COLUMBUS, Ohio – Ohio Dominican's football team couldn't recover from a 17 point halftime deficit as the Panthers closed their season with a 34-21 loss to No. 20 Ashland Saturday at Panther Stadium.
ODU finished with a 7-4 record overall (7-4 GLIAC), marking the fifth straight year that ODU has won at least seven games in a season. The Panthers are 41-9 in their last 50 games overall.
The Panthers took a 7-3 lead over Ashland (9-2, 7-2 GLIAC) on a 21 yard touchdown run by sophomore Joe Hines (Louisville, Ky.) on a fourth-and-one play. Hines swept around the left side of the offensive and was untouched to the goal line to give the Panthers the lead at the 10:50 mark of the second quarter.
Ashland scored three touchdowns in the final 8:43 of the period, though, including one with just 15 seconds left, to go in front 24-7 at the break.
The Panthers closed to within 24-14 late in the third quarter. Pinned against the two yard line, junior Grant Russell (Newark, Ohio) found sophomore Cory Contini (Dover, Ohio) on a 49 yard pass play to get the drive going, and Russell completed third down passes to freshman David Turner (Fort Wayne, Ind.) and Contini to move the Panthers to the Ashland two. Hines capped the 98 yard drive with a touchdown run on the next play to cut it to a 10 point game with 2:32 left in the quarter.
ODU's defense forced a punt, but the Panthers could muster just one first down before punting themselves, and Ashland extended the lead with a 57 yard touchdown pass. After another Panther punt, AU put the game away with a field goal to make it 34-14 with 4:39 left.
Russell tossed a 17 yard touchdown pass to sophomore Dar Stanford (Zanesville, Ohio) to cap the scoring with 53 seconds left in the game.
ODU was outgained 422-289 in the contest but did hold Ashland 10 points and 115 yards below its season offensive averages. AU entered the game leading the league in scoring and yardage.
Russell finished 24-of-37 for 231 yards. He closed the season completing 69.9 percent of his passes, a school record, while throwing for 2,730 yards and 23 touchdowns.
Stanford caught seven passes for 79 yards and Contini finished with five grabs for 85 yards. Contini caught 69 passes for 984 yards this season, which both rank fourth in ODU single-season history.
A trio of Panthers made eight tackles, including senior Marquise Tyus (Lakewood, Ohio), sophomore Ross Thompson (Delphos, Ohio) and freshman Gus Dimmerling (Perrysburg, Ohio). Tyus finished his career with 218 tackles, the eighth most in ODU history. Thompson, meanwhile, made 94 tackles this fall, the seventh-most of any player in school history.
Junior Tre McIntyre (North Lewisburg, Ohio) made six stops, and senior Billy Eakins (Pickerington, Ohio) closed his decorated career with four tackles. ODU's all-time interception leader with 14, Eakins made 255 tackles in his career, the fourth most in program history.
DAR STANFORD TOUCHDOWN CATCH
TOUCHDOWN! Russell throws a 17 yard pass to Stanford. pic.twitter.com/o5CIC1lcf1— ODU Panthers (@ODUAthletics) November 12, 2016
JOE HINES TOUCHDOWN RUN
Contact: Scott Miles