Courtesy of Heidelberg Athletics
TIFFIN, Ohio – The Heidelberg University football team returned to the win column on homecoming with a 33-21 victory over Muskingum University at Mayer Field, on the campus of Heidelberg. The win improved the Berg to 2-3 overall and 1-3 in the Ohio Athletic Conference, while the Muskies fell to 3-2 and 2-2.
Heidelberg opened up to a 24-0 lead through the first half to make an early statement. However, Muskingum did not go down without a fight and returned in the second half to hold a 21-9 advantage, but the Berg defense held on for the win.
Leading the way on the day was the new Heidelberg career receiving touchdown leader Mike Preston (Euclid, Ohio / Euclid). Senior quarterback Andrew Miller (Dalton, Ohio / Dalton) connected with Preston for the first three TD’s, which were the first three scores of the game. Preston now has 22 touchdowns for his career which tops Chuck Ritzler’s mark of 21 set from 1982-85.
The senior duo of Miller and Preston began the scoring with a 20-yard TD pass to Preston with 3:06 left in the first quarter. Jesse Hawkins (Georgetown, Ky. / Scott County) added the point after to put the Berg on top by seven.
In its first possession of the second quarter, Preston found the end zone on a 21-yard pass from Miller. Hawkins added another PAT to double Heidelberg’s lead.
Muskingum fumbled the ensuing kick-off and the Berg recovered in Muskie territory. Five plays later, Heidelberg increased its lead to 21-0 when Miller and Preston connected yet again and Hawkins added the point after. This time Preston had a four-yard reception.
Hawkins extended Heidelberg’s first half lead to 24-0 with a 39-yard field goal as time expired in the opening half. The field goal was the first on the year for Hawkins and increased his career total to 26, which is two shy of the career mark.
The Muskies got on the scoreboard in the third with the only score by either side. Tony Pellegrino had a two-yard run with 6:23 on the clock.
The Berg closed out the third with possession of the ball. They took two plays in the fourth before Chance Ferrell (Garfield Heights, Ohio / Garfield Heights) had an 11-yard TD pass from Miller. Ferrell’s score followed by a Hawkins PAT put the Berg on top 31-7.
Muskingum went on to find the end zone on each of its next two possessions. Before Steven Carozza (Orrville, Ohio / Orrville) and Mike Noel (Fort Lauderdale, Fla. / South Plantation) stepped up and sacked Muskingum’s Jake Burns for a safety to push the final score to 33-21.
For the game, Heidelberg finished with 354 yards of total offense, while the Muskies racked up 334. Through the air for Heidelberg, Miller completed 15-of-31 passes for 174 yards and four touchdowns.
The leading receiving threats for Heidelberg were Preston with 69 yards on six catches. Mario Walton (Elyria, Ohio / Elyria) followed with 40 yards on two catches.
On the ground sophomore Brad Jones (Lorain, Ohio / Lorain Southview) registered his first 100-yard rushing game. Jones carried the ball 14 times for 101 yards. He did not get dropped for a loss the entire contest.
Defensively, Heidelberg held Muskingum to just 96 yards on the ground. Leading the way was Travis Coates (Columbus, Ohio / Beechroft) with nine tackles. He was backed by Andy Fadenholz (Grafton, Ohio / Keystone) and Tony Gordon (Euclid, Ohio / Euclid) with seven apiece. Andy Lovins (Clinton Twp., Mich. / Lake Shore) and Stephen Fejedelem (Ravenna, Ohio / Ravenna) each had a sack each. For the third straight game Tyler Levenduski (Amherst, Ohio / Steele) had an interception.