By: Dylan DeWitt
Going into the season opener, the Oilers football team was looking to regain the momentum that ended in the NCAA Division II Football Championship last fall. The Oilers came into the season ranked #25 and a favorite to work towards not only a conference title once again, but also a berth in the national championship. The Oilers team definitely were able to make a statement during the season opener against Kentucky Wesleyan.
The victory for the Oilers was not only just a win, but a dominating win controlling both sides of the ball all game. With a 69-19, the point total scored in a single game does seem like it would be an offensive showcase. However, the defense was able to demonstrate the true meaning of “defense wins games”. For the offense, the Oilers were led by a 236 throwing yards on 21-28 completions and a touchdown by Rhys Gervais. Adam Bertke also threw a touchdown pass of 41 yards to Jacob Hill in the 3rd quarter. For the ground game, the team was led by two backs, Michael Campbell and Richard Wilson who each were able to capture 100 plus yards on 16 and 12 carries respectively.
The defense was a huge reason for being able to hold the Panthers of Kentucky to negative yards rushing and only 91 total yards of offense. A huge difference when the Oilers were able to rack up 661 yards of total offense. The defense was all around the ball by not allowing a single yard on the ground, and actually pushing them backwards with negative 9 yards throughout the game.
A defensive touchdown in by Cyle Skidmore after a forced fumble was a play to remember, but the new G-MAC record for a game was also set in the process. The Oilers football squad was able to not only capture one safety in the contest, but two. Along with this the defense was able to gain eight sacks throughout the game including sacks from Justin Elllis, Kyle Gibson, Cyle Skidmore, Grant Kinsinger, Joseph Lechkun, and Tyler Glander.
The Oilers may have started the season ranked #25 in the nation, but with the dominating performance on both sides of the ball, the Oilers have now moved up six spots in the ranking and sit at #19 in the nation through Week 1. With that being said, they are only one spot away from the highest ranking ever recorded in the Oilers Football program at #18 in 2009. The team will be on the road once more this week when the team travels to Ferris State to take on the #9 Bulldogs. The game will begin at 7 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 8 in Big Rapids, Michigan.