Third Quarter Outburst Lifts Panthers Past Hillsdale, 37-20

Third Quarter Outburst Lifts Panthers Past Hillsdale, 37-20

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Ohio Dominican's football team scored 16 points in a 1:41 stretch in the third quarter to pull away from Hillsdale, scoring a 37-20 victory in the team's GLIAC opener at Panther Field on Saturday.

Tied at 14 with less than four minutes to play in the third, sophomore Di'Andre Harrison (Columbus, Ohio) blocked a Hillsdale punt through the back of the end zone for a safety and a 16-14 lead.

The Panthers (2-0, 1-0 GLIAC) took the free kick back to the Hillsdale 49, and three plays later sophomore Brandon Schoen (Olentangy, Ohio) burst through the middle of the line of scrimmage and outran the Charger secondary for a touchdown.

Hillsdale (0-2, 0-1 GLIAC) then mishandled the ensuing kickoff and started its possession on its own three. Harrison had a two-yard tackle for loss, and on the next play senior Justin Bell (Columbus, Ohio) forced a fumble that Harrison fell on in the end zone for a touchdown that gave the Panthers a 30-14 lead with 2:01 to play in the quarter.

The Chargers answered with a touchdown, though, to cut the score to 30-20 before the end of the quarter. Hillsdale's two-point attempt failed.

But ODU came right back with a touchdown of its own, as the Panthers faced a third-and-eight on their own 35. Junior quarterback Mark Miller (Cincinnati, Ohio) rolled to his right and lofted a pass to junior Abe Johnson (Cincinnati, Ohio) down the ODU sideline. Johnson caught it near midfield, then cut back across the grain and won the footrace to the endzone for a 65-yard touchdown and a 37-20 lead, and Hillsdale would not threaten again.

The Panthers rolled up 571 yards of total offense a week after Hillsdale allowed just 307 yards to perennial playoff contender California (Pa.). A balanced attack saw the Panthers rush for 282 yards (6.1 per carry) and throw for 289 yards.

Schoen tallied 137 yards on 22 carries and senior Mark Nichols (Pataskala, Ohio) ran for 119 yards on 16 carries to lead the ground game. Miller completed 21-of-34 passes for 289 yards and three touchdowns. He was not sacked or intercepted.

Johnson tallied 127 yards on a career-high 10 receptions and sophomore Dez Stewart (Cincinnati, Ohio) hauled in six passes for 92 yards.

ODU held Hillsdale to 120 yards on the ground on 42 carries (2.9 per carry), limited the Chargers to 6-of-18 on third downs and had five sacks a week after recording six.

Bell led the team with 11 tackles, while sophomore Warren Shields (Richwood, Ohio) made nine stops with 2.5 tackles for loss and a sack. Sophomore Brad McCurdy (Columbus, Ohio), senior Nikko Tanksley (Reynoldsburg, Ohio), redshirt freshman Paul Wesselhoeft (Logan, Ohio) and sophomore Sydney Omameh (Columbus, Ohio) also had sacks for ODU.

After a scoreless first quarter, Hillsdale got on the board first with a 14-play, 80-yard drive to go in front 7-0 early in the second quarter.

Later in the quarter, ODU's offense finally got untracked. Taking over on their own 32, Miller found sophomore Ronald McCloud (Cleveland, Ohio) for seven yards on a third down completion, then connected with Johnson and junior Casey Williams (Nashport, Ohio) to get inside the Charger red zone. On third-and-goal from the three, Miller rolled out to his right, threw into a crowd and senior Nate Weeks (Marysville, Ohio) came up with it for his first career receiving touchdown.

After a Hillsdale punt, ODU took over on its 19, and on the first play Miller hooked up with McCloud on a 43-yard gain, then later found Stewart for a 15-yard completion to the Hillsdale 10. On third-and-goal from the 10, Miller again rolled right and threw to the corner of the end zone. The ball was deflected and Johnson somehow came down with it and got his feet inbounds for the touchdown.

That gave the Panthers a 14-7 lead that they would take into halftime.

ODU was driving on its first possession of the second half, but a fumble inside the Charger red zone halted that scoring drive. Hillsdale took advantage, needing just three plays to cover 71 yards and tie the game at 14.

Ohio Dominican hits the road for a 3 p.m. kickoff at Northern Michigan next Saturday. The Wildcats are 1-0 after defeating Findlay 41-31 today.

Contact: Scott Miles

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