TIFFIN, Ohio—Sophomore second-team All-Ohio Athletic Conference running back Germany Woods (Cleveland/Lakewood St. Edward) set the Heidelberg University single-season school rushing record and the Student Princes scored three defensive touchdowns en route to a 48-21 victory over rival Ohio Northern University today in an OAC game at Mayer Field in Tiffin, Ohio. Woods, who began the day tied for the league lead in rushing, ran for a game-high 173 yards to finish the season with 1,421, edging Mount Union’s Jeremy Murray, both of whom entered the final week of the regular season tied for the league lead.
Heidelberg (8-2, 7-2 OAC) recorded its best season since 1993 when the Student Princes finished 8-2 under Dick West and finish the regular season in a tie for second place in the OAC standings with Baldwin-Wallace College, which defeated John Carroll University earlier today.
Fifth-year head coach Mike Hallett, who inherited a program that was 1-39 in the four seasons prior to his arrival, evened his overall record at the school at 25-25 and defeated ONU head coach Dean Paul for the first time. Hallett served as Paul’s offensive coordinator when Paul was the head coach at Thomas More (Ky.) College. Hallett later succeeded Paul as the head coach at TMC.
The win caps a four-game winning streak to end the 2011 campaign, sends 17 seniors off with a four-year record of 21-19, the best mark since the 1991-94 teams, and snaps ONU’s 16-game winning streak in the series.
Woods broke Bryce Tuohy’s 1989 mark of 1,331 in 238 carries, 68 less than Tuohy’s 306 attempts.
In addition to Woods, sophomore running back/kick returner Cartel Brooks (Kokomo, Ind./Galion) carried the ball 25 times for 104 yards. The one-two punch each netted 100 yards rushing in four straight games to close the season.
The defense forced five turnovers for the fifth time this season, returning two fumble recoveries for TDs and intercepting ONU quarterback Tyler Rue three times.
On the Polar Bears’ (6-4, 5-4 OAC) first drive of the game, sophomore safety Chadd Williamson (Land O’ Lakes, Fla./Land O’ Lakes) intercepted Rue’s pass and returned it 58 yards for a Heidelberg TD less than six minutes into the game. Junior kicker Dan Kilger (Novi, Mich./Novi) added the point-after-touchdown for a 7-0 lead.
Rue found redemption on ONU’s next drive, directing a 10-play and 68-yard and scoring on a 15-yard TD run. At the 4:26 mark of the first quarter. Luke Luckasevic’s extra point tied the score, 7-7.
Woods extended the ‘Berg lead to 14-7 just two minutes later when he found the end zone on a 23-yard scamper. Kilger’s extra point was good.
The Student Princes exploded for three scores in the second quarter, starting with Brooks’ four-yard plunge at the 8:07 mark. A high snap on the extra point try forced sophomore holder Asher Rumple (Edison/Marion Harding) to throw the ball, but he came up short, leaving the Berg with a 20-7 lead.
Following another Woods TD with less than two minutes in the first half, ONU’s Carter Paul fumbled the ball near midfield where senior cornerback and co-captain Tony Gordon (Euclid) scooped up the loose ball and returned it 50 yards to pay dirt. Kilger’s PAT gave the Student Princes a 34-7 lead.
ONU regained possession with just 48 seconds left in the first half and traveled 61 yards in seven plays to cut the score to 34-14 when Justin Buenger scored on a one-yard dive on the last play of the half.
Heidelberg wasted little time extending its lead to 41-14 in the second half. On ONU’s first possession, junior first-team Capital One/CoSIDA Academic All-District linebacker Craig Sykes (Centerburg) dropped Rue for a sack and forced a fumble on the play, which was recovered by junior defensive lineman Stephen Fejedelem (Ravenna) and returned 30 yards for a TD, the third defensive score of the day for the Student Princes.
The Polar Bears began the fourth quarter by cutting into the ‘Berg lead, scoring on a Paul 35-yard sprint less than two minutes into the final stanza, but the ‘Berg defense allowed just four ONU first downs the rest of the way.
Woods capped the Heidelberg offensive effort with a two-yard plunge with less than six minutes to play.
An INT by sophomore linebacker Adam Cepik (Lodi/Cloverleaf) with 4:16 to play sealed the victory for the Student Princes.
The defense was anchored by senior linebacker Andy Fadenholz (Grafton/Keystone), who made 13 tackles. Cepik recorded nine stops of his own and sophomore linebacker Dawson Gore (Bellevue) had eight hits. In addition to Williamson and Cepik, junior safety Justin Suddeth (Akron/Warren Howling) notched an INT. Five Student Princes tallied sacks, led by senior defensive lineman Jacob Mitchell (Wyandotte, Mich./Wyandotte) and senior Delvon Graham (Garfield Heights) with 1.5 each.
The Polar Bears were led by Paul, who tallied 81 yards in eight attempts on the ground, and Rue, who was 15-of-33 passing for 165 yards. Justin Wilson had game-highs of six receptions and 65 yards. Three Polar Bears notched 10 or more tackles, including Joe Powell, who had a game-high 17 stops.
Despite the loss of 17 seniors, Hallett does not graduate a skill position player on offense as the program looks forward to 2012.