ALMA, MI-Throughout the 116 year history of football at Heidelberg University, the defense has held the opponent scoreless 201 times. In fact, Heidelberg’s first game was a 20-0 shutout over Findlay in 1892.
In recent times, though, shutting out the opponent has proven difficult.
With their 45-0 season-opening win at Alma College, the Heidelberg football team snapped a string of 136 games without a shutout.
Sophomore Cartel Brooks (Kokomo, IN/Galion) rushed the ball 20 times for 155 yards and two touchdowns and sophomore Michael Mees (North Ridgeville) was an efficient 9 of 12 passing for 111 yards and two touchdowns, as the Berg extended their winning streak to five games, dating back to last season.
“We played a great game in all facets,” said sixth-year head coach Mike Hallett. “It was truly a team game.”
The Student Princes raced out of the gate, scoring on each of their four first quarter possessions.
Junior Robert Gray (Cincinnati/North College Hill) set the tone with a 56 yard kickoff return to the Alma 45. Seven plays later, Brooks ran into the end zone from one yard out.
With Alma driving on their first possession, junior Dawson Gore (Bellevue) recovered a Scot fumble near midfield.
Heidelberg would capitalize on the turnover, as Mees connected with Christian Dominguez (Miami, FL/Ferguson) for a seven yard touchdown strike. The touchdown pass was the first career reception for Dominguez.
On the ensuing Scot possession, seniors Andy Lovins (Clinton Township, MI/Lake Shore) and Stephen Fejedelem (Ravenna) sacked quarterback Jarrett Leister on 3rd and 10 to force a punt.
A five-play, 44 yard touchdown drive was capped by a Brooks three-yard touchdown rush, his second of the quarter. The drive included two receptions by sophomore Donteea Dye (Fairfield).
After another three-and-out for Alma, highlighted by sacks from junior Chadd Williamson (Land ‘O Lakes, FL) and sophomore Ben Poirer (Canton, MI), the Berg needed two plays to find the end zone again. Junior Nate Hasse (Crown Point, IN) hauled in 26-yard touchdown pass from Mees. Senior Dan Kilger (Novi, MI) connected on his fourth point after of the quarter to give Heidelberg a 28-0 lead.
The second quarter was not much different. Kilger opened the scoring with a 24 yard field goal to push the lead to 31-0.
After an Alma punt, sophomore Colin Bultinck (Lafayette, IN/Jefferson) relieved Mees at quarterback. After Bultinck scored on a 31-yard run, freshman Stephen Smith (Tiffin/Calvert) connected on the point after, giving Heidelberg a 38-0 lead.
Heidelberg closed the first half scoring with a 47-yard touchdown pass from Bultinck to senior C.J. Powell (Detroit, MI/Bishop Foley).
The highlights of the second half were on the defensive side of the ball. Senior Craig Sykes (Centerburg) and sophomore Tim Littles (Swartz Creek, MI) each had interceptions en route to the shutout.
The Berg defense held the Scots to 59 yards on the ground and forced four turnovers. Williamson finished with nine tackles and sophomore Mike Bodyke (Bellevue) had two sacks.
Kilger had five extra points and a field goal.
“The older guys on this team have done a great job instilling a sense of identity and urgency with the younger guys,” said Hallett. “We wanted to keep our intensity at the same level at which we ended last season. These guys have made that happen.”
The win is the sixth straight victorious season opener under Hallett’s tutelage.
Heidelberg is idle next Saturday before returning to action in Ada, Ohio, on September 15. The opening kickoff against Ohio Northern has been pushed back to 2:15 p.m. The game will be the second Bendekovic Bowl, which honors the late Ronnie and Jason Bendekovic, who served as assistants at ONU and Heidelberg.