TIFFIN -- Tony Morris caught three touchdowns and provided impeccable down-field blocks on two more as the Heidelberg University football team defeated Marietta College, 41-28. The Student Princes sprinted out to a 34-0 halftime lead and held on as the Pioneers increased the pressure in the second half.
Heidelberg improved 3-4 overall, 3-3 in the Ohio Athletic Conference. Despite a 265-yard rushing performance from Roger Walker, Marietta fell to 2-5, 2-4.
HOW IT HAPPENED
On the game's opening drive, pressure from Harrison Brown forced Marietta quarterback Darrien Fields to flutter a pass into the secondary. Jarett Wasson leapt under it for his first interception of the season. Heidelberg converted the pick into points six plays later when Tyler Stoyle found Morris in the left side of the end zone for a score. AJ Morrison made the extra point.
The Pioneers next drive ended in a missed field goal. Again, the Tricolor turned Marietta's misfortune into seven points. After a 26-yard pass to Geoffrey Helms moved the ball near midfield, Bryan Lacey rushed the ball down the left side of the field. Down field, Morris stay engaged in a block of a defensive back for nearly 15 yards as the speedy Lacey zoomed past for the 54-yard score.
Marietta matriculated the ball down into the red zone again on its next drive. On 2nd-and-goal from the 1, Fields fumbled and the Berg recovered.
Later, another Pioneer fumble -- this one forced by Wasson -- gave the Student Princes the ball on the plus-side of the field. On the first play, Lacey scampered 28 yards for the touchdown. Morrison's PAT was blocked.
Up 20-0 in the second quarter, Stoyle and Morris connected again for a 23-yard touchdown. The scoring drive was aided by a fake punt -- a Morrison pop pass to Brown for seven yards.
The final Marietta drive of the half started with 50 seconds. An incomplete pass and two short gains, accompanied by two HU timeouts, forced the Pioneers into punt formation with 34 seconds left. The snap sailed over Fields' head, all the way down to the Marietta 4-yard line. On second down, Stoyle was sacked for a 13-yard loss. Without a timeout, Heidelberg scrambled back to the line and managed to snap the ball before the gun sounded. In the chaos, Stoyle found Morris alone on the left sideline for a 17-yard touchdown.
Trailing 34-0 at half, Marietta came out with reckless abandon in the third quarter. Poor tackling yielded an 80-yard Walker touchdown on the first touch of the half. Later, a muffed punt by Heidelberg helped the Pioneers score again -- a nine-yard score by Walker. The ensuing kickoff was intentionally drilled into a Heidelberg up-man and recovered by the visitors. 12 plays later, including a conversion on 4th-and-9, Marietta drew to within 13 at 34-21 on a three-yard plunge by Walker.
Heidelberg halted the Marietta momentum early in the fourth quarter. An eight-play, 90-yard drive culminated in a 28-yard touchdown pass by Trace Reynolds to Cameron Vocke. The touchdown pass -- first of Reynolds' collegiate career -- was made possible by another Morris block on the left side.
Marietta managed to score once more -- a three-yard completion from Fields to Nick Hineman with 1:02 remaining.
Bryan Lacey finished with a season-high 167 yards -- his 11th career 100-yard game.
Vocke had a game-high 84 yards on five catches. Helms had 73 yards on four catches. Morris finished with 65 yards on four catches. Demetrius Magee's touchdown-scoring streak was halted at nine.
Reynolds, pressed into service in the second half, was 5-10 for 84 yards and a touchdown in his first meaningful action for Heidelberg. Stoyle had 149 yards on 11-of-20 passing.
BEYOND THE BOX SCORE
Prior to the game, four new medallions were unveiled on the Adams Academic All-American Plaza. The plaques honored toe four 2015-16 CoSIDA Academic All-Americans -- Mikaela Mitsch, Karlie DiRuzza, Derek Hug and Stephen Smith.
At halftime, 144 spring semester recipients of the Landess Scholar Ahlete Award were honored. To be recognized, the student-athlete must earn a 3.0 GPA during the semester of competition.
Lacey on the game: "Today, we knew when we had opportunities we had to take them and execute well and that's what we did."
Head coach Scott Donaldson on his team's play: "We played extremely well in the first half and made the plays when we needed to ... We need to come out of the locker room with more purpose after the half.
Donaldson on Morris' impressive day: "Tony was phenomenal today ... He has been great all year but today he took over the game."
Heidelberg travels to Wilmington College next Saturday. Kickoff against the Quakers is slated for 1:30 p.m.