BEREA, Ohio—The Heidelberg University football team lost to Baldwin-Wallace College, 35-20, today in the Ohio Athletic Conference opener for both teams at Tressel Field at The George Finnie Stadium in Berea, Ohio. Highlighting the effort for the Student Princes were second-team All-OAC running back Germany Woods (Cleveland/Lakewood), who rushed for 81 yards on 18 carries, and junior running back/kick returner Cartel Brooks (Kokomo, Ind./Galion), who returned an 85-yard kickoff for a touchdown.
The win improves the Yellow Jackets to 2-0 overall and 1-0 in the OAC, while the loss drops Heidelberg to 1-1 overall and 0-1 in the OAC. The contest featured three lead changes and a combined 21 penalties for 217 yards.
The Berg wasted little time in taking the lead, going up 7-0 just 1:10 into the game. Freshman quarterback Mike Mees (North Ridgeville) directed the offense on a quick, 76-yard jaunt that took just four plays and ended when he found senior tight end and team captain Jozey Hill (Bloomington, Ind./Bloomington North) for a five-yard touchdown pass. Junior kicker Dan Kilger’s (Novi, Mich./Novi) point-after-touchdown was good.
Mees finished the day 11-of-23 for 167 yards and on TD with one interception.
Both teams traded a pair of punts on each of their next two possessions, and the Yellow Jackets answered on their third try. An eight-play drive by B-W was halted on third-and-goal from the Heidelberg one-yard line by junior linebacker Craig Sykes (Centerburg) and junior free safety Tyler Levanduski (Elyria/Amherst Steele). The pair dropped the Yellow Jacket ball carrier for a loss of three yards, setting up a 22-yard field goal attempt. David Cantu’s try at the 7:11 mark was good, cutting the lead to 7-3.
Brooks (Kokomo, Ind./Galion) then took the ensuing kickoff 85 yards for a touchdown to increase the Student Prince lead to 13-3.
The second quarter started with a Baldwin-Wallace TD at the 14:06 mark, a four-yard pass from Ryan O’Rourke to running back Willie Jackson. Cantu’s extra point was good, closing the gap to 13-10.
The Yellow Jackets took their first lead of the game at 16-10 with 7:23 to play in the first half on fourth-and-goal from the Student Prince one-yard line. Tyler Lohr’s one-yard plunge capped an 11-play drive, covering 57 yards and eating 3:57 of the clock.
It took just four minutes for the Berg to regain the lead, as Woods scored on a one-yard run with 3:28 to play. The score completed a nine-play, 73-yard drive in which Woods accounted for 23 yards on five carries. Kilger’s PAT gave the Student Princes a 20-16 lead.
In the closing minutes of the first half, the Heidelberg defense forced a B-W three-and-out and senior wide receiver/punt returner CJ Powell’s 25-yard return to the Yellow Jacket 35-yard line set the Student Princes up with favorable field position. A defensive pass interference call gave a stalling drive new life, but on fourth down-and-two with 15 seconds to play in the half, Kilger’s field goal was blocked, sending the Student Princes into the break with a four-point advantage.
On their initial possession of the second half, the Yellow Jackets threatened to retake the lead, driving 51 yards in just eight plays to the Student Prince 16-yard line. On second-and-goal from the four, Levanduski sacked O’Rourke for a loss of seven yards, proving to be the key play of the defensive stand. O’Rourke threw an incompletion on third down and the Student Princes blocked a 28-yard field goal attempt of their own.
B-W again assumed the lead, 22-20, when Lohr scored his second touchdown of the game with a two-yard dive at the 1:31 mark of the third quarter.
The score capped a 12-play, 55-yard drive that ate 6:11 of the clock.
In the fourth quarter, the Yellow Jackets took a 35-20 lead on the strength of two O’Rourke TD passes, a 14-yard strike to Josiah Holt and a seven-yard toss to Troy Van Meter.
With one last chance at a victory, Heidelberg was stopped on a fourth-and-goal from the one-yard line with 1:32 on the clock.
Defensively, sophomore linebacker Dawson Gore (Bellevue) led Heidelberg 14 tackles, including 1.5 for loss. Junior defensive lineman Steven Fejedelem (Ravenna) and Levanduski notched 13 stops each and Sykes had 12, his second double digit tackle game of the young season. Fejedelem also forced two fumbles.
B-W was led by Tyler Lohr, whose 113 yards on 22 carries led all rushers. O’Rourke finished 22-of-26 for 259 yards and three TDs.
The Berg next plays on Saturday, Sept. 24 when it travels to Westerville, Ohio for the 20th edition of the Rhine River Classic against Otterbein University. Kickoff from Memorial Stadium is slated for 2 p.m. The Cardinals were defeated earlier today by No. 12 Ohio Northern University, 34-33.
The Rhine River Classic commemorates the first collegiate football game played on German soil, when Heidelberg and Otterbein tied, 7-7, on September 19, 1992 in Offenbach, Germany.