COLUMBUS, Ohio -- The Ohio Dominican football team's 16th season is set to begin at 1 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 7, with a pivotal road contest at regional foe, Shepherd (W. Va.).
ODU will look to return to postseason play for the first time since 2014 after coming off a 9-2 overall mark in 2018. Last fall also saw the Panthers go 6-2 in Great Midwest play, good enough for a tie for second.
ODU's performance in 2018 runs the program's streak of consecutive winning seasons to eight. During the span, the Black & Gold have produced a 67-22 record, a .753 winning percentage.
This fall, the Panthers are receiving votes in the AFCA Preseason Poll and return 10 all-conference players from 2018. Overall, 36 letter winners return, including 17 players who started at least three games.
A talented group returns at the offensive skill positions for the Black & Gold in 2019, including redshirt sophomore quarterback Evan Ernst (Mason, Ohio). Ernst was named 2018 Great Midwest Freshman of the Year after leading Division II in completion percentage (.745) and passing efficiency (184.4). Ernst threw for 2,506 yards and 28 touchdowns en route to a second team all-GMAC accolade.
Ernst will have the luxury of returning three all-conference receivers this fall in seniors David Turner (Fort Wayne, Ind.) and Cedric Washington (Knoxville, Tenn.), and junior Devanaire Conliffe (Willoughby, Ohio). Combined, the trio accounted for 140 of ODU's 253 completions last fall for 1,692 yards. Turner paced the Panthers a year ago with 76 receptions and is the leading returner in terms of yards with 733.
Senior EJ Colson (Middletown, Ohio) will look to climb up the career leaderboards at ODU this season. Colson has rushed for 1,925 yards and 22 touchdowns in his career, which both rank fourth all-time in program history. As a junior, he totaled 781 rushing yards and 10 scores.
Despite losing five starters on defense, seniors Camren Moore (New Carlisle, Ohio) and Gus Dimmerling (Perrysburg, Ohio) return to lead the way. Moore, a 2018 second team all-conference selection, averaged 8.5 tackles per game. Moore added six breakups and one interception in pass coverage as well. The two-time All-GMAC choice has 197 career tackles, adding two forced fumbles with his one interception.
Dimmerling appeared in just two games a year ago due to injury, but was a first team All-GMAC selection in 2017, when he started all 10 games. He made 68 tackles with two interceptions and four pass breakups.
ODU's punting specialist also return in junior Logen Neidhardt (Hicksville, Ohio) Neidhardt, a two-time G-MAC Special Teams Player of the Year, has 85 career punts with an average of 41.9 yards and 29 attempts downed inside the opponent's 20-yard line. The junior has a career long of 67 yards.
Contact: Tyler Jester