UNIVERSITY HEIGHTS, Ohio—Sophomore second-team All-OAC running back Germany Woods (Cleveland/Lakewood St. Edward) and sophomore running back/kick returner Cartel Brooks (Kokomo, Ind./Galion) each rushed for 100 yards for the third consecutive game and Brooks added a 92-yard kickoff return for a touchdown to lead the Heidelberg University football team past John Carroll University, 41-28, today in an Ohio Athletic Conference game at Don Shula Stadium at Wasmer Field in University Heights, Ohio. The win secured Heidelberg’s best season since 1994 when it went 7-3 under Dick West.
Since taking over the reigns of the football program prior to the 2007 season, fifth-year head coach Mike Hallett went 4-6 in three straight season (2007-09) before going 5-5 a season ago. A win in the team's final regular season game will match the 8-2 mark posted by the 1993 team. Hallett took over a program that went 1-39 in its previous four seasons (2003-06).
The Student Princes (7-2, 6-2 OAC), winners of three consecutive games and six of their last seven, rolled up 507 yards of offense, including 305 rushing, marking the third straight game and fourth time this season that the Berg has tallied 500 or more yards and 300-plus rushing yards.
A Baldwin-Wallace College (7-2, 6-2 OAC) loss to No. 2 University of Mount Union (9-0, 8-0 OAC) sits B-W and Heidelberg in a tie for second place in the league standings. John Carroll (6-3, 5-3 OAC) falls to fourth place.
After entering halftime with a 10-7 lead, the Berg outscored the Blue Streaks, 31-21 over the remaining 30 minutes.
Woods rushed for a game-high 155 yards on 24 carries (6.5 yards per carry) and scored one touchdown and has rushed for 100 or more yards in seven of nine games this season and in 11 of his last 13 contests dating back to last season.
Brooks went for 139 yards on just 14 carries (9.9 ypc.) and scored a rushing TD. His season-long 92-yard kickoff return was his third kickoff return for a TD this season. He also had scores against Baldwin-Wallace College (Sept. 17) and Capital University (Oct. 1). Brooks has averaged better than 9.0 ypc. in each of his last three outings.
Woods’ 155 rushing yards matched that of Mount Union’s Jeremy Murray, as both are tied for the league lead with 1,248 yards on the ground.
Freshman quarterback Michael Mees (North Ridgeville) recorded his fourth 200-yard passing game, going 10-of-21 through the air for 202 yards and two TDs, including a season-long 80-yard strike to senior wide receiver CJ Powell (Detroit, Mich./Bishop Foley).
Powell caught three passes for a game and career-high 135 yards.
Early in the first quarter, Mees found senior wide receiver James Sheahan (Painesville/Lake Catholic) for an eight-yard TD pass to cap a lengthy, 10-play and 56-yard scoring drive in 4:07. Junior kicker Dan Kilger (Novi, Mich.) added the point-after-touchdown to give the Berg a 7-0 lead.
On its ensuing possession, quarterback and reigning OAC offensive player of the week Devin O’Brien directed a 72-yard scoring jaunt in just eight plays and tied the score at the 5:32 mark with a 17-yard scamper. Brad Marchese’s extra point was good.
Following a 31-yard kickoff return by Brooks, the Student Prince offense traveled to the JCU three-yard line before settling for a 20-yard Kilger field goal to go ahead, 10-7.
Both teams traded four possessions without turning the ball over through a scoreless second quarter.
Heidelberg raced out to a 27-7 lead in the third quarter following an 80-yard TD toss from Mees to Powell, a two-yard plunge by Woods and another 20-yard field goal from Kilger, his ninth in 13 attempts. The Student Princes forced turnovers on consecutive John Carroll possessions—an interception by sophomore defensive back Chase Bauer (Amelia/McNicholas) and a fumble recovery on a kickoff by freshman wide receiver Donteea Dye (Fairfield)—which led to the 17-point outburst.
O’Brien closed the gap to 27-14 at the 10:50 mark of the fourth quarter after an 11-play, 70-yard drive that spanned 5:04 ended when he found Corey Castro for a 21-yard TD pitch-and-catch.
Brooks then took the ensuing kickoff 92 yards to pay dirt, extending the ‘Berg lead to 34-14. Kilger’s PAT was good. Brooks finished the day with two kickoff returns for 123 yards, a 61.5 yards-per-return average, and tallied 262 all-purpose yards.
On first down and 10, sophomore defensive back Mitchell Kelly (North Randall/Bedford) picked off an O’Brien pass—his second interception of the season—leading to a 57-yard TD sprint by Brooks. Kilger’s PAT gave Heidelberg a 41-14 advantage with just 7:21 to play.
O’Brien threw TD passes on each of the Blue Streaks’ next two drives—a 51-yarder to Alex Kline and a seven-yarder to Anthony Libertini—to narrow the score, but could not find enough time to complete the comeback.
Defensively, junior linebacker Craig Sykes (Centerburg) made a team-high 10 tackles, his fourth double-digit tackling game, and now has a team-best 83 stops for the season. Junior safety Justin Suddeth (Akron/Warren Howland) added nine hits of his own, while senior linebacker Andy Fadenholz (Grafton/Keystone) had eight tackles, including a game-high two sacks. Six more Student Princes notched five or more tackles.
O’Brien led JCU with 362 yards of offense. He was 26-of-42 through the air for 329 yards and three TDs and rushed for 33 yards and one score in 13 attempts. Castro caught a game-high five passes, while Kline tallied a team-high 59 receiving yards. Alex Cameron and C.J. Seitzinger led the defense with 13 tackles and 10 tackles, respectively.
The ‘Berg will close the 2011 regular season next Saturday, Nov. 12 when the Student Princes host Ohio Northern University (6-3, 5-3 OAC) in an OAC game at Mayer Field in Tiffin, Ohio. The Polar Bears defeated Wilmington College, 51-15, in Wilmington earlier today.