Tiffin, Ohio – November 14, 2009 – The Heidelberg University football team dropped a 31-28 decision to Muskingum University in its 2009 season finale. The Ohio Athletic Conference contest was played at Mayer Field, on the campus of Heidelberg. Today’s game, along with last weeks contest with Marietta College, marked the first games played on campus since 1945.
Prior to the start of the game, Heidelberg recognized 13 senior student-athletes that have dedicated themselves to the program. Earning recognition, along with their families, was Jemar Lewis (Bedford Heights, Ohio / Bedford), Kenny Sims (Garfield Heights, Ohio / Garfield Heights), Julius Higginbotham (Elyria, Ohio / Elyria), Wayne Glisson (Huntington Beach, Calif. / Fountain Valley), Justin Dawson (Westminster, Calif. / Golden West JC), Fran Cavotta (North Olmsted, Ohio / North Olmsted), Varden Pierre (Miami, Fla. / Pace) , Jared Ruffing (Bellevue, Ohio / Seneca East), Mark Burris (Rittman, Ohio / Rittman), Aaron Nelson (Columbus, Ohio / Beechroft), Doug Wiedemann (Norwalk, Ohio / Norwalk St. Paul), Matt Grieves (Huron, Ohio / Huron) and Mack Lee (Port St. Lucie, Fla. / Centennial).
For the game, Muskingum held a slim advantage in total offense, 435-418. Muskingum led the way on the ground with 282 yards, while Heidelberg controlled the air with 290 yards.
Grieves left his mark on the field in his final game. He finished with a game-high 11 tackles and two sacks. Three of his tackles for a loss of 10 yards, to go along with a forced fumble and a quarterback hurry. Backing Grieves on defense was Sam Driscoll (University Heights, Ohio / St. Ignatius) with 10 stops and a half sack. Driscoll also had three tackles for a loss of 10 yards and a forced fumble. Cavotta finished with eight stops followed by Glisson and Ruffing with seven apiece and Higginbotham and Dawson with five each.
Offensively, junior signal caller Andrew Miller (Dalton, Ohio / Dalton) completed 13-of-24 passes for 290 yards and three touchdowns. His three TD’s increased his season total to 22, which tops his single-season passing TD record he set a season ago at 20. Mike Preston (Maple Heights, Ohio / Euclid) was Miller’s top receiving threat with 192 yards in seven catches. Preston finished with two touchdowns.
In the backfield, Sims and Lewis led the way for the Berg. Sims had 64 yards in 15 carries, while Lewis finished with 50 yards in 11 attempts.
Heidelberg came out of the gates strong and Lewis had a four-yard touchdown run in Heidelberg’s opening drive of the game. Jesse Hawkins (Georgetown, Ky. / Scott County) connected on the PAT to put the Berg up 7-0.
Muskingum and Heidelberg traded possessions before the Muskies tied the game with a Jake Burns three-yard run with 2:12 left in the first quarter.
The visitors went on to build a 17-7 lead at the half following another Burns three-yard run and a 27-yard field goal by Bill RIni.
To start the third quarter Muskingum missed a field goal on its first possession and Heidelberg answered going 80 yards in six plays in 3:02. Miller connected with Preston across the middle for a 49-yard touchdown. Hawkins added the PAT to pull Heidelberg within 17-14.
Heidelberg and Muskingum went on to trade two scoring drives apiece to push the final score to 31-28. In the end, Heidelberg did not go down without a fight, striving to overcome its deficit until the final seconds. After scoring on a Preston 12-yard reception with less than a minute to go in the game Heidelberg attempted an onside kick that was nearly recovered by a diving Preston, but the ball fell out of bounds, allowing Muskingum to gain possession and to run the clock out.