Oilers’ comeback falls short against Panthers

UF football loses 49-37 to ODU 

By Kevin Schrock

The University of Findlay’s football coach, Rob Keys, has made it very clear that there are no moral victories in his program. Saturday night at Donnell Stadium was no exception to this rule. Despite fighting back from a 28-3 deficit to give themselves a chance in the final minutes of play, the Oilers simply made too many mistakes against Ohio Dominican.

It was a valiant effort. Findlay clawed their way back into the football game, but continued to shoot themselves in the foot with mistakes.

“It was a turnover, and then another turnover,” said Keys. “You’re just not going to win when you give the ball away.”

Five second-half interceptions were a killer for quarterback Rhys Gervais who was a Harlon Hill Trophy finalist a year ago. Gervais, who averaged less than one interception a game that season, completed only 57 percent of his passes in the Oilers 49-37 loss.

“We have to give (Ohio Dominican) a ton of credit,” said Keys. “They came in here and did everything they needed to do to win a game. They took us right out of the game plan.”

The Findlay defense struggled early, allowing touchdowns on their first four drives, before figuring out how to stop the Panthers. However, once they figured it out, they gave the offense a chance to come back.

After going down 28-3 halfway through the second quarter, the defense wouldn’t allow another score until the final period of play. In between that time Findlay rattled off 20 unanswered points.

“I’m proud of the kids for the way they came back,” said Keys. “All we talked about at the half was giving ourselves a chance with the ball and an opportunity to take the lead and we did that.”

It was freshman tight end Luke Stuffel making his first career reception as an Oiler and making one of the biggest plays of the day for Findlay. He hauled in a touchdown pass from Gervais in the fourth that cut the deficit back to 35-30.

Finally, the Oilers caught a break when the turnover bug finally bit the Panthers. With Ohio Dominican threatening to score on the Oilers seven-yard line, Aaron Ivory picked off a Grant Russell pass and the Oilers were primed to take the lead.

Interceptions were the theme of the night though and on the very next play, Gervais threw another one. The Oilers couldn’t get another stop, allowing a 9-yard touchdown scamper to EJ Colson before answering right back with another of their own. This time it was tight end Anthony Federico bringing in his third touchdown catch of the year.

Still, the Oilers could never overcome their mistakes and after allowing one final touchdown, the game ended at 49-37.

“You just can’t give the ball away and we did it five times in the second half,” said Keys. “But I give credit to ODU, those kids in the secondary made some great plays on the ball.”

At 1-1 the Oilers don’t have time to dwell on this loss. They will head to the home of their rival, Ashland, on Saturday to take on the #5 ranked Eagles.

“Its only going to get tougher,” said Keys. “We need to get to work on this next game and forget about this because we can’t change what happened.”

Kickoff on Saturday between the Findlay Oilers and the Ashland Eagles at Jack Miller Stadium is scheduled for 7 p.m.

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