Big Second Quarter Carries Football To 65-7 Win Over Kentucky Wesleyan

Photo by Todd Thoenen
Photo by Todd Thoenen

COLUMBUS, Ohio – A record-setting second quarter propelled Ohio Dominican's football team to a 65-7 victory over visiting Kentucky Wesleyan on a picturesque fall Saturday in Panther Stadium.

The Panthers (8-2, 5-2 G-MAC) scored a school-record 37 points in the quarter, including 30 in a five-minute stretch, to pull away to a 51-0 halftime lead. ODU racked up 191 yards of offense and KWC finished with minus-11 yards in that period as the Panthers threw for three touchdowns, ran for another, recorded a safety and recovered a KWC fumble in the end zone for a fifth touchdown.

ODU, ranked No. 9 in Super Region One, limited Kentucky Wesleyan to minus-27 yards rushing in the game, a school-record best defensive effort in that category. Kentucky Wesleyan (3-6, 2-5 G-MAC) finished with 142 yards of total offense, the sixth-best defensive effort in school history, and the best showing since holding Hillsdale to 130 yards in 2014.

The 65 points scored are the fifth most in a game in program history, and the 58 point margin of victory is the fourth largest in school history.

Individually, senior wide out Cory Contini (Dover, Ohio) broke the school's total touchdown mark as he caught three TDs on the afternoon, giving him 38 for his career. Brandon Schoen held the previous record with 36 career scores. Contini, who caught six passes for 131 yards, is also now just 16 yards from breaking Dez Stewart's all-time mark of 3,197 receiving yards.

Freshman quarterback Evan Ernst (Mason, Ohio) completed 18-of-22 passes for 288 yards and five touchdowns. His 257.7 passing efficiency was the best in single-game history, his 81.8 completion percentage is tied for the 10th best in single-game history and his 13.1 yards per attempt are seventh-best.

The defense racked up five sacks and 13 tackles for loss, tied for the fourth-most in single-game history. Sophomore Aarin Smoot-Baker (Columbus, Ohio) recorded two sacks and 3.0 tackles for loss in the contest. Freshman Jaylin Garner (Shaker Heights, Ohio) had a sack, 2.5 tackles for loss, the safety, and recovered the fumble for the touchdown on a sack by senior Nick Isaacs (Cincinnati, Ohio).

Sophomore Dauson Dales (Defiance, Ohio) led the Panthers with eight tackles and senior Ross Thompson (Delphos, Ohio) made six tackles with a sack as well. Thompson is now 13 tackles from setting ODU's all-time mark, trailing only Justin Bell (294) and Nathan Hillerich (290) on the career list.

ODU scored on seven straight possessions in the first half, taking a 14-0 lead through the end of the opening quarter on a 26 yard TD pass to Contini and a 39 yard touchdown toss junior David Turner (Fort Wayne, Ind.).

Junior EJ Colson (Middletown, Ohio) started the scoring in the second quarter with a one-yard TD run at the 9:09 mark, and the onslaught began three minutes later. Contini caught a 42 yard TD and sophomore Devanaire Conliffe (Willoughby, Ohio) caught a 44 yard pass to make it 35-0 with just over three minutes to play, and Garner's safety occurred 11 seconds later.

After the free kick, Contini caught a 38 yard TD with 2:13 to play in the period, and Isaac's sack set up Garner's recovery less than a minute later to make it 51-0 heading into the locker room.

ODU had a 346-41 edge in yardage at the half and had an average starting field position of its own 48 in the first 30 minutes. The Panthers held Kentucky Wesleyan to just 63 total yards on 44 plays in the first three quarters.

Sophomore Fred Pitts (Huber Heights, Ohio) had a 14 yard TD run in the third quarter and classmate Monalo Caldwell (Cincinnati, Ohio) tacked on a seven yard TD in the fourth to close out the scoring.

Pitts finished with 65 yards and Caldwell with 41 to pace the ground game. Turner had 61 yards on five grabs and Conliffe 65 yards on a trio of receptions to also lead the aerial attack.

Ohio Dominican closes out the regular season with a noon kickoff at Lake Erie on Saturday.

Contact: Scott Miles