Courtesy of Heidelberg Athletics
TIFFIN, Ohio â€“ Otterbein University found the end zone with just under five minutes to play and held on to top Heidelberg University 35-34 in an Ohio Athletic Conference football game played at Mayer Field, on the campus of Heidelberg. The win improves Otterbein to 2-1 overall and 1-1 in the OAC, while the Berg stands at 1-2, 0-2.
In 1992 these two teams played the first collegiate game on German soil and battled for the Rhine River Cup. They have been battling for the cup ever since and with todayâ€™s win the Cardinals have won eight straight.
Heidelberg and the Cardinals combined for seven turnovers which overshadowed a great offensive outing on both sides. The Berg finished with 559 yards, with 423 coming through the air, while Otterbein tallied 378 yards of total offense.
Senior signal caller Andrew Miller (Dalton, Ohio / Dalton) of Heidelberg completed 29-of-46 passes for a career-best 423 yards. Miller was one completion shy of tying the single game record and threw for over 400 yards for the first time of his career. His previous best was 381 yards. He also added four passing touchdowns on the day, to go along with 27 yards on the ground.
Millerâ€™s top threat was fellow classmate wide receiver Mike Preston (Euclid, Ohio / Euclid). Preston hauled in 15 passes, which was one shy of the single game mark, for a career-high 210 yards. It was the second straight outing that Preston has racked up triple digits in receiving yards and it was the first time he has amassed the 200-yard mark. For the game he finished with two touchdowns.
Adding depth to the offense was Mario Walton (Elyria, Ohio / Elyria) with 119 yards on eight receptions. It was the second time on the year, and his career, that Walton has eclipsed the 100-yard mark. He opened the year with a career-best 135 yards at Alma College.
Freshman Germany Woods (Cleveland, Ohio / Saint Edward) has found the end zone in all three games of his collegiate career, finishing with one versus the Cardinals. He carried the ball 13 times for 59 yards.
Scoring their first collegiate touchdowns in the setback was wide receivers James Sheahan (Painesville, Ohio / Lake Catholic) and Mario Escalante (Highland Heights, Ky. / Newport Central Catholic). Sheahan finished the day with two catches for 22 yards, while Escalante had 58 yards on two catches.
Linebackers Vaughn Klein (Galloway, Ohio / Central Crossing) and Andy Fadenholz (Grafton, Ohio / Keystone), along with defensive backs Tyler Levanduski (Amherst, Ohio / Steele) and Travis Coates (Columbus, Ohio / Beechcroft) paced the defense.
Klein finished with a game-high 10 tackles followed by Fadenholz and Levanduski with 12 and 10, respectively. Fadenholz and Levanduski both recorded career-high outings for tackles. It was the second straight outing that Fadenholz has finished with double digit tackles. Coates finished with two interceptions, while Levanduski had one that was picked off at the goal line.
Heidelberg opened up the scoring on the first series of the day. Woods ran the ball in from a yard out, while Jesse Hawkins (Georgetown, Ky. / Scott County) followed with the point after for the early lead.
Otterbein scored 10 straight points capped by a one-yard Austin Schlosser run with 7:46 left in the second quarter to put the Cardinals on top 10-7. However, Heidelberg answered on its ensuing possession when Miller connected with Sheahan for a three-yard TD pass. Hawkins followed with the PAT to put the Berg back on top, 14-10.
Both sides traded scores to close the half, but Otterbeinâ€™s David Brewer missed a PAT, giving the Berg a 21-16 advantage at halftime.
Heidelberg and Otterbein battled to a 13-13 tie in the third quarter and the Berg still held a slim 34-29 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
Otterbeinâ€™s Colton Coy rushed for a two-yard touchdown to put the Cardinals on top, 35-34. A failed two-point conversion held Otterbeinâ€™s lead to just one. Heidelberg answered by marching down the field to the red zone but a fumble in the middle of the field was recovered by Otterbein to put a halt to Heidelbergâ€™s threat.
Heidelbergâ€™s defense came out and responded by forcing a three and out possession by Otterbein to set up a final opportunity for the Berg, but Heidelberg could not cross midfield and suffered a setback.