OLIVET, Mich. – Despite a record-breaking performances from sophomores Braden Black (Battle Creek/Harper Creek) and Kyle Bryson (Rives Junction/Leslie), the Olivet College football team came up just short against Kalamazoo College, 39-37, in its season-finale today at the Cutler Athletic Complex in Olivet.
Black broke the single-game school records for passing yards (422) and total offense (452), while setting new single-season school benchmarks for pass completions (191), attempts (308), yards (2,527) and touchdowns (20). Bryson broke single-game school records for receptions (19) and receiving yards (263). The 19 receptions is also a Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association (MIAA) single-game record and the 263 receiving yards is the third-most in MIAA history for a game.
The Comets were down 36-22 to start the fourth quarter. Olivet cut its deficit to seven on a 5-yard touchdown pass from Black to Bryson. The Comets forced the Hornets to punt on their ensuing possession. Black threw an interception in the end zone to stall Olivet's next drive. The Comet defense made Kalamazoo go three and out for a second straight time.
Olivet got the ball back with 3:28 left in the game. Black capped an 11-play drive with a 14-yard touchdown pass to Bryson to make the score 36-35 with 58 seconds remaining in regulation. The Comets elected to go for the two-point conversion and it was successful, as Black threw the ball to Bryson, and they led 37-36.
The Hornets were able to return the kickoff to their own 43. On a 2nd and 20 play, Kalamazoo completed a 38-yard pass down to the Olivet 2. After spiking the ball to stop the clock, Jacob Hardy kicked a 19-yard field goal with five seconds left for the final margin of victory.
The Comets trailed 14-0 early in the second quarter. They trimmed their deficit in half on a four-yard touchdown run by Black with 9:31 left before halftime. Olivet made the score 14-13 in the final minute of the half when Black snuck into the end zone from a yard out. The snap on the PAT kick attempt, and Bryson was able to gather the ball and stretch it across the line for the two-point conversion and the Comets led 15-14 at the break.
The Hornets scored on their second possession of the second half on an eight-yard touchdown pass from Justin Danzy to Alex Dietrich. Olivet tied the game on its next series when Black threw a 54-yard scoring strike to sophomore Jason Barbosa (Trenton).
Kalamazoo responded with a 68-yard touchdown pass from Danzy to Josh Wise. The Comets fumbled the ensuing kickoff. The Hornets took advantage of the miscue, with a five-play scoring drive, capped by a 31-yard run by Danzy to make the score 36-22 after three quarters.
For the game, Olivet totaled 512 yards of offense. Freshman Damorria Lilly (Warren/De La Salle Catholic) led the ground game with 13 rushes for 42 yards. Black completed 30-of-42 passes for his 422 yards, and had 15 carries for 30 yards. Barbosa caught three passes for 87 yards, while freshman Anthony Skuratovich (Brownston/Carlson) had five catches for 63 yards.
Defensively, sophomore Noah Keefer (Fayette, Ohio/ Archbold) had a team-leading seven tackles. Sophomore Trevor Haas (Scotts/Climax-Scotts) finished with six tackles and two pass break-ups.
The Hornets rolled up 482 yards. Danzy rushed 10 times for a team-high 57 yards, while throwing for 384 yards and four touchdowns on 27-of-42 passing. Wise caught six passes for 117 yards and two touchdowns. Dylan Zerki led the defense with 14 tackles, while Hartlee Lucas had 11 total tackles, including a team-leading 10 solo stops.
The Comets finish the 2013 season with a 6-4 overall record.