TIFFIN, Ohio—Sophomore running back Cartel Brooks (Kokomo, Ind./Galion) took the opening kickoff 79 yards for a touchdown and the Heidelberg University football team never looked back, cruising to a 55-3 victory over Capital University today on Homecoming at Mayer Field in Tiffin, Ohio. The win is the first for the Student Princes against Capital since 1999 and avenged a 60-50 loss a year ago in Bexley.
'Berg moves to 3-1 overall and 2-1 in the OAC, both firsts for the program under fifth-year head coach Mike Hallett. Capital falls to 2-2 overall and 2-1 in the OAC.
"The win is great," said Hallett. "It's another step in the right direction. We really operated on all cylinders today."
Several key defensive plays set up Student Prince touchdowns, as the Berg defense intercepted five passes from Crusader quarterbacks, including two picks by junior linebacker Craig Sykes (Centerburg).
Brooks' touchdown on the opening kickoff was his second of the season. He returned a kick 85 yards for a touchdown two weeks ago against Baldwin-Wallace College. Junior kicker Dan Kilger's (Novi, Mich./Novi) extra point gave Heidelberg a 7-0 lead just 12 seconds into the game.
Freshman quarterback Michael Mees (North Ridgeville) threw for one touchdown in the first quarter and two more in the second, and a Kilger 22-yard field goal put Heidelberg ahead, 31-0, by halftime.
Sykes' first interception of the day set up Mees' first touchdown pass, a seven-yarder to senior wide receiver CJ Powell (Detroit, Mich./Bishop Foley). The touchdown reception was Powell's fourth of the season.
Another interception, this time by sophomore linebacker Adam Cepik (Lodi/Cloverleaf), led to Kilger's field goal with 11:17 to play in the first half.
In the second quarter, Mees hooked up with senior wide receiver Josh Lynch (Dayton/Meadowdale) for a 54-yard scoring strike and closed the first half by dropping a nicely timed ball into the hands of junior wide receiver Mario Escalante (Highland Heights, Ky./Newport Central Catholic) on a fourth down-and-10 from the Capital 30-yard line with just 32 seconds left.
Nick VanMeter put the Crusaders on the board at the 9:24 mark of the third quarter when he connected on a 39-yard field goal, which ended a 15-play drive that ate 5:29 of the clock.
The Student Princes then went on another scoring jaunt, racking up 17 more points in the final 22 minutes of play, including a seven-yard run by sophomore second-team All-OAC running back Germany Woods (Cleveland/Lakewood St. Edward), another 22-yard field goal by Kilger, an eight-yard pass from freshman quarterback/punter Colin Bultinck (Lafayette, Ind./Jefferson) to junior tight end Brett Wiedemann (Norwalk/St. Paul) and a 58-yard run by Brooks at the 7:06 mark in the fourth quarter.
Kilger, last week's OAC special teams player of the week, made all seven of his point-after-touchdown tries and both of his field goal attempts, racking up 13 of his team-leading 28 points in one game.
Woods finished the day with a game-high 130 yards on 20 carries, his third 100-yard rushing performance in four games this season. Brooks totaled a season-high 62 yards rushing on just four attempts.
Mees was 14-of-23 passing for 265 yards and three TDs with one interception. Through the first four games of his career, the freshman is completing 54.1 percent (60-of-111) of his passes and has thrown for 894 yards and 11 TDs, including two 200-yard passing days.
Escalante caught five passes to lead the receiving corps, while Lynch caught four balls for a game-high 102 yards.
Defensively, junior defensive back Tyler Levanduski (Elyria/Amherst Steele) tallied a team-high 10 tackles and broke up one pass. Senior linebacker John Irwin (Westerville/Columbus DeSales) and Sykes added seven stops. Senior honorable mention All-OAC linebacker Andy Fadenholz (Grafton/Keystone) and senior defensive lineman Steven Carozza (Orrville) were each in on sacks. In addition to Sykes and Cepik, senior linebacker Dale Perkowski (Garfield Heights) and freshman linebacker Andy Kujawa (Maumee/Anthony Wayne) also notched interceptions.
Heidelberg next plays Saturday, Oct. 8 when it takes on OAC foe Muskingum College at McConagha Stadium in New Concord at 1:30 p.m. Earlier today, the Fighting Muskies beat Wilmington College, 14-3, in Wilmington.