OLIVET, Mich. – Albion College defeated Olivet College, 49-21, to gain a share of first place in the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association football standings.
The Britons, 7-1 overall and 4-1 against MIAA rivals, can wrap up a share of their 36th league championship with a victory over Alma College next Saturday. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m. at Sprankle-Sprandel Stadium.
Albion's defense set the tone for the day on the first possession of the day. Olivet running back Damorria Lilly carried eight times for 42 yards as the Comets reached the red zone. Quarterback Braden Black scampered for seven yards to set up fourth down at the Albion 5-yard line. Black was held short as the Comets turned the ball over on downs.
"You stop them on fourth down on the first series, and it's a different game if they score first just in terms of momentum and dynamics of the game," Albion Head Coach Craig Rundle told the Battle Creek Enquirer. "It helped our guys, too, in terms of confidence knowing we could make some plays."
Albion scored on its second possession as the Britons converted three times on third down. Dominic Bona completed a nine-yard pass to Jon Alandt and a 12-yard strike to Mikal McKoy and Colin Parks added a four-yard run. Parks gained the final 17 yards for the score and Albion led, 7-0, with 1:44 left in the first quarter.
Albion's next scoring drive covered 99 yards and the Britons faced third down just once. Bona hooked up with Chris McCall for 12 yards for the conversion, and he found Joe Mayone for 39 yards on the next play to move the ball to the Olivet 9-yard line. Bona found Alandt for an eight-yard score and the Britons led 14-0 with 5 ½ minutes left in the first half.
Olivet countered with an eight-play drive, capped by Lilly's 1-yard plunge, to make the score 14-7 at halftime.
Bona threw two touchdown passes (a 56-yard strike to Mayone and a 6-yard connection with Alandt) in the third quarter as Albion opened up a 28-7 cushion.
Albion extended the lead to 35-7 on Bona's one-yard pass to Mayone on the opening play of the fourth quarter. Bona and McKoy hooked up for a 36-yard score and Parks ran into the end zone from seven yards out to complete the Britons' scoring.
Albion's offense generated 629 yards. Bona was 33-of-44 for a career-high 373 yards. Mayone finished with a career-high 177 receiving yards on seven receptions, for an average of 25 yards per catch.
"Dom's big for us on offense. We go as he goes," Rundle told the Battle Creek Enquirer. "When he's playing well, we're hard to beat."
Parks turned in his fifth 100-yard rushing day of the season, collecting 118 yards on 18 carries. Mike Czarnecki added 92 yards on the ground.
The defense was led by senior safety David Simon with 11 tackles; sophomore safety Geordon Carter had nine tackles and senior linebacker Harrison Plaskey had eight stops. Austin Lynn was credited with 2 ½ tackles for loss and Jarrett Bochniak added a sack.