Happy Homecoming! Football rattles Quakers, 37-14

(Photos: Dave Finck)
(Photos: Dave Finck)

TIFFIN, Ohio -- Amid the pageantry of Homecoming, the Heidelberg University football team pounded out a 37-14 victory over Wilmington College on Saturday. The 'Berg defense tallied seven sacks and three turnovers in the win before a frigid home crowd.

Heidelberg improved to 6-2 overall, 5-2 in the Ohio Athletic Conference. Wilmington, which snapped a 19-game losing streak in week one, slipped to 2-6, 1-6.

In the win, defensive end Verondtae Wilkinson registered four sacks and six tackles for loss.

With his 27th career touchdown catch, Demetrius Magee tied Michael Preston for first all-time in HU receiving touchdowns.

HOW IT HAPPENED

Keivon Belcher helped the Student Princes strike early. His 1-yard touchdown run capped off a 53-yard drive early in the first quarter. Cameron Vocke extended the HU lead to 14-0 in the first with a 3-yard run of his own, and the Student Princes had showed the crowd that last week's disappointing loss at Marietta was well behind them.

With the wind at his back, junior kicker Austin Baker bounced a 45-yard field goal off the crossbar and through the uprights to push the lead to 17-0.

The Quakers got on the board with a touchdown just before the half, cutting the Student Prince lead to ten points at the break.

Starting with the ball in the second half, Wilmington looked poised to get within one score. On 3rd and 9 from the Berg 25, Quaker QB Luke Creditt fluttered a pass that was picked off by Michael Warden. It was the second interception of the game.

Vocke scored his second touchdown of the afternoon with a 1-yard run late in the third.

After surrendering a WIlmington touchdown, Magee found the end zone to push the lead back to 30-14. Tyler Stoyle hit Magee for a 24-yard strike and a screen pass. Magee bounced off a few Quakers on his way to paydirt.

Stoyle completed his day with an exclamation point -- an 80-yard TD to Vocke. It was Vocke's third score of the day, bringing his total up to 16 on the season.

INSIDE THE BOX SCORE

Wilkinson's four sacks are the most since Ben Poirier had four in a 56-24 win over Marietta in 2012.

With 317 passing yards, it was the 12th time in Stoyle's career he has thrown for 300+ yards.  Stoyle has 69 career touchdown passes, tying him for second-most all-time with Andrew Miller (2007-10).  Michael Mees (2011-14) holds the record with 95.

Vocke had a career receiving day. The senior recorded a career-high 110 receiving yards.

With his 45-yard field goal, Baker recorded the longest field goal since AJ Morrison's 49-yarder in 2015. It was a career-long for the junior transfer.

The 26 first downs in the contest are the most the team has picked up this season.

WELCOME HOME

In addition to serving as a homecoming for hundreds of Berg alumni, the game marked the return of three former HU staffers. Wilmington head coach Bryan Moore and defensive coordinator Corey Fillipovich were both on Mike Hallett's staff. WC coach Matt Byrne was an All-OAC lineman at The Berg before he served as a graduate assistant.

LOOKING SHARP

The Heidelberg Marching Band, under the baton of Professor Jon Waters, unveiled their new uniforms before the game. The new wardrobe was made possible through the Strike Up the Bands fundraising campaign.

HONOR ROLL

At halftime, Heidelberg recognized the newest Athletic Hall of Fame members -- the 1930 Football Team, Claudie Johnson '85 (MBB), Lori Arnold Nutter '98 (WSOC), Jadie Wheeler '99 (SB) and Bill Sheets '03 (BASE).

Additionally, the Berg recognized the 1972 Stagg Bowl Team for its reunion. This season marks the 45th anniversary since the feat.

ROYALTY

Men's basketball player Jimmy Hanley and softball player Haylee Patel were named Homecoming King & Queen. Coincidentally, the pair went to high school together, graduating from Bishop Ready in 2014.

NOTABLE QUOTES

Head coach Scott Donaldson on the performance of the defensive line: "We knew we had to get pressure on the quarterback to give us a chance to win and we did that … We did a great job of that."

Donaldson on rebounding following last week: "After last week's loss we needed some positives early … We had some kids really step up their game since we were missing some guys … It was nice to see everyone bounce back together."

UP NEXT

The Berg travels to Baldwin Wallace University (5-3, 4-3 OAC) next Saturday. Kickoff in Berea is scheduled for 1:30 p.m.