Two weeks, zero turnovers for Oilers
By Kevin Schrock
The Oilers don’t lose, at least not to Tiffin. For the seventeenth straight time, Findlay defeated their closest conference opponent on Saturday. It moves their all-time record against the team to 24-1 with the lone loss coming back in 1993.
Once again it was the Findlay defense stepping up when they had to. They held the Dragons to nine first half-points to simply keep the Oilers in the game early on. After Rhys Gervais found Luke Stuffel in the end zone on the team’s first possession, the offense went stagnant.
By the third quarter the Dragons had built a 16-7 lead and the Oilers were in danger of letting one slip away when they were forced to punt the ball away. Once again it was the defense stepping up. Freshman Isaac Miles forced a Tiffin fumble, which set the Oilers up in the red zone. Eventually Gervais found Jason Moore for the score.
The very next play for Tiffin once again resulted in a turnover. Chiebuka Chukwuneke picked off the Antonio Pipkin pass and ran it back across midfield to the Tiffin 42 yard line. Bugeja capitalized by knocking home a 36-yard field goal to give the Oilers the lead.
“If you look at the takeaways and when they happened we did capitalize on them,” said Keys. “When we start to click on both sides and feed off of each other that’s what it can look like.”
However, after another Bugeja field goal in the fourth quarter, the Dragons finally found a chink in the Oiler defense’s armor. It was two passes from Pipkin to Charles Holland that summed up the Dragon touchdown drive. Facing a fourth and six, Pipkin tossed it to his 6’4” wide receiver for a 19-yard pickup. Then, looking at a big third and eight on the ten, he opted to go right back to Holland who snagged the pass for a Tiffin touchdown.
With 4:16 left, the Oilers faced one of their biggest challenges of the year. They had to go 84-yards to win the game in regulation. However, on the first two plays Gervais completed passes to Moore for 35 and 22 yards moving the Oilers right into Tiffin territory. With the clock at 54 seconds, Gervais eventually hit Dylan Blunk for the touchdown and the Oilers had the lead.
“There were a lot of situations where we needed to come up with stops,” said Keys. “That last one was the biggest one, though.”