FB: Heidelberg shakes Quakers

(Photos by Dave Finck)
(Photos by Dave Finck)

WILMINGTON -- The Heidelberg University football team jumped back into the win column with a resounding 44-13 victory at Wilmington College on Saturday afternoon. Quarterback Trace Reynolds completed 86% of his passes and tailback Branden Short had a career day as the Student Princes improved to 3-1 on the season, 2-1 in the OAC.

Heidelberg gained a season-best 551 yards of total offense and held Wilmington to 317.

Reynolds was 19-of-22 passing for 265 yards and three touchdowns. He added 45 yards and a touchdown on eight carries

Short topped the 100-yard mark for the first time as a collegian. The sophomore had 18 rushes for 139 yards, including a 38-yard touchdown.

Maceo Matthews only had three receptions, but scored twice. Braden Jerome had nine receptions for 142 yards -- both career highs.

Erik Hagedorn had a team-high eight tackles, including one on 4th-and-goal.

On the opening drive, Branden Short did the heavy lifting. Short carried the ball four times and helped moved HU into the red zone. Later, tight end Nick Cofer caught his first career touchdown reception -- a 13-yard pass from Trace Reynolds. Austin Baker added the extra point, as Heidelberg took a 7-0.

After a Quaker punt, the Student Princes overcame two 15-yard penalties in a 10-play, 75-yard touchdown drive. Facing 1st-and-25 from their own 49, Dimitri Penick made a diving grab for a 26-yard gain. Following two Reynolds rushes, Jace Grossman plowed through the Quaker defense for a seven-yard score.

A short Quaker punt gave Heidelberg excellent field position, which they turned in to three points on a 37-yard field goal by Baker.

Unlike in the loss to BW, The Berg defense held their opponent scoreless in the first period. Wilmington (1-3, 0-3) scored early in the second quarter on a six-yard pass from Kyle Barrett to Luke Richardson. Tyler Butcher added the point after.

With just under four minutes left in the half, Reynolds found Maceo Matthews on a slant for a 14-yard touchdown. Baker tacked on the PAT.

Jordan Green ended the ensuing WC possession by intercepting a deflected Quaker pass. Heidelberg led 24-7 at halftime.

On the first HU drive of the second half, Short carried the ball twice to set up the Berg offense. The next play, Reynolds hit Matthews over the top on a play-action fake for a 34-yard touchdown strike.

Down 31-7, the Quakers capped a seven-play drive with a 16-yard touchdown from Barrett to Matt Creditt. A mishandled snap on the conversion kept the score at 31-13.

The Student Princes answered right away, with Reynolds knifing into the end zone on a four-yard scamper. Baker's extra point bounced off the crossbar.

Trailing 37-13 and thirsty for points the Quakers went for it on 4th-and-goal from the HU 7. Barrett completed a pass to Ace Taylor on the right side, but Erik Hagedorn made an excellent open-field tackle at the three to force the turnover on downs.

Quarterback Jimmy Gephart made his varsity debut as the signal caller on the next Berg possession. Content with grinding time off the clock, the offense kept the ball on the ground for eight-straight plays. The drive was capped by a 38-yard touchdown rush by Short, which ended the scoring.

Heidelberg has won 10 in a row against Wilmington. Head coach Scott Donaldson moved to 2-0 against WC head coach (and former HU assistant) Bryan Moore.

Freshman Zach Blackiston had six tackles and a sack in the win. The Massillon linebacker has had at least one sack in his of his first four collegiate games.

The Student Princes were 6-of-8 on third down. Wilmington was 5-of-15.

The game was Heidelberg's first day game of the year.

Donaldson on Branden Short: "Branden was amazing today … It took him a few weeks for him to get comfortable with the offense again … Credit our offensive line for making him look even better than he already is."

Donaldson on Trace Reynolds: "Trace settled in early and did a good job to take exactly what the defense gave him and kept the chains moving … That's what you want your quarterback to do."

Donaldson on the defense: "Our defense got the job done today … They were tough at the line of scrimmage and got off the field on 3rd down."

The Student Princes return home next Saturday to take on Marietta College (4-0, 3-0). The Pioneers upset Ohio Northern, 43-42. Kickoff on October 6 is slated for 1:30 p.m.