Panthers Pull Away From Georgetown for 41-14 Opening Win

Warren Shields
Warren Shields

GEORGETOWN, KY. – Ohio Dominican's football team scored 24 unanswered points in the second and third quarters to pull away from No. 6 Georgetown (Ky.) 41-14, snapping the Tigers' 27-game regular season win streak.

ODU improved to 7-3 all-time in season openers as sophomore Dez Stewart (Cincinnati, Ohio) finished with a school-record 187 yards receiving, junior Mark Miller (Cincinnati, Ohio) threw for a career-best 347 yards and the defense forced four turnovers.

After a pair of ODU three-and-outs to start the game, Georgetown went on a 10-play, 68-yard drive to score the game's first points, a two-yard touchdown run to put the Tigers in front 7-0 with 54 seconds to play in the first quarter.

The Panthers went hurry-up on offense after that, though, with Miller connecting with Stewart on an acrobatic one-handed grab on third down to move the chains, and a 30-yard pitch-and-catch with sophomore Ronald McCloud (Cleveland, Ohio) moved ODU to the Georgetown six. Three plays later, sophomore Brandon Schoen (Olentangy, Ohio) drove the pile forward at the goal line for the score to tie the game 7-7 moments into the second quarter.

Bell then forced a fumble on Georgetown's first play from scrimmage, which freshman Paul Wesselhoeft (Logan, Ohio) recovered at the Tiger 27. On ODU's first play from scrimmage, Miller threw a quick swing pass out to the right flat to senior Mark Nichols (Columbus, Ohio), who weaved his way through traffic to the end zone, giving the Panthers a 14-7 lead.

Both teams had chances to score the remainder of the quarter but could not capitalize. Georgetown would miss a 27-yard field goal attempt, and the Panthers would turn the ball over at the Tiger goal line with just over three minutes to play in the half.

Stewart made another incredible grab, this one for 33 yards, to set up a 27-yard field goal by sophomore Brent Wahle (Pataskala, Ohio) to give the Panthers a 17-7 lead early in the third quarter.

Sophomore Cody Culbertson (Columbus, Ohio) then intercepted a Georgetown pass at the Tiger 38-yard line, picked up a convoy of blockers and reached paydirt to cap off ODU's 24 straight points, making it 24-7 with 5:42 left in the third.

Georgetown came right back with a 65-yard kick return, though, and two plays later scored on a touchdown pass to the right corner of the end zone to get back within 10.

However, it was all Panthers from that point forward. It took ODU just two plays of its own to score again, with Miller finding Stewart by himself for a 58-yard touchdown, picking up a key block from Jerad Butler (Bucyrus, Ohio) downfield to score.

Georgetown threatened to score on its next drive, but a fumble inside the Panther five-yard line thwarted that drive.

ODU's defense remained firm the rest of the game, and the Panthers would close out the scoring on Wahle's 47-yard field goal, which tied a school record, and a 26-yard touchdown toss from Miller to Nick McKnight (Middletown, Ohio) late in the fourth.

The defense recorded six sacks, including two from Di'Andre Harrison (Columbus, Ohio), which was tied for second-most in school history. The Panthers also recovered three fumbles, including two by Wesselhoeft, and had eight tackles for loss as well.

Shields made 11 of his game-high 12 tackles in the first half, Brad McCurdy (Columbus, Ohio) had seven tackles and Harrison had six tackles to go along with his two sacks.

Miller completed 23-of-38 throws for his 347 yards and had three touchdown throws, Abe Johnson (Cincinnati, Ohio) had six catches and Schoen ran for 48 yards to lead the ODU offense.

The Panthers gained 428 yards of total offense and held Georgetown to 336 total yards.

ODU will begin GLIAC play on Saturday, Sept. 14 as the Panthers play host to Hillsdale College at Panther Field at noon.

Contact: Scott Miles