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The Collegian

The Student News Site of Ashland University

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Ashland University

The Collegian

Eagle football falls to Dragons, 55-30, in disappointing road contest

The Eagles allowed the most amount of points in a game since the 2001 season
Mike Hopkins
Eagle running back Gei’Vonni Washington tries to push off a tackle from a Dragon defender.

On Saturday, Sept. 23, the Ashland University football team traveled to Tiffin, Ohio, to take on the Dragons in what was set to be an exciting affair between two of the top Great Midwest Athletic Conference (GMAC) teams.

However, when the final whistle was blown, it was the Dragons who came to play in the 55-30 dominating victory over the Eagles.

“We didn’t take advantage of the opportunities afforded to us in the first half. In each game you need to figure out what needs to be done to win that day,” said Head Coach Doug Geiser. “On some days, the defense needs to get a key stop. On other days, the offense needs to win a shoot-out. In some games, your special teams need to make a play to change the momentum.”

When the two sides went toe-to-toe at Frost-Kalnow Stadium, the outing began with the Eagles showcasing real offensive production as they found the opening score.

The Eagles marched 70 yards down the field in eight plays before red-hot wideout Dezmin Lieburtus hauled in a reception from quarterback Trevor Bycznski from 11 yards out for a score.

“From the way he practices to way he performs on game day, Dez has been a great example to our young guys,” said Geiser. “He is a key cog in our offensive attack every week.”

This drive for the Eagles would be the team’s most consistent and productive of the day.

“Their offense got hot, and we needed our offense to match them in order to win a shoot-out,” said Geiser. “Unfortunately, we didn’t execute as efficiently as we needed to continue a couple of drives in the first half. That put us behind the 8-ball, and led to a deficit that we couldn’t overcome.”

After the score was made by the Eagle offense to start, the remainder of the first half would be controlled by the Dragons. On the next drive, the Dragons marched down the field in eight plays before finding the endzone at the hands of wideout Josh Lewis to bring the game even at seven points a piece.

To finish off the first quarter, the Dragons would find another score once again as wideout Devin Nelson would haul in a 24-yard reception from Dragon quarterback Kason Martin.

With a 14-7 lead in favor of the Dragons, the Eagle offense would attempt to tie back up the contest but a lackluster running attack and inconsistencies breaking through the offensive line, each offensive drive would fizzle out.

The Dragons would then add on two more scores before halftime hit, giving them a 28-7 lead through the opening 30 minutes of the contest. Martin finished the first half with over 150 passing yards and three touchdowns through the air, exposing issues with the Eagles’ past defense.

Heading into the second half, the Eagles needed to cutdown a 21-point deficit on the road.

To begin the final 30 minutes of play, the Eagles were able to find the endzone quickly with wideout Tony Pannunzio scoring off a 14-yard pass from Bycznski. However, to add insult to injury, kicker A.J. Rhodes missed the PAT, leaving the scoreline set 28-13.

The Eagles cut the deficit to 15 points for just 34 seconds before running back Ronald Blackmon dashed for 63 yards to the endzone, bringing the lead to 22 points.

The next drive the Eagles marched down the field and secured three points after a 41-yard field goal from Rhodes, making the score 35-16.

The Dragons would then score one more time in the third quarter to push the team over 40 points after a six yard run was dashed in by running back Tyrese Banks-Dorn.

Heading into the fourth quarter the Eagles lightened the blow once again as Bycznski quarterback-snuck into the endzone from a yard out, cutting the lead to 19, 42-23.

In the fourth quarter, the Dragons would score two more times pushing the team’s point total to 55, while the Eagles scored just once more, finishing the outing with 30.

The Eagles were headlined by offensive production from Bycznski who threw for 209 yards and three touchdowns, while running in one. The three passing touchdowns saw Lieburtus, Pannunzio and Jake McLoughlin hauling in the three scores. In the running game, Larry Martin ran for 120 yards on eight carries.

Defensively, linebacker Jackson Myers had 11 tackles, one tackle for loss and one sack.

The Eagles fell to 1-3 on the season overall and 1-1 in conference play.

We’ll trust the process. Earlier this afternoon [Sunday], we watched the film with our players, talked over the mistakes, and then walked through the corrections on the field,” said Geiser. “Afterwards, we talked about ‘turning the page’ and moving on to Ohio Dominican. We cannot let Tiffin beat us two weeks in a row by focusing on that game as we prepare to play ODU.”

The next outing for them comes on Saturday, Sept. 30, at 1 p.m. when they gear up to take on the Ohio Dominican Panthers in conference play.

“We’ll put the game plan together, and then work to implement it throughout the upcoming week during practice. The great thing about college football is that we get a chance to wash this sour taste out of our mouth next Saturday,” said Geiser.

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