Findlay falls to Ashland Eagles 35-3
By Kevin Schrock
When you’re up against a top-five team in the country, mistakes have to be at a minimum. Unfortunately for the University of Findlay, they simply made a few too many on Saturday to compete with the Ashland Eagles. After scoring first to take a 3-0 lead, Ashland scored 35 unanswered to secure a 35-3 win.
“The score pretty much says how we played,” said Findlay head coach Rob Keys. “I told our guys we would have to play four consistent quarters to compete with Ashland and I think we played almost two.”
The first quarter went almost exactly according to plan. The Oilers managed to shut down the Eagle offense and with 2:36 to play in the quarter, they blocked an Eagle punt and took over on the 11-yard line.
The Ashland red zone defense still managed to keep the Oilers out of the end zone and they were content to kick the field goal to take the lead. This would become a theme of the night.
Still up 3-0 in the second quarter, the Oilers found themselves on the Ashland 35-yard line thanks to a 34-yard scamper by quarterback Rhys Gervais. Primed to add onto their lead they handed the ball off to Chauncey Bridges but a big hit in the backfield forced the ball loose and the Eagles hopped on top.
“If we would have been able to put a touchdown on the board in either one of those situations then at worst we’re going into halftime down 14-10 or maybe leading,” said Keys. “We just didn’t capitalize early and it cost us late.”
Meanwhile, two second quarter touchdowns for Adam Shaheen put the Eagles up 14-3 going into the half.
The second half saw more of the same. With the Oilers working to move the ball on the ground, they were gaining just enough yardage to give Tyler Bugeja a few more chances to put points on the board with his leg. With conditions far from ideal for the kicker, he missed a pair of field goals in the third quarter and by the time the fourth quarter was started the Eagles had built a 28-3 lead.
“The weather was awful,” said Keys. “It was pouring down rain and the wind was blowing pretty hard.”
With the weather the way it was the Oilers kept the ball out of the air for the most part. Gervais, who broke the school record for pass attempts a week ago (59), only tossed the pigskin 16 times.
“Our plan was to run the ball early but when we didn’t score those points it killed us when the weather went bad,” said Keys.
The Oilers fall to 1-2 with the loss and the schedule isn’t looking much easier. They will play Lake Erie College next week before taking on Ferris State and Grand Valley University who are both ranked in the top-ten nationally as well.
“Our guys need to prepare better during the week,” said Keys. “They need to understand that every single play and every single rep they take in preparation has to be very detailed.”
The Oilers will have a chance to test the consistency of their play against the Storm (0-3) at 1 p.m. on Saturday in Painesville, Ohio.