Defense Stands Tall Again As #17 Football Defeats #18 Ashland, 24-17

Defense Stands Tall Again As #17 Football Defeats #18 Ashland, 24-17

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Ohio Dominican's football team scored 21 unanswered points and the defense made a red zone stand for a second straight week as No. 17 ODU knocked off No. 18 Ashland 24-17 under rain-soaked skies at Panther Stadium Saturday night.

The Eagles took over at midfield with 3:32 left to play and converted on a third-and-18 and fourth-and-four to reach the Panther 26. After a seven yard pickup on second down, ODU's defense forced incompletions on the third and fourth down passes to seal the game with 46 seconds left.

ODU had fallen behind 14-0 and 17-3 in the first quarter as Ashland doubled up the Panthers in yards (164-82) in the opening 15 minutes.

However, a 60 yard kickoff return by junior David Turner (Fort Wayne, Ind.) to start the second quarter sparked the ODU offense. Junior Shane Bucenell (Wesley Chapel, Fla.) hooked up with junior Cedric Washington (Knoxville, Tenn.) on a 30 yard touchdown toss in the back of the end zone three plays later to cut the deficit to 17-10, which is where the game stood at halftime.

The Panthers took the opening kickoff of the third quarter and moved 76 yards in just six plays, including a 20-yard keeper by Bucenell and a pass interference call on the Eagles on a fourth-and-three from the 23. Bucenell then tossed a fade route to senior Cory Contini (Dover, Ohio) from eight yards out to even the score at 17-17 with 12:31 to play in the third.

The defense then came up with a big play as senior Tristan Kehres (Shelby, Ohio) sacked Ashland quarterback Austin Brenner and knocked the ball free, where it was scooped up by senior Ross Thompson (Delphos, Ohio), who took it 35 yards to the AU five. Bucenell then hooked up with Contini on the next play on the same fade route to give the Panthers their first lead, 24-17.

Ashland drove to the Panther 19 on its ensuing drive, but junior Camren Moore (New Carlisle, Ohio) and sophomore Jayden Davis (Springfield, Ohio) teamed up to stop the Eagles on a fourth-and-two run to get the ball back to the offense.

Later in the third, ODU's defense forced a three-and-out, and in the fourth halted another Ashland drive that had reached the ODU 38.

Four Panthers had 10 or more tackles in the game, highlighted by defensive linemen Kehres and senior Nick Isaacs (Cincinnati, Ohio) who each made 12 stops. Moore registered 10 tackles, as did Davis, and senior Brian Hunter (Mayfield, Ohio) made nine tackles as well.

ODU was outgained 354-202 in the contest, though junior EJ Colson (Middletown, Ohio) tallied 71 yards on the ground. Bucenell completed 14-of-20 throws for 110 yards and three scores and Contini led all players with 41 yards receiving.

Sophomore Logen Neidhardt (Hicksville, Ohio) had another stellar performance, averaging 47.5 yards per punt on six attempts, with a long of 62. Sophomore Jed Quackenbush (Newark, Ohio) hit a 34 yard field goal and averaged 61.4 yards on five kickoffs, with two touchbacks.

Ohio Dominican remains at home next week as the Panthers start G-MAC play with a 7 p.m. kickoff Saturday against Hillsdale.

Contact: Scott Miles