October 1, 2014

Elyria
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College football: Oberlin College gets physical, defeats Case Western Reserve for first time since 1982

Oberlin College Yeomen Blake Buckhannon, left, and Adan Niec celebrate a touchdown scored by Buckhannon against Case Western Reserve in the first half of the season home opener yesterday at Savage Stadium in Oberlin. ANNA NORRIS/CHRONICLE

Oberlin College Yeomen Blake Buckhannon, left, and Adan Niec celebrate a touchdown scored by Buckhannon against Case Western Reserve in the first half of the season home opener yesterday at Savage Stadium in Oberlin. ANNA NORRIS/CHRONICLE

OBERLIN — Twenty-eight straight losses is apparently Oberlin College’s limit.

The Yeomen ended a losing streak to Case Western Reserve University that dated back to 1982 by punishing the Spartans from start to finish Sunday in a 19-2 season-opening win at Savage Stadium.

Oberlin set the physical tone early, driving 12 plays on the opening drive before Erickson Andrews pushed a 44-yard field-goal attempt wide right.

While the Yeomen didn’t get any points, they still made their point.

“I don’t think they expected us to come out and play the way we did,” said Oberlin running back Blake Buckhannon, a sophomore out of Collins Western Reserve High School. “I think we caught them off guard and it just got better from there.”

Did it ever.

After the Yeomen forced a three-and-out, they followed that long first drive with a
10-play, 62-yarder.

And this time they even found the end zone as sophomore quarterback Lucas Poggiali hit Adam Niec on a 9-yard pass for a 7-0 lead with 1:35 left in the first quarter.

“We’ve been looking forward to this one ever since they beat us in overtime last year,” Poggiali said. “We knew we had to win the battle up front on both sides of the ball and I think everyone in the stands could tell that we grinded them up on offense and we beat them up on defense.”

Case coach Greg Debeljak couldn’t disagree.

“They took it to us and we made a lot of mistakes,” Debeljak said after the Spartans fell to 1-1. “They handled us physically. That was the most disappointing aspect of this game. Hats off to Oberlin for having only 33 kids dressed and ready to play all-in from the start.”

The Spartans couldn’t get much started on offense until they drove to the Yeomen 4 on their first drive of the second quarter. But Nick Bevaro pulled his field-goal attempt to the left and Oberlin was able to take a 7-0 lead into halftime.

The Oberlin defense continued to harass both CWRU quarterbacks through the third quarter, allowing just 45 yards of offense while coming up with a couple of sacks. Firelands grad Jake Danko also batted away a pass on a fourth-down play.

The Yeomen finally got some breathing room when Poggiali finished off a 55-yard scoring drive with an 8-yard run around left end on fourth-and-1 to make it 13-0. Case made it 13-2 when Ethan Albers blocked the point-after kick, scooped up the ball and went the other way for a safety.

Poggiali was 11-of-17 through the air for 100 yards and added another 78 on the ground.

The Spartans’ next possession ran into trouble when Kirby Livingston hit quarterback Billy Beecher, forcing a fumble than Danko pounced on at midfield.

“The coaches came up with a great game plan, utilizing our experience up front (on defense),” Danko said. “We shut down the running game and were able to get pressure on the quarterbacks all day.

“I was on a twist when Kirby hit the ballcarrier and I saw the ball just sitting there on the ground. I thought to myself that that ball is mine and I was able to get there and fall on the ball.”

Buckhannon added the final score on a 7-yard run with 2:29 left.

Buckhannon finished with 50 yards on 13 carries, while running mate Moses Richardson had 84 yards on 23 carries.

“We knew coming in that we had an experienced offensive line and running backs,” Yeomen coach Jeff Ramsey said. “It was nice to see our offensive line grind up a team that’s pretty physical.

“By controlling the ball, we were able to keep our defense fresh and that allowed them to come out and play physical football.”

SUNDAY FOOTBALL: The Yeomen and Spartans played on Sunday because the start of Yom Kippur fell on Saturday.

Contact James Brady at 329-7135 or jbrady_ct@yahoo.com.

Oberlin College 19, CWRU 2

CWRU 0 0 0 2 — 2
Oberlin College 7 0 0 12 — 19
Scoring
OC — Adam Niec, 9 pass from Lucas Poggiali (Erickson Andrews kick)
OC — Poggiali (kick blocked)
CWRU — PAT return, safety
OC — Blake Buckhannon, 7 run (kick blocked)
Team Statistics
CWRU OC
First downs 11 19
— by rushing 1 12
— by passing 9 7
— by penalty 1 0
Yards rushing 16 219
Yards passing 179 100
Total offense 195 319
Passes att./comp. 31/15 17/11
Intercepted by 1 1
Fumbles/lost 1/1 0/0
Penalties/yards 3/19 2/20
Possession 20:44 39:16
Individual Statistics
RUSHING — (CWRU) Manny Sicre 2-7, Erik Olson 1-(-2), Bill Beecher 6-(-26), Ricky Hanzlik 4-14), Steven Magister 1-1, Kenny Riordan
8-22. (OC) Lucas Poggiali 12-78, Blake Buckhannon 13-50, Nick Theofios 2-8, Moses Richardson 23-84, Team 2-(-1).
PASSING — (CWRU) Billy Beechler 9-20-110-0-0, Erik Olson 6-11-69-0-1. (OC) Poggiali 11-17-100-1-0.
RECEIVING — (CWRU) Sean Lapcevic 3-27, Dan Cronin 1-22, Logan Matt 1-17, Hanzlik 1-11, Ethan Albers 3-27, John Mangelluzzi 5-39, George Darany 1-36. (OC) Adam Niec 3-24, Larry Leggett 1-12, Justin Cruz 3-22, Nick Theofios 1-7, Gideon Reiz 3-35.