FB: Berg falls to BW

(Photos by Mason Hainey)
(Photos by Mason Hainey)

TIFFIN -- The Heidelberg University football team found itself in a familiar position on Saturday night -- trailing in the fourth quarter. But unlike the first two weeks, the Student Princes weren't able to muster a comeback in a 34-10 loss at home to Baldwin Wallace University.

Costly penalties and 3rd-down woes hampered The Berg, who dropped to 2-1 on the season, 1-1 in the OAC. BW outgained Heidelberg 417-299 and improved to 3-1, 2-1.

KEY STATS

Trace Reynolds passed for 168 yards on 11 completions, including one touchdown. He carried the ball 29 times.

Keivon Belcher and Braden Jerome each reeled in four receptions for 83 and 61 yards respectively.

Austin Baker had one rush for six yards on a fake punt to pick up a big first-down for the Berg.

Elijah Brechbill tallied eight tackles and one pass breakup on the defensive end. Tyler Freeman and Braden Jerome each recorded an interception for the Berg defense.

HOW IT HAPPENED

Heidelberg got out of the gates early, opening the scoring on just the second play from scrimmage. Reynolds heaved a pass down field to Belcher who reeled in the pass. Belcher then out ran the BW secondary to find the end zone, putting the Berg up 7-0.

Baldwin Wallace responded quickly, as Jake Hudson found Chad Steinwachs on a 1-yard pass to the corner of the end zone. The play capped off a 10-play, 79-yard drive for the Yellow Jackets.

After the next Berg drive stalled on four plays, BW embarked on a quick, 80-yard drive, culminating in a 28-yard touchdown by Niejel Henderson. Hudson found Henderson on a screen pass, who escaped two tackles to find the pylon for the score. A high snap on the PAT, forced the Yellow Jackets to fall on the football, bringing the score to 13-7.

BW added to their lead with 11:41 remaining in the second quarter on a 14-yard Deion Greer scamper. After Brechbill dropped Jordan Leverette for a 7-yard loss, Greer found the edge and dove into the corner of the end zone to add onto the lead.

Heidelberg took their time on their next drive, including 14 plays, and 5:17 of time. However, the drive stalled and the Berg settled for a field goal attempt. Baker attempted a 41-yard field goal, but hooked the kick to the right.

Baldwin Wallace added onto their lead late in the half, with a 2-yard QB keeper for Hudson with 0:56 left on the clock. The drive was highlighted by a 51-yard completion to Darion Greer. With the score, BW increased their lead to 27-7.

With Berg punting on their next drive, BW got one more chance to add on to their lead, when Hudson attempted a hail mary. The Berg expected the play, sending some help out on the defensive end. Jerome, a receiver, came down with the pass for the interception, the first of his career, ending the half.

After a slow start to the third quarter, BW attempted to catch the Berg defense off-guard, snapping the ball to Will Vance who broke to the left on a rush, before pulling back to sling a long pass downfield. Freeman was in coverage and hauled in the over-the-shoulder interception. Freeman took the turnover 22 yards into Yellow Jacket territory, giving the Student Princes excellent field position.

The Berg offense drove down the short field after the Freeman interception, aided by a BW pass interference call. However, the Yellow Jacket defense held strong stopping two runs, including one tackle for a 2-yard drop, forcing the Student Princes to a field goal attempt. This time, Baker connected on the 23-yard kick, bringing the score to 27-10, Yellow Jackets.

Heidelberg's defense held strong on the next Baldwin Wallace drive. A 4-yard tackle for a loss by Barry Middleton and a big-time sack by Aidan Ammons forced the Yellow Jackets to punt.

On 4th-and-1 on the ensuing HU drive, the Berg sent out the punt unit. Baker, an All-American in 2017, took the long snap and scampered to the left for a six-yard gain and into the BW bench for the first down.

After the fake punt and a tough 18-yard run by Reynolds, the Heidelberg drive was once again beset by a crucial penalty. The halted drive forced the Student Princes into a field goal attempt, which was blocked by Wezlee Spence.

Later, BW took advantage of a short field and added to their lead. A 38-yard, two-play drive was capped off with a 5-yard skip to the end zone by Hudson. Hudson connected with Jordan Leverette on a 33-yard pass into contested coverage to highlight the drive. The score put the Yellow Jackets up 34-10.

On BW's next possession, they were forced to punt after a nice tackle for a loss by Matt Davenport. On the ensuing punt, Smith got his hand on the punt, but a forward bounce allowed the ball to roll forward 17 yards.

Two incompletions and a big unsportsmanlike penalty forced the final Heidelberg drive into a challenging fourth down. Reynolds targeted Dimitri Penick but the pass fell incomplete turning the ball over on downs with 2:11 left in the game. BW would run out the clock for the win.

INSIDE THE BOX SCORE

The Student Princes committed six accepted penalties on the evening, all coming in crucial moments, complicating their drives, resulting in a loss of 78 yards. Three of those six penalties were hit for unsportsmanlike conduct.

The Belcher touchdown in the first quarter marked the longest scoring play of the season for the Berg.

The two interceptions were the first of the season for the Student Princes.

Heidelberg was only successful on 22% of their third-down conversions, while BW converted 62% of their opportunities.

NOTABLE QUOTES

Head coach Scott Donaldson on the Heidelberg learning experiences: "This is a huge learning experience for the whole group … we have to clean up a lot things, penalties, taking away big plays, and completing tackles on defense."

Donaldson on what bright spots can lead into Wilmington: "We had so many opportunities to change the game in the second half, we just need to take advantage of those moments and capitalize on changing the game."

Coach Donaldson on his team moving forward: "I'll never question this team's heart and drive … they kept fighting no matter what the scoreboard said."

UP NEXT
The Student Princes hit the road for a 1:30 p.m. kickoff away to Wilmington College.

Heidelberg will be back at Hoernemann Stadium for Youth Sports Day and Local Community Business Day on Oct. 6, hosting Marietta College at 1:30 p.m.