N. MANCHESTER, Ind. – A Kyle Longsdorf interception in the end zone in the final minute preserved a 10-7 victory for Defiance at Manchester on Saturday and helped make Rob Taylor the all-time wins leader on the sidelines for DC with his 37th victory as the head coach of the Purple and Gold.
Taylor passed Malen Luke for the top spot in the Defiance College record books during his eighth year as head coach, breaking Luke's previous tally of 36 coaching victories in the six seasons from 1988-1993.
DC's fifth-straight victory set another program mark, as the Jackets climbed to 6-1 in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference for the most HCAC victories for the squad since joining the conference prior to the 2000 campaign.
After pasting the opposition by a collective score of 145-42 over the previous four wins and eclipsing the 40-point mark in each of the last two games, Defiance could not pull away from the Spartans. The Jackets scored on their first possessions of each half and then leaned on their defense and special teams to make the lead hold.
A 24-yard run from Rick Powell lifted DC to a 7-0 lead on the game's opening drive, before Tom Foos capped the Purple and Gold's first touch of the second half with a 27-yard field goal that pushed the spread to 10-0 with 8:32 left in the third quarter.
The Spartans would finally crack the scoring column on their next drive, orchestrating an 11-play series to narrow the gap to 10-7 with just over four minutes to play in the period.
That score would hold as the final margin, as the Yellow Jackets held MC to only four first downs over the final 19:08 of action and Foos continually pinned the Spartans deep into their own territory to help win the battle of field position.
Manchester would get one final chance however, after returning the tenth Defiance punt of the day to its own 40-yard line with 51 seconds left in the game. An 11-yard pass would move the ball across midfield, before a personal foul penalty against DC moved the ball to the Yellow Jackets' 31-yard line with 39 seconds to play.
With a fresh set of downs and one timeout remaining, Manchester chose to bypass playing for the game-tying field goal and instead tried for the win. The ensuing pass to the end zone was hauled in by Longsdorf to end the scoring threat and seal the 10-7 DC victory.
Longsdorf ended the afternoon with 17 tackles, one sack and the game-saving interception, while helping to hold Manchester to 189 total yards of offense on 2.7 yards per snap.
Patrick McDonald also racked up double-digit tackles with 10 and added a pair of sacks, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery, while Robbie Lakes and Matt Forry each tacked on seven stops.
Foos stuck five of his 10 punts inside the Manchester 20-yard line, en route to averaging 36.9 yards per boot. The 27-yard field goal also proved to be the game-winning score and moved Foos to within one make of tying DC's single-season record of eight made field goals.
Defiance (6-3, 6-1 HCAC) will close the 2010 regular season at Bluffton on November 13 at 1:30 pm. A Yellow Jacket victory combined with a Hanover (7-2, 6-1 HCAC) upset at Franklin (8-1, 7-0 HCAC) would vault DC into a three-way tie for first place and clinch a share of the HCAC Championship for the 13th conference championship in program history.