TIFFIN, Ohio – A fourth quarter rally came up just shy as Ohio Dominican's football team fell 24-23 to No. 17 Tiffin on Saturday in G-MAC play.
ODU trailed 24-10 entering the fourth quarter, but an eight yard touchdown catch by sophomore Devanaire Conliffe (Willoughby, Ohio) and a fumble recovery in the end zone by sophomore Jayden Davis (Springfield, Ohio) brought the Panthers within a point.
However, ODU couldn't connect on the ensuing extra point, and the Panthers' final drive ended on downs at the Tiffin 43.
With the setback, ODU falls to 6-2 (4-2 G-MAC), while the Dragons improved to 8-0 (5-0 G-MAC).
The Panthers kicked a field goal on their opening drive of the game, a 23-yarder by sophomore Jed Quackenbush (Newark, Ohio), but could not muster any more offense the remainder of the half and trailed 10-3 at intermission.
Tiffin then scored a touchdown on the first drive of the second half to take a 17-3 lead, but the Panthers countered back with 27 yard runs by junior EJ Colson (Middletown, Ohio) and senior Cory Contini (Dover, Ohio), which set up a three yard TD catch by senior Wyatt McLeod (Myakka City, Fla.) with 4:43 to play in the third.
The Dragons answered with a nine play, 75-yard scoring drive to regain a two touchdown advantage that they took into the fourth quarter.
ODU's offense came back to life with a 31 yard completion to Conliffe to the Tiffin 22, and two plays later, Conliffe fought through a horde of would-be tacklers to the end zone for a TD to cut it to 24-17 with 13:33 remaining.
The defense forced a three-and-out, but ODU turned the ball over on downs near midfield. The defense stood tall again with another three-and-out, but the Panthers were forced to punt, and sophomore Logen Neidhardt (Hicksville, Ohio) had his effort downed at the goal line.
Two plays later, sophomore Aarin Smoot-Baker (Columbus, Ohio) forced a fumble that was kicked around in the end zone before Davis fell on it with 3:38 remaining.
ODU missed the extra point, though, but the defense was able to make one more stand and get the Panthers the ball back with 1:04 left.
ODU was able to pick up one first down and reached the Dragon 38 yard line, but a pair of incompletions ended the game.
Ohio Dominican finished with 379 yards of offense compared to 391 for Tiffin. Freshman Evan Ernst (Cincinnati, Ohio) completed 28-of-39 passes for 260 yards and two scores, while Colson ran for 75 yards. Junior David Turner (Fort Wayne, Ind.) hauled in 11 passes for 69 yards as well.
Senior Ross Thompson (Delphos, Ohio) made 12 tackles and junior Camren Moore (New Carlisle, Ohio) added 11 to lead the defense, but the Panthers had just one tackle for loss and one pass break up in the contest.
Ohio Dominican hits the road for a 1:05 p.m. kickoff at East Stroudsburg next Saturday.
Contact: Scott Miles