Wittenberg posts huge first-round rally

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Wittenberg's Heath Eby celebrates after returning an interception 60 yards for a touchdown to seal the game.
Wittenberg athletics photo by David Pence

Trailing 21-3 and 31-13, Wittenberg came roaring back, scoring 39 of the last 46 points to defeat Heidelberg 52-38 in a 4-5 first-round playoff game. 

The Tigers scored 29 points in the fourth quarter, capped off by a 60-yard interception return for a touchdown by Heath Eby with 50 seconds left in the game. Heidelberg, which gave up 32 unanswered points after grabbing the big lead, was in Wittenberg territory with 1:02 left trying to tie the game.

Reed Florence threw five touchdown passes for Wittenberg, throwing for 346 yards and rushing for 66 more in the win.

Wittenberg (10-1) goes on to play Hobart, which defeated Washington and Lee (8-3). Hobart held Luke Heinsohn to 14 carries for 85 yards and a touchdown, while Steven Webb and Bobby Dougherty combined for 180 yards and four rushing TDs for the Statesmen (11-0) in the 38-20 win.

Bethel's Mitch Hallstrom made a great one-handed grab as part of an eight-catch, 100-yard game.
Photo by Eric Kelley, d3photography.com | More photos from this game

Bethel picked off Concordia-Chicago twice in the first quarter but needed a pass breakup on a two-point conversion with 18 seconds left to seal the road win 24-23. J.D. Mehlhorn broke up the pass and the Royals recovered the onside kick to run out the clock. The Royals (9-2) will play at UW-Oshkosh, which fell down 10-0 early but recovered to beat St. Scholastica 55-10. Cole Myhra ran for 198 yards and three touchdowns and Nate Wara added 128 yards on 12 carries for the Titans, who improved to 11-0 (photo gallery).

Mount Union (11-0) rolled out to a 49-7 halftime lead and cruised to a 72-14 win against Christopher Newport (6-5). Five players scored rushing touchdowns for the No. 1 Purple Raiders and Kevin Burke threw three touchdown passes as well.

Widener held Bridgewater State to 195 yards of total offense as the Pioneers ran away from the Bears, 44-14, in a game that was tied at 7 at the half. Tyler Rank ran for two touchdowns, Chris Haupt threw for one and Jamal Goodman ended the game with a 95-yard interception return for a touchdown as Widener eliminated the NEFC's at-large entrant. Widener (10-0) will host Salisbury, which beat Rowan 17-9 behind 125 yards and two touchdowns on the ground from Joe Benedetti. Freshman quarterback Paul Hamersma, making his first start at quarterback for Rowan, completed 24 of 46 but was picked off twice.

Jonny West threw for 303 yards and four touchdowns as Franklin (9-2) rolled past Adrian, 42-10. The Grizzlies put up 28 points in the second quarter and cruised from there. They'll head to Mary Hardin-Baylor (11-0). LiDarral Bailey passed for 267 yards and three touchdowns and ran for 124 yards and two more scores as top-seeded Mary Hardin-Baylor picked up right where it left off against ASC rival Louisiana College, beating the Wildcats 59-20 (photo gallery).

Scottie Williams goes over the top for Elmhurst in the win at Coe.
Photo by Ryan Coleman, d3photography.com
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Joe Furco threw a 7-yard touchdown pass with 11:41 left in the game to take the lead and the Bluejays made it stand up as Elmhurst defeated Coe 27-24. Scottie Williams ran for 196 yards on 35 carries in the victory. Elmhurst (10-1) ends Coe's unbeaten season and advances to play at St. Thomas (11-0). The Tommies advanced behind 166 yards and four touchdowns from Brenton Braddock in a 48-17 win against St. Norbert (8-3).

Out west, North Central leaped out to a 24-0 lead in the first quarter at Cal Lutheran and never let up, defeating the Kingsmen 41-21. Nick Kukuc ran for 250 yards and a touchdown on 20 carries, while Jeff Stolzenburg caught four passes for 121 yards and two scores. The Cardinals needed just two plays to get into the end zone and Cal Lutheran fumbled twice in the first quarter alone to set up the Cardinals with one short scoring drive. CLU's Eric Rogers finished with nine catches for 111 yards, but both of his touchdowns came after NCC led 41-7.

Linfield forced five turnovers, but still needed to hold off Pacific Lutheran in the final minute to beat their NWC rival for the second time this season, 27-24. The Wildcats (10-0) were outgained, 339-349, but scored on drives of 10 and 36 yards in the second quarter and on a Ty Robitalle 10-yard interception return in the fourth quarter. Kyle Warner caught 12 Dalton Richey passes for 205 yards for PLU (8-3), but Linfield sacked Richey six times, twice on PLU's final drive, leading the Lutes to spike the ball on third-and-16 and fall short on fourth down.

Mount Union draws Johns Hopkins, which defeated Washington and Jefferson 42-10. Jonathan Rigaud was again the big gainer for the Blue Jays, as he rolled up 155 yards and a score on 27 carries in the win. Three quarterbacks combined to go 24 for 50 for Washington and Jefferson (8-3).

Wesley crushed Mount Ida 73-14, boosted by 317 yards on the ground. Mount Ida (8-3) managed just 111 yards of total offense. Wesley (9-1) will play Cortland State (9-1) in the second round.

Framingham State (10-2) rallied from a 17-6 deficit early in the fourth quarter at Cortland State with two Melikke Van Alstyne touchdown runs, but Phillip Clain missed a tying extra point, and Chris Rose got 2 yards on a fourth-and-1 quarterback sneak with 1:27 left as Cortland State ran out the clock in a 20-19 win. The Rams' comeback started with a 42-yard John O'Connell punt return to the Cortland State 4 with 14:08 left. Van Alstyne scored on the next play, and ran in a two-point conversion. But a holding penalty negated the play, and Clain's point after left it a four-point game, 17-13.

Mike DeBole missed a 27-yard field goal midway through the quarter, but made a 23-yarder for a seven-point advantage. Van Alstyne had runs of 11, 17 and 43 yards before his three-yard TD made it 20-19.

Dec. 14: All times Eastern
at Mary Hardin-Baylor 24, Mount Union 16
@ Woodforest Bank Stadium; Shenandoah, Texas
Box Score Recap Photos
Dec. 8: All times Eastern
at Mary Hardin-Baylor 31, UW-Whitewater 14
Box Score Recap Photos
at Mount Union 28, Johns Hopkins 20
Video Box Score Recap Photos
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