COLUMBUS, Ohio – Ohio Dominican football looks to keep its postseason and conference championship hopes alive when the team travels to Hillsdale to close the regular season at 1 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 16.
The Panthers (6-2, 5-1 G-MAC) are coming off a 49-10 victory over Lake Erie last Saturday, ending their 2019 home schedule with a perfect 3-0 record. With a victory this week, ODU would extend its current winning streak to five games, which would be the seventh such streak in the past eight years, and first since the Black & Gold won seven straight outings to end the 2017 campaign.
For the third consecutive week, the Panthers were ranked 10th in the Super Region One poll. The top seven teams will qualify for the NCAA Division II Playoffs. ODU is also one game back in the loss column in the Great Midwest Athletic Conference race, but unbeaten Tiffin faces another one-loss conference foe this weekend in Findlay. Wins from ODU and UF would leave the G-MAC with tri-champions. Tiffin can win the conference outright with a victory over the Oilers.
Sophomore Evan Ernst (Mason, Ohio) threw only 19 passes in the last outing against Lake Erie, but accounted for four total scores and 182 passing yards. Ernst now has two outings this fall with three passing and one rushing touchdown, as he is responsible for 21 scores in 2019. The sophomore is completing 66.4 percent of his passes for 1,757 yards.
On the ground, senior EJ Colson (Middletown, Ohio) has rushed for over 100 yards in each of the past five outings. Colson is coming a 129-yard and two-touchdown performance versus the Storm. Colson now has 677 yards this season, 11 shy of moving into the top 10 all-time for a single season at ODU. The senior's eight rushing touchdowns this year make him the first in program history with three seasons of eight-plus rushing scores.
ODU has three receivers with at least 28 catches, 375 yards and three touchdowns this season. Sophomore DeAndre Clark (Dover, Ohio) leads the team with 32 receptions and is coming off three catches, 75 yards and two touchdowns against LEC. Senior Cedric Washington (Knoxville, Ohio) has a team-high 478 yards on 30 receptions. Junior Devanaire Conliffe (Willoughby, Ohio) has 28 catches for 473 yards, and leads the squad with a career-high nine scores.
Defensively, ODU held its fourth consecutive opponent to 10 points or less, while also holding Lake Erie to minus-three rushing yards in the game, including minus-28 yards in the second half. The Panthers' season scoring defensive mark of 18.4 is good enough for second in the G-MAC and 27th nationally.
Senior Camren Moore (New Carlisle, Ohio) and junior Dauson Dales (Defiance, Ohio) have led the defense from the linebacker position, as they have 75 and 73 tackles, respectively. Moore, who has 272 career stops, is three shy from moving into third on ODU's all-time tackle list. The senior also has five pass break ups. Dales has added 4.0 tackles for loss, three pass break ups and two fumble recoveries this fall, and led the team with 13 tackles versus Lake Erie.
Senior Alessio Amato (Zanesville, Ohio) continues to force turnovers for the Panthers, who lead the nation in turnover margin per game (+1.8). Amato recovered a fumble last time out, giving him eight takeaways this season. The senior has two fumble recoveries to go along with a single season school record six interceptions. Amato, who has 45 tackles and 7.0 for loss, has registered a takeaway in four straight games.
Hillsdale enters Saturday with a 6-4 overall mark, including a 4-2 record in G-MAC play. The Chargers are coming off a 35-24 loss to Tiffin last Saturday. On the season, HC is averaging 31.1 points per game and is giving up 24.6 points per outing.
Senior David Graham leads the rushing attack with 993 yards and 15 touchdowns this fall. Graham has four 100-yard performances this season, including a season-high 232 yards against Lake Erie. Through the air, freshman Luke Keller has completed 50 percent of his passes for 1,925 yards and 15 touchdowns, but he does have 11 interceptions. Konnor Maloney leads the receivers with 773 yards and seven touchdowns on 42 receptions.
Defensively, sophomore Zach Herzog is averaging 9.5 tackles per game and has one forced fumble and an interception. Senior Nate Jones is second on the team with 64 stops, while also pacing the team with 7.0 tackles for loss. Senior Drake Temple has six interceptions to lead the secondary.
Contact: Tyler Jester