TIFFIN — The Ohio Northern football team wrapped up its 2011 season with a 48-21 loss at Heidelberg Saturday afternoon at Mayer Field.
The Polar Bears finish 6-4 overall and post their 16th consecutive upper division finish in the Ohio Athletic Conference with a 5-4 record, while the Student Princes finish 8-2 overall and 7-2 in OAC play.
Ohio Northern ran for 201 yards in the game, getting 81 yards and a touchdown from junior Carter Paul and 65 yards and a touchdown from sophomore Justin Buenger.
The contest was the first Bendekovic Bowl and will be played annually in honor of former ONU assistant coach Ronnie Bendekovic and his brother, the former HU assistant coach Jason Bendekovic. Ronnie passed away prematurely during Ohio Northern's 2005 season and Jason passed away prematurely during Heidelberg's 2010 campaign.
Sophomore Tyler Rue completed 15 of 33 passes for 165 yards and ran 12 times for 16 yards and a touchdown for ONU.
Defensively, Joe Powell had a career-high 17 tackles and senior Zack Clicck had 12 tackles for ONU.
HU forced five Polar Bear turnovers and returned three of them for touchdowns to end a 16-game losing streak in the series that dated back to 1994.
"You can't turn the ball over five times and give up three non-defensive sores and expect to win," ONU head coah Dean Paul said. "We dug ourselves too big of a hole to climb out of. Heidelberg is a very good team and they deserve a lot of credit. They played well."
The Student Princes rolled up 349 yards on the ground with Germany Woods gaining 173 yards and three TDs and Cartel Brooks gaining 104 yards and another TD.
Heidelberg's Chadd Williamson set the tone early, returning an interception 58 yards for a score on ONU's first possession, giving the hosts a quick 7-0 lead with 5:39 gone in the contest.
Rue tied the game up on the Polar Bears' ensuing possession, soring on a 15-yard run to tie it at 7-7 at the 4:26 mark of the first period.
HU would then march 67 yards in seven plays and go up 14-7 with 2:16 left in the first period on a 23-yard run by Woods.
Brooks would sore on a 4-yard TD run with 8:07 left in the half to make it 20-7 HU and Woods would score on a 4-yard run and Heidelberg led 27-7 with 1:57 left in the first half.
ONU faced a fourth and 3 from its own 41-yard line and attempted a fake punt, with Paul gaining 10 yards to pick up an appearant first down.
But Paul fumbled and Tony Gordon scooped up the fumble and raced 58 yards for a score and a 34-7 HU lead.
The Polar Bears battled back and Buenger plowed over from a yard out on the final play of the first half to make it a 34-14 game at intermission.
The Heidelberg defense struck again on ONU's next possesson as Stephen Fejedelem returned a Rue fumble 30 yards for a 41-14 HU lead just 1:23 into the second half.
Paul raced in from 35 yards out with 13:38 left in the game to pull Ohio Northern within 41-21, but Woods would score from 2 yards out with 5:47 left in the game to end the scoring and give the Student Princes their first 8-win season since 1993.
HU out-gained ONU 424-366 in total offense, but the Polar Bears had 22 first downs to 20 for the Student Princes.