Dylan Krivoshein (Cedarburg, Wis.), along with seniors Cody Johnson (Brookfield, Wis.) and James Saunders (Riverview, Fla.) combined for 1,747 yards on 147 receptions last year.
"The more I work with these guys, the higher our confidence gets," said Damaschke. "It helps so much."
Wenzelburger is one of many gifted receivers on the roster, with his 6-foot-6 frame, allowing the offense to potentially become more explosive this season. The All-Northern Athletics Conference First Team honoree hauled in 66 tosses for 763 yards and 11 touchdowns in 2012.
"I know where he's going to be and he knows what I'm going to do," said Damaschke. "We have just clicked great together."
While the Damaschke to Wenzelburger combination receives a lot of attention, the receiving corps as a whole is deep with ability. The veterans returning are expected to improve and lead a group of 13 freshmen wide receivers on the current roster.
"I think our experience and communication are going to make us a very potent offense," Wenzelburger said. "Expectations are high and it's up to us to go out there and prove the doubters wrong."
The combination of youth and experience in the receiving corps was a large reason why the Falcons were selected to win the Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference in the preseason poll.
Fans should arrive early for an exciting show at Tomasini Stadium this season because the Falcons explosive passing game has the ability to put 30-plus points on the board before they know what happened.