TIFFIN, Ohio – On a Saturday where Heidelberg University celebrated its rich football history, the current Student Princes returned to the win column with a 31-10 win over John Carroll.
Playing in the 1000th varsity football game in the history of Heidelberg University, senior C.J. Powell (Detroit/Bishop Foley) enjoyed a career day, finishing with 10 catches for 192 yards and a touchdown.
The Heidelberg defense held a high-octane Blue Streak passing offense in check. John Carroll quarterback Mark Myers completed 48% of his passes for 228 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. Prior to the game, Myers averaged 346 yards per game.
"I thought our secondary played their tails off," said Heidelberg head coach Mike Hallett, who was quick to praise his defensive coordinator Scott Donaldson. "Scott and his staff did an excellent job changing their look on defense so Myers couldn't get comfortable."
After intercepting a pass in the first quarter, John Carroll took a 3-0 lead on a 46-yard field goal by Brad Marchese. The field goal was the first time Heidelberg's defense allowed points in the first quarter all season.
Heidelberg (8-1, 7-1 OAC) got on the board in the second quarter. A 23 yard touchdown pass from Michael Mees (North Ridgeville) to Powell on a jailbreak screen capped an eight-play 80 yard drive. Dan Kilger (Novi, MI) added the extra point.
On the ensuing possession, Tim Littles (Swartz Creek,MI) recovered a Blue Streak fumble at the John Carroll 43-yard line. Running back Cartel Brooks (Kokomo, IN/Galion) scored on a two-yard rush to extend the Heidelberg lead.
Looking to close the Student Prince lead late in the first half, John Carroll (6-3, 5-3 OAC) drove the ball to the Heidelberg 28. With under a minute to play in the half, Adam Cepik (Lodi/Cloverleaf) intercepted a pass from Myers at the 14.
Cepik finished with a career high 12 tackles.
On the opening drive of the second half, Heidelberg went 56 yards on four plays, which included a 42-yard pass to Brooks on third-and-11. Robert Gray (Cincinnati/North College Hill) scored on a 15-yard pass.
Mees finished with 281 yards on 16-of-31 passing, two touchdowns and two interceptions.
After John Carroll turned the ball over on downs, Heidelberg scored again. Brooks found the end zone from 11 yards out, his 16th of the season. He finished the day with 134 yards on 29 carries.
On the season, Brooks has 1,345 yards. He needs 76 more yards to break Heidelberg's single-season rushing record set last year by Germany Woods.
Trailing 28-3, John Carroll embarked on a 12-play 53-yard scoring drive, capped by a 5-yard completion to Alex Kline in the back of the end zone. Marchese's extra point made it 28-10, but that was as close as the Blue Streaks would get.
Heidelberg ended the scoring with a 30-yard field goal in the fourth from Kilger.
Desperate to get back into the game, John Carroll focused on its passing attack with nominal success. Heidelberg's defense forced a turnover on downs and Justin Suddeth (Warren/Howland) had interception in the fourth quarter.
For the first time this season, Heidelberg possessed the football longer than its opponent. The Student Princes had the ball for 33:37.
Heidelberg outgained John Carroll 456 to 296.
During the game, Heidelberg honored its 1972 football team, winners of the conference championship game and the Stagg Bowl.
The win for Heidelberg keeps the Student Princes in contention for an at-large bid into the NCAA Division III Tournament.
"All of our focus now shifts to our next opponent, Baldwin Wallace," said Hallett. "They are the tenth step in the journey, and they're a quality football team. It should be a fun matchup here next Saturday."
Heidelberg will host the Yellow Jackets in the regular season finale on November 10. During the contest, Heidelberg will honor its Scholar Athlete award recipients. Game time is 1:30 p.m.