TIFFIN, Ohio—The Heidelberg University football team will look to win its second straight game Saturday, Oct. 29 when it hosts Wilmington College in an Ohio Athletic Conference game at Mayer Field in Tiffin, Ohio on Tiffin Community Football Day. Kickoff is slated for 1:30 p.m. Tiffin area youth football players wearing their game jerseys will receive free admission to the game.
The game will be broadcast live on WTTF 1300 AM/93.3 FM and on the ‘Berg Athletics Network (http://client.stretchinternet.com/client/heidelberg.portal#). John Cullen, Jon Kerns and Matt Harp have the call on WTTF. Jeff Garvin and Chris Hoderny have the call on BAN.
In addition, live stats will be available at http://www.heidelberg.edu/athletics/livestats.
The Student Princes, 42-20 winners at Marietta College last Saturday, enter the game 5-2 overall and 4-2 in the OAC, and will be looking for their sixth win of the season for the first time under fifth-year head coach Mike Hallett, who took over a program that went 1-39 over the four-year stretch (2003-06) prior to his arrival. The last time the Berg won six games in a season was in 1994 when it finished 7-3 under Dick West.
The Quakers, under second-year head coach Ken Minor, come to Tiffin 0-7 overall and 0-6 in the OAC following a 75-0 loss to Baldwin-Wallace College last Saturday in Wilmington. Wilmington has lost 23 consecutive games dating back to 2009.
Last week in Marietta, Heidelberg grinded out a season-high 456 rushing yards—led by sophomore second-team All-OAC running back Germany Woods (Cleveland/Lakewood St. Edward) with a season-high 226 yards on a career-high 34 carries and sophomore running back/kick returner Cartel Brooks (Kokomo, Ind./Galion) with 191 yards on just 11 carries, including touchdown runs of 83 and 62 yards. Woods was named OAC offensive player of the week for his efforts. Heidelberg totaled 530 yards of offense in just under 24 minutes of possession time.
The Berg offense is averaging 30.8 points and 425.6 yards of total offense per game, both of which rank second in the OAC. Woods and Brooks lead a ground attack that ranks 18th nationally, averaging 243.4 yards per game. Woods, a 100-yard rusher in five of seven games this season and in nine of his last 11 contests dating back to last season, is 13th in the nation and second in the OAC with 130.4 yards per game. He averages 5.3 yards per carry (171 attempts, 913 yards) and is threatening to go over the 1,000-yard mark for the second consecutive season to start his career. Brooks is ninth in the league with 55.8 yards per game and will provide the explosive threat, averaging 11.2 yards per touch. All five of his TDs this season have been at a distance of 55 yards or more, including two kick returns.
Freshman quarterback Michael Mees (North Ridgeville) will direct the offense. Mees has completed 48.6 percent (85-of-175) of his passes this season for 1,128 yards and has thrown for 13 TDs. He is fourth in league with 175.4 passing yards per game. Mees’ favorite target has been junior wide receiver Mario Escalante (Highland Heights, Ky./Newport Central Catholic), who leads the team with 18 receptions for 342 yards, and has caught one TD. Senior wide receiver CJ Powell (Detroit, Mich./Bishop Foley) leads the team with five TD catches. Mees will be well protected, as the front five leads the OAC and is eighth nationally with just four sacks allowed.
The Student Prince offense will match up against a Wilmington defense that is last in the OAC in giving up 40.3 points and 439.7 yards of total offense per game and is ninth in allowing 234.2 rushing yards per game. Matt McFadden anchors the group with 66 tackles, good for fifth in the league. McFadden also has 6.5 tackles for loss and has broken up four passes. Antwoine Shelton is second with 61 tackles and 6.5 tackles for loss. Jamar Roberts leads the secondary with 40 stops and a team-high six passes defended. Darian McGree anchors a three-man defensive front with 29 tackles, including five for loss, and one interception.
The Quaker offense averages 7.3 points, 210.9 yards of total offense and 44.9 rushing yards per game, all of which rank 10th in the OAC. Tyrell Richardson leads the team with 33.2 rushing yards per game and one TD.
Brandon Arehart will guide the passing attack. Arehart is completing 48.8 percent (106-of-217) of his passes for 1,110 yards and six TDs. Kyle Blakeman leads the receiving corps with 33 receptions and 417 yards, good for fifth and seventh in the conference, respectively. Malcolm Heard is ninth in the OAC with 25 catches and has 272 receiving yards. Blakeman has five TD receptions, while Heard has one.
The Student Prince defense is allowing 24.1 points and 405.3 yards of total offense per game, including 151.6 yards on the ground and 253.7 yards through the air. The linebacking corps of junior reigning OAC defensive player of the week Craig Sykes (Centerburg) and sophomore Dawson Gore (Bellevue) lead a defensive unit that ranks third in the OAC and 23rd nationally with 22 sacks and has forced 26 turnovers. Sykes is seventh in the league with 65 tackles and has an OAC-leading four INTs, while Gore is eighth in the league with 61 hits, including a team-high 8.5 for loss. Junior defensive back Justin Suddeth (Akron/Warren Howland) anchors the secondary with 37 tackles and three pass break-ups. Senior defensive back Tony Gordon (Euclid) leads the conference with 10 total passes defended, including two INTs. Junior defensive lineman Stephen Fejedelem (Ravenna) tops the defensive front with 31 tackles, including four for loss and two forced fumbles.
The Berg has relied heavily on special teams through its first seven games. Junior kicker and two-time OAC special teams player of the week Dan Kilger (Novi, Mich./Novi) has connected on seven-of-11 field goals, while the kick return unit leads the conference with 22.9 yards per return.
Hallett’s group is looking for its third straight win against the Quakers and fourth in the last five seasons. The Berg won last year’s meeting, 36-3, in Wilmington. The Quakers lead the all-time series, 8-3, dating back to 2000.
Following Saturday’s game, Heidelberg will travel to University Heights to face John Carroll University on Saturday, Nov. 5 at 1:30 p.m.