Amato ties single game interception mark as football blasts Battlers 56-10

Alessio Amato (Photo By Andrew Cugliari)
Alessio Amato (Photo By Andrew Cugliari)

PHILIPPI, W. Va. – The Ohio Dominican football team scored eight touchdowns and forced Alderson Broaddus into five turnovers during a 56-10 road triumph Saturday afternoon in Great Midwest Athletic Conference action.

With the win, the Panthers move to 3-2 overall and 2-1 in G-MAC play this fall, while also improving to 14-3 when coming off a loss since 2012. The Battlers fall to 0-5 overall and 0-2 in conference contests.

Leading the defense was senior Alessio Amato (Zanesville, Ohio), who had seven tackles, two for loss, and three interceptions. Amato's three picks ties a school record also held by Michael Wright (2008) and O'Sha Jackson (2015). The senior is also one of just three players in school history with two multi-interception games.

Sophomore Ashton Gilkey (Westerville, Ohio) led the team with nine tackles, adding a pass breakup as well. Classmate Jaylin Garner (Shaker Heights, Ohio) and senior Camren Moore (New Carlisle, Ohio) registered eight tackles each. Garner also logged 3.5 tackles for loss, including 1.5 sacks.

Senior Jamil Robinson (Hallandale, Fla.) picked off the first pass of his collegiate career and freshman Blaine Swartzmiller (Attica, Ohio) recovered a fumble to give ODU five takeaways. The defense has had at least four takeaways in three games this fall and four of the team's last six appearances dating back to 2018.

The offense scored a touchdown on five of its six first half drives. After the Battlers scored a field goal on their opening possession, the Panthers finished the first half with 35 unanswered points. Senior EJ Colson (Middletown, Ohio) scored on ODU's first possession, finding the end zone from one yard out. The senior set up the touchdown with a 63-yard dash on the previous play.

Colson gave the Black & Gold a 14-3 lead in the first quarter, after catching a 55-yard pass and then scoring from four yards out. After Amato intercepted his first pass, sophomores Evan Ernst (Mason, Ohio) and DeAndre Clark (Dover, Ohio) connected on a 71-yard touchdown, putting the Panthers up 21-3 after the first quarter.

After a slow start to the second quarter, ODU got on the board again, as Ernst capped a six-play, 51-yard drive with a one-yard touchdown run. A muffed punt return by the Panthers did give AB a chance inside the red zone late in the first half, but Amato intercepted the first pass thrown to give possession back to the Black and Gold. Ernst and junior Devanaire Conliffe (Willoughby, Ohio) then connected for the eighth time this season, as a 12-yard score gave ODU the 35-3 advantage at the break.

The Battlers scored their lone touchdown on their opening drive of the second half, but the Panthers finished with the game's final 21 points to win 56-10. Colson scored on a 17-yard run and Amato recorded a 44-yard interception return for a touchdown in the third quarter, while sophomore Shomari Williams (Cleveland, Ohio) found pay dirt from two yards out late in the fourth.

Ernst finished 19-of-32 for 276 yards and two touchdowns. The sophomore added 30 yards and one score on the ground, giving him two straight appearances with 300-plus yards and three scores. Clark posted his first career 100-yard receiving game, finishing with six receptions for 114 yards and the one score. Conliffe caught four passes for 40 yards.

Colson accounted for a season-high 159 offensive yards. The senior ran for 115 yards on just 14 carries (8.2 yards per rush), while adding two catches for 64 yards. With three scores, Colson is now tied for second all-time at ODU with 25 career rushing touchdowns. He also moved into third on the career carries list with 421.

Junior Jed Quackenbush (Newark, Ohio) moved up the career leaderboards as well. Quackenbush made all eight of his point-after tries, giving him 95 career makes on 100 attempts, which now rank third and tied for third, respectively.

ODU enjoyed a 513-332 yard advantage in total offense, as the Panthers eclipsed 500 yards for the first time this fall. The Panthers' 7.0 yards per play and 237 rushing yards were also season high totals.

After five consecutive weeks of action, Ohio Dominican will break from competition with the first of its two scheduled bye weeks. The 2019 season will resume with a road contest at Kentucky Wesleyan on Saturday, Oct. 19, with kickoff scheduled for 1 p.m. CDT.

Contact: Tyler Jester