FB: Berg rallies past Comets

Photos courtesy of Mason Hainey
Photos courtesy of Mason Hainey

TIFFIN -- Senior quarterback Trace Reynolds waited three years for his moment.  Freshman linebacker Zachary Blackiston waited six snaps for his.

Reynolds led the Heidelberg University football team to a come-from-behind 21-17 victory over Olivet College on a muggy Saturday night at Hoernemann Stadium.  Reynolds ignited the crowd with a 44-yard touchdown run on a quarterback draw, then sealed the game moments later with a 17-yard strike to Braden Jerome.

Blackiston paced a stout 'Berg defense with 16 tackles, including seven for loss.  Playing in his first collegiate game, Blackiston halted Olivet's opening drive with a sack -- his first of three on the day.  

With the victory, Heidelberg improved to 1-0.  The Comets return to the Wolverine State with an 0-1 record.   The Student Princes are 9-0 all-time against Olivet.

HOW IT HAPPENED

Trailing 17-7 midway through the fourth, Reynolds and company took possession at their own 30 yard line.  Following a big-time 21-yard completion to Jerome on 3rd-and-5, Reynolds broke out for a 44-yard touchdown run.  Austin Baker's PAT drew The Berg to within three.

Needing a stop, the defense stood tall on the ensuing Comet possession.  Olivet was forced into a 3-and-out, giving the ball back to HU on the 36 with 3:41 to play.

On 3rd-and-3, Reynolds scampered for 22 yards, down to the Olivet 28.  Four plays later, Reynolds found Jerome in the front corner of the end zone for the go-ahead touchdown.  

Up 21-17, a great shoestring tackle on the kickoff by Garrett Mullet forced the Comets to start their desperation drive at their 11 with 1:07 to play.  Sophomore Aidan Ammons registered a sack on the possession as the Comets turned the ball over on downs.

Reynolds took a knee to seal the win.  

Despite struggling through the middle of the game, the Student Princes started strong.  

After punting on their first drive, the Heidelberg defense forced Olivet to punt on their first possession led by Jermaine Burket who picked up three tackles on the drive. On their second drive of the game, Reynolds drove the Student Princes down the field on a nine-play 86-yard drive which culminated in a 17-yard pass to Jerome in the corner of the end zone for the touchdown. Baker was successful on the point-after-attempt.

Olivet found the end zone for their first score of the game on a quick 76-yard drive with 19 seconds remaining in the first quarter. Quarterback Lane Porter slung a 52-yard pass to Jacob Jodway on the first play of the drive. After a couple of Jamaul Martin carries, Porter found Chris Talbott on a 13-yard pass to the center of the end zone to even the score at 7-7.

The Comets found the end zone again with 4:13 remaining in the first half. Martin took this drive into his own hands and marched Olivet down the field on a series of run plays. He concluded the drive with a agile 16-yard run to the pylon. Kicker Douglas Pollard would connect on the PAT bringing the score to 14-7.

A second Olivet interception of the game would halt any offensive movement for the Student Princes, leading to a 14-7 halftime score.

The third quarter was rather subdued on both ends of the football, with the only play of note being a Pollard 33-yard field goal for Olivet extending the lead to 17-14.

INSIDE THE BOX SCORE

Blackiston led HU on the defensive end piling up an incredible 16 tackles, including seven tackles for a loss and 3 sacks in his collegiate debut.

Defensive back Tyler Freeman contributed in the secondary with three pass breakups. Elijah Brechbill added seven tackles and one pass breakup, while Collin Pecoraro sealed the edge with nine tackles.

Reynolds piled up 337 yards of total offense and three touchdowns, including two with under five minutes to play in the game.

Braden Jerome hauled in five catches good for a career-high 101 yards and two touchdowns to help the offensive efforts.

The Ohio Athletic Conference had a strong start to the season, going 9-1 in non-conference action.

NOTABLE QUOTES

Head coach Scott Donaldson on the season-opening win: "What an unbelievable win...we talked to the guys at half that the one advantage Olivet had on us was the experience, and in the second half that experience was even...we came out as champions in that second half."

Donaldson talking about freshman Zach Blackiston's breakout game: "Black did an unbelievable job...he's a freshman that was actually the third guy in at outside linebacker, and he forced me to keep him in the entire second half. What an unbelievable job by him."

Trace Reynolds on leading the fourth quarter comeback: "We just needed a shot. We were talking all game about how we were just one play away...the defense played very well and gave us an opportunity...we just stuck to our basics...Braden (Jerome) made a lot of big-time catches, the O-Line did a great job in creating the seams and we ran with it."

Reynolds on taking the momentum of this win into OAC play: "We've got to take it one week at a time...we're trying to go 1-0 every week...this momentum will be great for the young guys to take into practice and do the best they can building on this win."

Freshman Zach Blackiston on his impressive debut totaling 16 tackles: "The defense was running at a high pace all game...the reason I got so many tackles, is because my teammates held the running back up and allowed us to have a great team effort in stopping the offense."

UP NEXT

The Student Princes will head into their bye week before kicking off OAC play in Columbus, Ohio at Capital University on Saturday, September 15 in another 7pm nightcap. Heidelberg will return back to Hoernemann Stadium on Saturday, September 22 at 7pm vs. Baldwin Wallace University.