FINDLAY, Ohio – Ohio Dominican's football team held off a wild Findlay rally to defeat the Oilers 49-37 at Donnell Stadium on Saturday night in GLIAC play, giving Kelly Cummings his first win as the Panthers' head coach.
The Panthers (1-1, 1-1 GLIAC) led 28-3 midway through the second quarter but sweated out anxious moments in the second half as the Oilers (1-1,1-1 GLIAC) drew within five points on several occasions. Leading 42-37, junior Tre McIntyre (North Lewisburg, Ohio) intercepted a pass and returned it 33 yards to the Oiler 12 yard line with 2:41 left, and three plays later sophomore Esaias Chapman (Waverly Hall, Georgia) burst through the line to score on an eight yard run to put the game away.
ODU tied a school record with five interceptions, as McIntyre had two, senior Billy Eakins (Pickerington, Ohio) had two, and freshman Gus Dimmerling (Perrysburg, Ohio) added one. Eakins' two picks gives him 13 for his career, setting ODU's all-time record.
Dimmerling and Marquise Tyus (Lakewood, Ohio) each made 11 tackles to pace the Panthers defensively.
The Panthers held on despite being outgained 514-434. Sophomore Dar Stanford (Zanesville, Ohio) led the offense with nine catches for 166 yards and a score, with Cory Contini (Dover, Ohio) adding 95 yards on nine grabs. Grant Russell (Newark, Ohio) completed 23-of-36 passes for 279 yards and three scores.
The Panthers clicked on offense throughout the first half, scoring on each of their first four drives and racking up 265 yards of total offense.
On ODU's opening possession, Stanford hauled in a 34 yard diving catch to the Oiler one, and senior Justin Davis (Detroit, Michigan) followed on the next play with a plunge over the goal line to give the Panthers a 7-0 lead at the 5:29 mark of the period. The drive chewed up 5:54 off the clock, covering 90 yards in 15 plays.
After a Findlay field goal, Russell started ODU's next drive with a 30 yard burst up the middle to the 46. Five plays later, Stanford worked his way behind the Oilers defense and tiptoed down the sideline, spinning out of a tackle for a 41 yard score to extend the lead to 14-3 late in the first quarter.
The Panther defense forced a three-and-out and ODU took over on the Oiler 48 to start the second quarter. A 28 yard toss to Stanford set up a back shoulder throw to Contini near the goal line, and the sophomore fought off a defender and into the end zone for a 14 yard touchdown, giving ODU a 21-3 lead three minutes into the quarter.
The defense came up big again on the next possession, forcing an incompletion on fourth down from the UF 43. Passes of 23 yards to Contini and 16 yards to Stanford set up a one yard TD run by Russell to make it 28-3 with 7:19 to play in the quarter.
Findlay closed the half strong, though, scoring 13 points in the final 4:08 to make it 28-16 at the break.
Eakins halted a Findlay scoring threat on the Oilers' opening possession of the third by intercepting a tipped pass at the Panther 15. ODU went three-and-out, though, and the Oilers drew within 28-23 with a long touchdown pass on its next drive.
ODU answered, as Stanford had a 21 yard catch on third and long, and Contini followed with a sliding catch on fourth and 11 for 13 yards to the Oilers 18 to extend the drive. Two plays later, Russell connected again with Contini on a deep post route for a 21 yard touchdown strike to put ODU on top 35-23 at the start of the fourth.
Findlay struck back with a touchdown pass of its own to make it 35-30 with 12:22 to play. After the Panthers punted, Dimmerling came away with an interception in Findlay territory, but ODU threw a pick in the end zone to stop the threat.
However, on Findlay's first play, Eakins came back with his second interception, setting up a nine yard TD run by freshman EJ Colson (Middletown, Ohio) to make it 42-30 with 7:22 left. It was Colson's first career score.
The Oilers scored once more with 4:23 left to make it a five point game again.
Stanford's 166 yards are tied for the tenth most in school history and a new personal best, along with his nine receptions. Contini's
Ohio Dominican plays host to Michigan Tech (1-1, 1-1 GLIAC) in its home opener at noon Saturday in Panther Stadium.
Contact: Scott Miles